Off to Ann Arbor yesterday to do some work. On a book, no less. Not my book, someone else’s book. But still — a book. On the way home, I got a phone call, which offered more work. When I got home, another phone call. Which offered still more work. Hoo-boy, I actually felt like a person with a job yesterday, even if it is one that allows me to watch “The Sopranos” on Monday morning in sweatpants.
Nay, requires me to watch it on Monday morning. Because on Sunday nights? I’m working.
Being a freelancer is all about multiple income streams, don’t you know.
As I did my taxes this year, I estimated that, good-lord-willin’-and-the-creek-don’t-rise, I’m on track to match or exceed my last year’s salary as a columnist. The work I’m doing now is harder but more interesting, riskier but less predictable. There’s more juggling, more cold-sweat financial anxiety, but 97 percent less b.s. That’s gotta be worth something.
I expect I’ll be back to work in an office before too much longer — opportunities are starting to present themselves, and honestly, in this economy, in this business, having one member of a co-prosperity sphere working without a net, from home, doesn’t seem wise. I fully expect spousal health care benefits to either go away or become ruinously expensive within the next few years. But if and when I do go back to an office coffeepot and the rest of it, I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing I made it work the other way, at least for a while.
Yes, yes — I feel a song coming on — I did it myyyyy waaaaayyyyy.
What are you paying for gas these days? Filled up yesterday in Ann Arbor, at the chest-clutching price of 2.96 a gallon. And it’s only April — I suppose $3.50 in inevitable by midsummer, maybe even as much as $4. I love Detroit’s reaction to these events, which seems to consist mainly of adding to the greenhouse effect by vigorous complaining. Not that there isn’t comic relief:
“It’s not easy, but as soon as gas hit $2.80, I stopped driving my Lincoln Continental,” said Antoine Coleman of New Haven, a hi-lo operator in Detroit.
Now there’s an idea. (And I have no idea what a hi-lo operator is. Do you?)
As for me, warm weather calls for instituting the No-Drive Zone, roughly from Alter to Vernier and Mack to the lake, where I do most of my shopping and errand-running. From now until further notice, if the shopping and errand can be accomplished on a bike, it will. My cargo bags, last year’s Mother’s Day gift, were the best I’ve gotten in a good long time. I’ll keep you posted on how it works out.
The 100 Unsexiest Men in the World. Relax, you’re not on the list. But it’s a stupid list (Osama bin Laden? Richard Simmons?). Of course, it was written by TWO MEN. And it’s not a gay list (it includes Brad Pitt!). The irony is staggering.
Every time I consider getting a BlackBerry, I sit down, take a deep breath and consider: a) I don’t need one; and b) the idea of typing with one’s thumbs is stupid. Jon Carroll asks whether humanity is evolving smaller hands.
This guy says every newspaper editor-in-chief in the country should be writing a weekly column. I guess because newspapers need more columns written by uptight, frightened people who use “impact” as a verb (and “impactful” as an adjective). It’s a rule — the editor’s column is the best-read, and worst-written, column in the paper. No one fixes it because everyone’s afraid to tell the boss he or she can’t write. Once I told our editor he’d used the word “brackish” incorrectly. (He wasn’t writing about the paper, but his backyard fish pond. That’s another thing about editor’s columns: They should be about how we get the paper out, but sooner or later they all fall victim to Columnist’s Complaint and start writing about their backyard fish ponds. Or, worse, they try to make their backyard fish ponds a metaphor for something that happened at the paper that week.) He didn’t say, “Is there time to fix it? Let’s get it correct, then.” He said, “Really? Huh.”
Just so you know: “Brackish” means “slightly salty,” as in the water at the mouth of a river that drain into the ocean. It doesn’t mean “yucky.” And a disclaimer: The editor mentioned above wasn’t a terrible editor. He just wrote a pretty lame column; it’s, like, a rule.
And finally, NN.C’s comments are being spam-bombed. The filter’s catching it all, but so much is coming in that I’m going to the moderation panel and hitting “mark all as spam” and deleting them with a click. If you left a comment and it isn’t showing up, it may well have gotten mass-deleted. E-mail me privately or try again. UPDATE: J.C. installed a plug-in; if you have any problems commenting, let me know.