Vacation, or, Reality Check

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.”

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12 thoughts on “Vacation, or, Reality Check

  1. The price you pay for regulating you own schedule to earn a livelihood is longer hours, fewer holidays and more responsibility, sleepless nights and worry.

    But it’s worth it. even in an office.

    Was it Confucius who said: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. After all, he probably couldn’t help saying things, even before he knew how.

  2. I’ll always defer to Kung-fu-tzu. (I try to dig the Tao, but I really am a systems-and-schemata type of gal…)

    I suspect that goes for being called to the bar, too, or anything else that is as much a calling as a skill.

  3. What is a mosquito dunk?

    I might be odd, but I presume people who have their own business work MORE hours than office drones. Which is probably the main reason my hubby is terrified of working for himself, despite having a marketable talent. Well, I can get that, I’m a lazy arsehole too sometimes. Unless what I want to do is fun, like pressure washing stuff. Man, that kills my back but it is SOOO much fun.

  4. Yep, same thing happens to me. Used to be worse when I was a freelance English teachers – classes at all hours. But now it’s mostly evenings, which I prefer.

    Glad you’re enjoying your hols!

  5. Working at home means you never leave your work at the office. It’s about like working ALL the time. Much as I hate commutes, commuting does give you time to decompress during the transition from work to home.

    Hope you do something fun during your time off.

  6. Commuting could be a little more decompressing. Today it was 104, no breeze, the sky white from forest fire smoke, and my vehicle’s air conditioning nonfunctional. On the plus side, drivers out here are polite enough.

    If I worked for myself I would be largely unemployed, I fear.

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