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A Muddy, Messy Coworking Love Story

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Coworking-blog-mud-stoplight

I made my debut on the local news last week. I was wearing my pajama hoodie, with no bra and no makeup. My hair was in what I hoped was a stylish “messy bun” but it was probably just a mess.

I had gone out to run a quick errand and was waiting at a pop-up stoplight with a sign on it that read, “Be patient. Maximum 9 minute wait,” when a cameraman and reporter I recognized as the on-the-scene guy from a local station ran over to my car.

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The reporter wanted to talk to me because two weeks earlier our road washed out. Like, completely washed away leaving a 40-foot gap between the two sides. The only way to get the two miles from our house to the nearest city road is up and over a steep, winding and muddy back road. The steep and winding part is doable but there’s a section at the bottom that’s a combination of the skull-rattling shortcut to Hana and a quarter mile of hubcap-deep mud.

Because the road is so sketchy, my partner and I haven’t been going out much. Every five days or so we brave the road to stock up on groceries, get a latte, hit the Thai restaurant or Taqueria and get back home.

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This is our road. Yikes, right? Photo: Santa Cruz Sentinel

For the first few days, working from home wasn’t too bad—I rather enjoyed staying in my cozies all day. But it got old and I started to desperately miss my coworking space. In the last three weeks I’ve been to my home space twice. I can tell you, that’s not enough.

For nine-to-fivers, working from home sounds like a dream come true. It’s not. We’re social creatures. I need humans around me. I need those brief but friendly interactions over steeping tea. I like answering questions about a fellow member’s next blog post. I like talking with my neighbors about their favorite time-tracking tool, or when the next cool event is. Being surrounded by other people who are hustling, connecting and creating has become a vital part of my workday.

I’m more productive in a room full of people buzzing about than I am alone in my quiet home office. Plus, I’m learning that there’s a fine line between staying cozy and comfortable all day and being that person who now wears only pajamas.

There’s a New Yorker article making the rounds on social media. For anyone who’s ever worked out of their house, the piece is one of the most hilarious, relatable things ever. It’s a call between Robert, who works from home, and a 911 operator. Here’s my favorite section:

OPERATOR: I need you to tell me what you’re wearing, O.K.?

ROBERT: You know . . . just regular clothes.

OPERATOR: Outside clothes or inside clothes?

ROBERT: Hold on, I’ll check. (Pause.) Pajamas. I’m wearing my pajamas. I could swear I’d changed into regular . . . I thought these were jeans!

OPERATOR: It’s O.K., sir. Calm down.

ROBERT: Wait, this isn’t even a shirt. It’s just my skin! Goddammit.

OPERATOR: So just pajama bottoms, then. Can we assume that you haven’t showered today?

ROBERT: I don’t know.

The piece pokes fun at the not-so-awesomeness of working from home—that weird space where schedules, meals, writing, streaming Frasier reruns, calls and deadlines all swirl together into a foggy continuum of hours and to-do’s.

It drives home something that I know in every cell of my body: that coworking is a wonderful way to put your best self into the world and connect with amazing people doing extraordinary things.

It’s also a rather sad reminder of who I am until our road is fixed: a homebound professional who wears her pajamas on the nightly news and really misses her coworking crew.

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