Another Sunday, another office day. There’s a certain point when I pack myself a digital lunch bag and relocate to someplace very public to continue my work.
Nearby, I have The Bagel Place With The Free WiFi. I reckon that a wheat bagel and a can of soda buys me at least two hours of guilt-free office time. If I’m going to make it a full four, I either order a full lunch or just stick a couple of bucks into the tip jar. The employees have been told by the shop’s absentee owner “Remember, people with laptops aren’t allowed to stay unless they’re buying things.” I choose to buy the good will of the poorly-paid hourly wage-earners.
It’s a good system and it seems to work very well for all parties.
The BPwtFW closes at 6. If I’m not done working, but I’m not ready to go home yet, I’ll move on to the Panera Bread up the street. Their prices are fairly atrocious, but I make it all back on the free soda refills.
At the moment, I’m set up at the Chipotle (way) up the street. The staff is friendly. The food is cheap, healthy, and tasty. The soda spills carelessly from an ever-replenishing font, just like Wonka’s chocolate waterfall.
I limit myself to just iPad work here, though. The joint has only enough tables to handle normal eat-and-go customer traffic. Setting up a virtual office — complete with MiFi base station — seems like a showboaty and ungrateful gesture. It gets the job done, though: I can finish editing a piece that I copied into my Dropbox from home, or get to the end of the chapter of the book I’m reading, or relentlessly refresh a bunch of news pages in hopes that I’ll find one more thing that I need to research or follow up on before regretfully pulling up stakes, getting one last soda refill, and finally heading home.
Alien field operatives are sent to this planet with what seems like a very simple mission. It doesn’t take long before the new agent understands why there’s such a rapid burnout rate for Sol-3 field agents, or why the veteran agent he relieved had such a harrowed look on his face.
“Understanding the Humans” is a deceptively complex goal. We’re a maddeningly confusing and contradictory species.
My advice to these aliens: focus on just one thing. If you can figure out the human need to occasionally be all alone but surrounded by people, you’ll understand everything there is to know about us.