Yak in the office

For the past two years, my wife and I have shared a home office, and I’m pretty sure she’s heard enough.

I’ve always been something of a blabbermouth, but I spent much of the previous decade working in solitude and silence. Well, not exactly silence. I’d talk all day long, even though there was no one home but me and the dog. Mostly, this steady spiel consisted of cussing at the computer and the various vicissitudes of daily life.

I didn’t recognize that I’d fallen into this habit because there were no humans around to clear their throats and give me disapproving looks. The dog didn’t mind because he was asleep the whole time.

Since my wife started working at home, I've had to tone down the chatter. She kept thinking something was wrong because of all the cussing and muttering, when in fact it was just the usual stuff. (She has the same problem with my reaction to traffic, which is why we often arrive in separate vehicles.)

I’d forgotten what it’s like to have co-workers. People who are trying to get some work done don’t want you nattering at them all the time, even if they are your beloved spouse of 25 years. No, they’d really rather that you shut up and let them concentrate.

In our home office, we sit facing opposite directions. This is the perfect position for tossing wisecracks over one’s shoulder like spilled salt, but it’s not the best position for listening to the other person. Much of our conversation goes like this:

He: Wisecrack.
She: What?
He: Repeated wisecrack.
She: I still can’t hear you.
He turns all the way around, repeats the phrase again, but now it’s lost its verve.
She: Oh. Ha-ha.
He: Never mind.
She: Now what’s wrong?
He: Mumble.
She: What?

It goes on like that until one of us decides it’s time to go to the far end of the house for more coffee or something.

It’s also been more than a decade since I’ve had a boss looking over my shoulder. My wife assures me she doesn’t wish to play that role, yet I feel compelled to report my whereabouts at all times. I tell her when I’m going to the kitchen/shower/garage/yard/store/out to lunch/to take a nap. She keeps saying she doesn’t need to know, but I tell her anyway. This information could come in handy if she found herself in sudden need of a mumbled wisecrack.

Sometimes, my wife leaves our home office to give her ears a rest. She takes her laptop computer to the dining room. That doesn’t deter me, of course. I yell things the length of the house, so she can say “what?” some more.

With the mobility afforded by the laptop, she can leave the house altogether and still get her work done. Sometimes, she even tells me that she’s leaving so I don’t sit around like an idiot, yakking and expecting answers.

You might see her around town, sitting at a coffee shop, pounding away on her tiny keyboard. If you do, please send her home. I’ve got some things I need to tell her.

1 comment:

Life without Clots said...

we have separate offices, and still it sounds so familiar, 'specially the going to the other end of the house, or in my case, upstairs to the main living area.