Two weeks ago, I went on a hastily arranged business trip to New York to attend a large meeting and meet a bunch of my co-workers in person for the first time. I was nervous. It had been a year since I'd worked in an actual office. I hadn't been to a hair salon in six months. My only office-appropriate shoes were still in a box from when I moved to Portland -- why wouldn't they be? And since I've lost weight, none of my nice clothes fit anymore, not that they ever really fit right in the first place.
There wasn't enough time to fix the clothes thing, but I did unpack the shoes, and the day before I left, I went to get my hair cut. I dig it! It's chin-length in the front, angled on the sides, short and stack-y in the back. As soon as I got home from the salon, my roommate exclaimed, "That's perfect! That's just what you should have had all along," which seemed slightly backhanded, but it made me happy because it reminded me of what glenn mcdonald puts at the top of his resume.
They sold me some fancy-schmancy <airquotes>product</airquotes> to put in my hair. At the airport, trying to take it through security earned me disapproving looks and a trip right back to the ticket counter to check my single bag. I'll never learn. (I guess it's not so unreasonable, though. I mean, how often do you see people who look like they've been attacked by styling products? All the time! Especially on planes! They're just trying to watch out for us.)
I had a great time in New York. Rosemary purebugbeauty and Eddie eachcomingnight took me out for vodka pizza, to the Strand, and on the Eddie-and-Rosemary Manhattan Architectural Innuendo Walking Tour. My college band mates Joe and J.P. and I bonded over the fact that we've each had a few failed band attempts since leaving school. (We didn't know what we had when we were together, man.) And I also had a sort of epiphany about work while I was there, one that took me by surprise. I realized that I miss working in an office.
I know that some of my friends think I'm incredibly lucky, doing this work-from-home thing, and I think I'm lucky too, and I agree that a lot of things about it are great, but I'm starting to think that I might be happier and get more done if I were around other people more. It's really strange to feel this way. A month ago, I wholeheartedly agreed with Jason Calacanis when he said, "I think offices are good at creating two things: commutes and politics." But, see, here's the thing: when you're on your own, your only motivator is the desire to do good work for its own sake, or for yourself, and that can only take you so far. There are days when that isn't enough. Meeting my smart, funny, interesting co-workers face-to-face made me want to do a good job, not just for me, but for them and for us.
Anyway, my boss tells me that these trips might become a lot more frequent in the near future. I guess I need to get better at this airport thing.