When Working Alone Resembles Outtakes From the Animal Kingdom | Sojourners

When Working Alone Resembles Outtakes From the Animal Kingdom

From our humor columnist.
Illustration of a grumpy old man face sticking out of a coffee mug.
Illustration by Ken Davis

CAN WE JUST say right now that Ted Cruz will never be president of the United States? Can we say it out loud? Okay, great. I just wanted to get that out of the way before we move on.

This March brought an anniversary that few of us welcomed and none will celebrate. It’s been a year of downs: shutdowns, hunker downs, spend downs, and the down comforters some of us have started wearing around the house, having given up any lingering commitment to outerwear that can’t simply be dragged off the bed in the morning. Like robed and aging monarchs of diminished means, we stalk our indoor world with a queen-sized blanket dragging behind us over floors that, if you look on the bright side, are getting a good wipe down.

My own experience has been different since I actually have to leave the house in the morning to go to work. Despite the yearlong shutdown that caused my 45 colleagues to work from home, I need the high-speed internet connection for the magazine’s large graphic files. So, for the past year I’ve been doing something of my own invention. I call it: “Working from work.”

It’s a disconcertingly quiet 9 to 5(ish), with my primary human contact being the cleaning crew that comes in every two weeks. Despite less need for them, Sojourners is committed to supporting our local vendors, including trash pickup and cleaning, but neither crew wishes to speak at length with a lonely man who rushes gleefully toward them when they arrive. And the cleaning crew has projectile Lysol to keep me at a safe distance. (“The only way to stop a bad guy with a grin is a good woman with a spray bottle.”) Sometimes the only sound I hear in the office is when I walk by our copy machine, a motion-sensitive device that bleeps awake, lights flashing and eager to make a copy. Which no one needs it to do. (Sorry, sad little robot friend. But do you have plans for lunch?)

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The April cover of Sojourners looks like a scrapbook page with photos from a same-sex marriage, a rainbow ribbon and gold leaves.
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