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散文:在家工作也烦恼

2014-03-18    来源:英语学习杂志    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Avoid the Obamajam, work from home

我是幸运的,因为我不用奔波于上下班的路上,奥巴马来洛杉矶也没给我造成太大影响,但是,在家工作却时不时地要被调皮的小鬼们骚扰一番,他们对你办公室的一切都充满了好奇,会在你采访重要人物的时候忽然窜进来做个鬼脸,或者在你的办公室前将篮球拍得直响,天热了打开窗户那篮球直奔你的电脑就来了……

By Matthew Garrahan

Fortunately, I’ve been able to avoid most instances of traffic jam brought by presidential visits because I don’t have to commute anywhere.

Barack Obama visited Los Angeles recently and, amid the sound of military helicopters flying low over the city before his arrival, you could almost hear the collective groan of disgruntled commuters. The president is beloved in La La Land but even laid-back, liberal Angelenos have started to take umbrage at his visits, which regularly paralyse large sections of a city still beholden to travelling by car. Fortunately, I’ve been able to avoid most instances of Obamajam, as it is known here, because I don’t have to commute anywhere.

I am among the 10 percent of people in the U.S. that regularly works from home. You could include Obama among them, although I suspect his working area in the White House is better-equipped than my small space tacked on to the back of the garage. He also probably doesn’t have a problem with three little kids—our four-year-old boy and girl twins and six-year-old boy—interrupting his phone calls or bursting into his office at inopportune moments.

Before we had children, I didn’t count on quite how noisy they would be—or how fascinated they would be with the mundane stuff going on in my office. And yet every day there they are, knocking on my window and peering inside, as if looking at an animal in a zoo.

If I have forgotten to lock the door, I may turn around in my chair to find them trying to dismantle my printer or stick their fingers in electrical sockets. Once, a telephone interview I was doing with the former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was interrupted by my older son, then three years old, and completely naked apart from a pirate eyepatch, bandanna and plastic cutlass. “Ahaaar!” he shouted, waving the cutlass in my face.

“What was dat?” said Schwarzenegger.

I stammered something about the joys of children and silently managed to shoo the boy out of the room without putting down the phone or my notepad. The governor, had he seen this manoeuvring, would have been proud.

Noise at home is also a factor. We stupidly bought my six-year-old a basketball hoop but the only flat part of the garden where it can stand is directly outside the office. The metronomic sound of a ball bouncing on concrete has become a maddening backing track and opening my door on hot days will invariably be followed by said ball hurtling into the room and smashing into my computer.

I shouldn’t gripe. I no longer have to endure having someone’s armpit being pressed into my face on a crowded train and home status means I should be a more productive worker, if a recent Stanford University study of a Chinese company is to be believed—although the authors acknowledged that working from home could also lead to “shirking from home”. I would argue that a bigger problem is losing one’s marbles : staring at the same walls every day and not going anywhere can do strange things to a person.

I realized early on that I had to get out of the house at least once a day to avoid turning into an unshaven and unshowered recluse who was still in his pyjamas at dinner time. I would work for an hour or so in a local coffee shop but, like any routine, this became monotonous because I would constantly see the same faces: aspiring screenwriters poring over screenplays, elderly Botoxed women heading to the yoga studio next door and hordes of overweight Mamils (middle-aged male in Lycra) cycling by.

The coffee shop used to elect one of its patrons “customer of the week”, with the winner getting their picture displayed on the counter. One week I won and rushed home to tell my wife. She arched an eyebrow and said: “I think this working from home thing is getting to you.” She was right, of course. And yet here I am several years later, still working from home, sanity (vaguely) intact and, I’m happy to report, not sitting at my desk in my pyjamas. Not since last Tuesday, anyway.

traffic jam:交通阻塞,塞车

commute vi. 通勤;代偿

disgruntle vt. 使……不高兴

beholden adj. 负有义务的;蒙恩的;对…表示感谢的

garage n. 车库;汽车修理厂;飞机库

mundane adj. 世俗的,平凡的;世界的,宇宙的

metronomic adj. 节拍器的;有节奏的

monotonous adj. 单调的,无抑扬顿挫的;无变化的



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