It’s the internet’s fault, why I am where I am today. Where exactly am I? Where I have been for the last three years, two months, five days, and six hours: at home. And yes, I’ve been in my pajamas the whole time.
When I last left the house, all those many days, months and years ago, I had no idea that it would be the last time I’d ever have to use to my key. I figured that it would be just another day at the office, and it was. Which was how the problem started. Asshole Extraordinaire – that was my nickname for my least favourite client in the world – was doing what he did best: giving me hell for not doing what he had requested.
“Why can’t you understand simple instructions?” he asked in his usual condescending tone.
“Because,” I wanted to tell him, “you can’t write in proper English so deciphering your e-mails is impossible. Your accent is even worse, so asking you in person won’t help. I pretty much just have to guess what you want and go from there.”
Only I couldn’t say that, of course, because he was a client and the client is always right, so I simply apologized for failing to deliver what he asked of me. Then I did what lead me to where I am today. I turned to the guy in the cubicle next to me and said, “I’m going home.” No, “I don’t feel well so I think I’ll leave early” or “See you tomorrow.” Just a simple “I’m going home.” And then I left, never to return. It was like, I don’t know, fine or something that this client had pissed me off a million other times before, but there was just something about this one millionth and one time that made it all unacceptable. I guess you could say I snapped.
I went to bed the second I got home. When I woke up the following morning, I was overcome by a paralyzing sense of dread. It felt as though every bully who had ever terrorized me in elementary school, every woman who had ever broken up with me, plus every client and co-worker who had ever made my life difficult were all on their way over to dump one final shitload of stress on me. I had to barricade myself under the covers. It was the only way to stay safe. So I reached for my phone on the nightstand and sent my boss a text telling him I wasn’t going in.
I sent him the same text the day after that, and the day after that. After five days he sent me a text.
“Roger, do you ever plan on returning to the office?” he asked.
No, I wasn’t planning on ever returning to the office, but I had bills to pay, so I sent him a text. I wrote back that I could either go on stress leave, thanks to Asshole Extraordinaire, or I could work from home. I didn’t want any more Asshole Extraordinaires for clients either. He could take it or leave it, but I suggested he take it because I was fairly certain what I had going on was a medical condition and companies aren’t allowed to fire people with medical conditions.
So that’s why I now work from home. As for why I don’t go out of the house at all? Well, that’s where the internet enters the picture. What makes it possible for me to work from home also makes it possible for me to order food and extra pajamas from home. I can order gifts for people and ship them wherever I want, too. I am able to order lawn service online as well, and pay for it all with my credit card. I don’t ever have to leave the safety and comfort of my humble abode.
I will likely die in this house, and I will likely be one of those people no one realizes is dead until long after my body has mummified. Come to think of it, I can also see the gruesome discovery of my body being the top trending story online that day. The world wide web has its hands in everything these days!
When that day comes, would you do me a favour and thank Asshole Extraordinaire for me? And Bill Gates. It would be rude of me to leave out the guy behind the internet. Thanks!