When I worked, it was usually a workday beginning at seven am, which meant that I was on the road around six o’clock. Often times I would watch the sun rise as I sailed alongside work vans and semi-trucks – an allied group of workers, we were. Who knows if we had anything else in common, but for that time, during the morning commute we shared a purpose. As odd as it sounds, there is something about that ritual I miss. I would easily take the responsibility of driving in possible downpours and traffic delays in exchange for my own space. A coffee in my center console and any music I wanted as loud as I wanted – it was an easy trade off. I usually drove barefoot and wet haired but in a full suit, ready to take on the day (well, as soon as I put my shoes on in the parking lot).
It goes against my own stay-at-home-mom code to say it, but I liked working. I didn’t like having to juggle another schedule in the mix. I didn’t like seeing one child melt down as I readied myself to leave. I didn’t like the freeze out and very gradual thawing of the other child as she protectively distanced herself from me. Missing dinners tunneled its way through any happiness I had in enjoying a successful day of work. But I loved other parts.
Having a very structured day
This is considered to be painful and a hostile work environment for some freelancers that I know. They can’t fathom how anyone would willingly pencil herself into small time slots of a day. I work well under the pressure of a countdown and can thrive in tight deadlines.
Being thanked profusely
I mean that both sarcastically and sincerely. I have been incredibly fortunate to have always worked with supportive superiors and can tell you with a straight face that I would routinely be thanked for “doing a great job today”. It probably says something about my eager – to – please personality type, but a pat on the head (figuratively of course) goes a long way with me. Thank you for doing what you were totally supposed to do today even though it needed to be done, you are capable of doing it AND you are getting paid to. Thank you for handing this in earlier than expected. Thank you for bringing me an ice water. Thank you for refilling the copy paper. Sigh. My boss now is me and I am learning that I suck at it. I would fire the boss me in an instant (but then I would have to be me-me’s boss too and now I have progressed to a CLINICAL personality disorder). If I don’t complete my daily goals and objectives I make a case for my dismissal on the grounds of laziness and inability to follow through. I micromanage my creative endeavors, rarely turning off the running commentary telling me to quit while I am ahead, restart, trash it and try again, with FEELING THIS TIME!!!
Wearing cool shoes that leave me in tears
I had a pair of satin black and white striped pumps that made me feel at least 6’5. I loved the satisfying click of walking down the hallways in them. If my mom had seen me, even she would have admired my posture (she of the would-you-please-for-the-love-of-God-stop-slouching school of mothering). After a few hours they stung but it would usually round out to a Pink Floyd style of comfortably-numbness. Except one day I worked a double and learned the hard way that if I pushed through the numbness I would be met with hot searing pain. Yet I limped on, until that night while I was walking a guest to his rental villa and my heel caught in the cobblestone walkway. It wedged in, unrelenting and I pitched forward, scraping the soles of both feet (a true talent). If I thought that it was bad before, stuffing angry, bleeding feet back into their torture devices was far worse. I spent the rest of the evening walking in a bizarre mix of a tiny stepping geisha and newborn baby deer. But when one of the last guests left that evening and complimented me on the shoes, I beamed. I typically survey the house now with bare feet, a practice that will still unfortunately result in cracked and bleeding heels. Oy.
When our kids forget their lunch and I effortlessly double back to school to bring it in, or I sneak in a random oil change appointment or other off peak hour necessity – I love the freedom of staying at home. If I want to try out a complicated meal, or spend the day exercising or working on a project I can do it now. I recognize this time is fleeting. I am trying desperately to soak it all up as it surrounds me in abundance, until I find myself in gridlock once again, rolling my eyes and nodding in community with my people of the morning commute.