No clubbing, no going to the cafes and bookstores? No problem. Nine years of homin’ (work from home: WFH) has prepared me for 2020-style “house arrest”. The best parts of WFH are often overlooked. No more wasting two hours in the mornings getting dressed and commuting to work – and another hour to get home. A day in the office translates to three hours wasted. That’s 15 hours a week going up in smoke – which would be better spent on reading, daydreaming and doing something more productive.
But what was nagging at the back of my mind: How was I going to survive all that time with my extrovert husband for weeks to come? Couples who don’t work together usually don’t see each other 24/7, and this was going to take some getting used to. Sure enough, Ivan’s face has turned hilariously pale… then white – whiter than Edward Cullen’s. “Omg, another four weeks to June 1… it has been what… three weeks already! I can’t go out with my friends,” he yelps, almost going into a state of shock.
We share nearly the same group of friends. The difference is: They’re loud, and they love to crowd – I don’t. Hell, they make merry anywhere, any time – bars, coffeeshops and even at each other’s homes (except mine, of course). I roll my eyes, and continue going about my business, while he paces up and down the living room where my work desk is. I put on my headphones and go back to the e-mails that were warning me of the near-death deadlines. I must say, mornings are the most blissful. I love ’em: pin-drop silence from 5am to 8am. While the humans are in deep slumber, my two American Curls would greet me from a distance before retreating to their familiar corners. It’s the time of the day when I’m most productive. 11.30am – Time to “armour” up as my extroverted half regains consciousness. “Hello cats!” his voice booms, startling me and the felines. They make a face and go back to sleep. I gleefully reach out for the headphones – a newly purchased noise-cancelling set that has justified its $200 price tag. A lil’ confession: I sorta tricked Ivan into buying me these last month, making him believe that my old set was faulty. Truth is, the source of the disturbance has to compensate for my temporary loss of peace and quiet. Well, somebody has to pay. 11.45am – “Rizza, what’s for lunch?” his thunderous voice asks our live-in helper. Don’t look up, Cara, don’t. I crank up my headset volume to 80 per cent to block out the noise. He heads into the study to work. Phew. 2pm – The coast is clear and I attend a tele-meeting. At 4pm, a knock on the table jolts me to a dreaded conversation. “Coffee?” Ivan offers. As I’m about to take a sip, he asks, “Am I getting five stars for this great service?” “Huh, excuse me?” “You heard me, how many stars?” he smirks. “Fivvve… now please go away,” I groan. I then print a “Do Not Disturb!” card to place on my work desk. 11pm – At last, time for Netflix. I curl up in bed with one hand holding on to my smartphone. “Shall we watch it together?” somebody uninvited asks. He’s dumbfounded when I flip over. “What the hell?” Ivan stares at me with disbelief. I am wearing a mask this time. This story was first published on Her World’s June 2020 issue.