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Suburban Island

One Ringy-Dingy
Monday, Mar. 15, 2004, 7:37 p.m.

QUESTION: What's that ringing noise?

WHAT I LEARNED: Telemarketers call me more often than friends and family.

I get to work from home some days. I love to work from home. I donít need to get dressed up, or drive somewhere, or even put lipstick on. Even though I think that sitting unadorned in dorm pants and a pullover from dusk to dawn means that I am not taking advantage of the short-term therapeutic benefits of a little lipstick, blush, and a little mascara. Well, it's a tradeoff but it works for me.

And then again sometimes it doesnít. Did you ever notice that just when you are happily puttering around in your well-worn only-for-around-the-house clothes, hair in disarray, and looking like you just stumbled out of bed, is when you are most likely to get a surprise visit from a friend you havenít seen in years, a knock on the door from Fed Ex or the cable repair person, or a call from your kid to run something down to the school please, please, please. And right now. Itís an emergency, mom.

Thatís what happened today, when I was minding my own business and working from home. Part of this is that my family has this idea Ė which they donít really verbally express Ė that I am really not working from home. I canít be because I am at home and not at work. So I must really be at home just hanging around. Since Iím just hanging around itís okay to ask me to drop an ace bandage to address the effects of gym class on a turned ankle, as well as deliver a DVD player with batteries and headphones for study hall, to my 9th grader. Actually, I made 3 trips to my sonís high school today - what with picking him up at the end of the day plus the ace bandage with music episodes.

When Iím not driving around delivering bandages to slightly wounded family members in need of study hall music, or returning DVDs to the video store before noon so I donít again incur a late fee, Iím fielding phone calls from telemarketers. Many telemarketers seem to like me. In fact, quite of few of them want me and my delightful family to stay with them. How cool is that? All we have to do is attend a short sales presentation about the joys of a timeshare. Itís not too intense Ė just 2 long hours of grueling psychological pressure to withstand. We could do that. It might be fun. Others want to replace the siding on my house, or the windows, or both. Some want to assist me with my mortgage rate or my grad school loan. Itís amazing how helpful the garden-variety telemarketer is.

They also want to help me make up my mind right now about the vacation in paradise, the everlasting siding, the state-of-the-art windows, or too-low-to-last interest rates.

I disappoint them all.

Thatís the job of the work-from-home employee and the challenge as well.

So today I fended off Ĺ dozen competent telemarketers, gave aid to the limping, avoided the video store late fee, did 2 loads of laundry, and accomplished all the work tasks that I was obliged to accomplish to ensure employment tomorrow.

Now thatís the modern approach to the average workday.

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