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My expedient Walden

Published 2013-11-16

Last weekend I had the brilliant notion to take my laptop to our HOA pool house, which is unused now for the winter. I have no idea why this never occurred to me before, but it’s so obvious.

The (outdoor) pool is covered and the filters are off. The poolside furniture is stacked just inside the front door. The floor is swept, the trash cans are clean; it smells like the memory of summer.

The heat is set to 50°F. The sinks and toilets all work just fine. The lights function but I prefer to work by the fading afternoon light. The refrigerator is empty (but still running). There is a coffee pot but I haven’t used it.

There is no wifi. Today I had to look up a function on PHP.net so I used my iPhone. That’s the only time in the last two weekends I used the Internet while working.

There are no kids, no TV, and no radio. It is totally silent except for the refrigerator compressor every hour or so.

My habit is to work there until it is too dark or too cold to continue. I get a sore throat and numb fingers. I don’t take my laptop power cord. I feel the whole time like I’m racing against a deadline.

I never need to work more than two or three hours in the pool house anyway. I usually accomplish what would take me a full day at home or in a coffee shop. Which is itself what I can accomplish in about two days at the office.

So working in an unlighted, unheated, totally silent space with no collaborators, no coffee and no wifi, I produce about four to ten times what I would in an office.