When I first left my full-time job, 4.5 years ago, I had a terrible time getting used to the whole "Hey, you're in charge of your schedule! You can stay up until 4 and sleep until noon and work from 1pm to 9pm and no one is going to stop you but you're also not going to have an office, a boss telling you what to do, welcome/unwelcome social interraction with co-workers, free coffee or a mandate to get dressed!" thing.
But somehow, through a combination of discipline (oh who am I kidding, I have no discipline, I mean fear), a lovely communal writing space and a rewarding exercise regimen (If I run, at least I've accomplished something today, and look I'm dressed!) I got very used to, and productive via, the free agent lifestyle.
Now and then I do some officey stuff, however, so I don't forget how the other half lives, and so I can eat canned artichoke hearts from expensive "you choose, we toss" salad bars that proliferate in New York's workaday zones. Lately, I've had some back-to-back gigs, and I have to say
I am not good at being a normal person anymore.
Everything I own is strewn across my apartment. I mean it looks like there was some drunken bacchanalia where people were swinging from the (multiple, crystal) chandeliers. Every plate is dirty. I have an ingrown toenail. My laundry has been at the cleaners for half a lifetime. My Christmas shopping is the haphazard work of exhausted late-night online benders. Packages arrive and I have no memory of having ordered their contents. I can't for the life of me figure out who in my acquaintance I was thinking would love a pair of cocktail themed cufflinks. Sammy Davis Jr.?
How do you do it, people who have fulltime jobs, who can't do their work on Saturdays or starting after they've fully woken up or at least after The View? I'm terribly inefficient in this world that I missed so dreadfully those first gruesome years of procrastinatory all-writing, all-the-time. Now I miss my normal not-normal existence. My routine is no routine. This whole "the hours between 9 and 6 are not your own thing" is absurd.
My friend Catherine has a name for this type of complaint. I leave it to her to reveal it in the Comments, because it's very Lorrie Moore and I wouldn't pass it off as my own. At least I still have my artistic credibility.
Tell me, tell me, Most of Society, how on earth do you go to work AND brush your teeth twice a day?