Every now and then one of my clients blarps: “I guess this is a really nice job, you get to make your own hours.”
I do what I do because — well, not exactly because I love it, although that can be true; it’s just the one thing I could never help doing even before I knew how, which makes it a good choice for a way to support yourself. But this “make your own hours” thing is responsible for more carefully frozen facial expressions than almost anything I ever encounter.
Yeah, I don’t get up and catch a bus at 8:07; virtually nobody wants a massage at nine in the morning. I bug out to the gym instead, since after the day before I have usually turned to stone, frozen into the posture of someone bent over a massage table despite an evening bout of Yoga, and a day without lifting (or a hill run) will make me feel worse than a frat boy after too many experiments with Everclear. That’s just how I roll by this time in my life. So I usually am just able to get home in time to shower before the first victim gets here. Yes, I sometimes block out two or three hours in the middle of the day, but that equals time that most other working people spend in the evening, going to the store, say, or maybe just loading the washer. And sometimes that two or three hours is chopped up into several increments because people’s schedules don’t always fit neatly into mine, and they’re the customers. Eventually it is back in the barrel for the people who come after work. I am often still shoving the last one out the door at 9:30 at night, as my late evening slot is very popular with people who really need to talk and don’t know how to stop. I like them. It’s just that my eyes have glazed over by that time. If I can spool down before midnight it’s a feat.
Today is the second day of a week’s break. I browsed around the hardware store, eventually buying a couple of dish brushes and a packet of mosquito dunks. And got to talk to the Minotaur, my gym manager, about his latest slew of world records in his age class at the World Masters Games in Italy. (He saw the Uffizi, and drank a lot of vodka with Russian lifters who couldn’t make a word of conversation with him, after the meet anyway). I didn’t look at my watch once. On a regular day I wouldn’t dare wander through a store or have a conversation without one eye constantly on the clock. Believe me, it beats going into an office and having to look at some pompous asshole or share the elevator with the co-worker who takes a bath in perfume; it just doesn’t exactly feel like I’m a leisurely dilettante who makes my own hours.
People ask me where I’m going on vacation. I say “shopping somewhere further than five minutes away.” Or sometimes just “upstairs.”