Life of Fran: A Freelancer Story

Admittedly, Colin Nissan’s I Work From Home piece for The New Yorker is genius, but I’m going to go one deeper, into the dark depravity that is working from your pajamas. Because I ruin everything.

I honestly don’t know how I’ve managed to keep myself alive since I left my office job last September. Enabler Dan doesn’t either, and he marvels at my existence every time I see him, with equal parts disgust and admiration. The disgust isn’t entirely unwarranted: his main gripe is that I buy $8 magnums of Concha y Toro Cab/Merlot blends. “Wine is marked up 200-300%, so if you buy a $8 bottle, you’re getting like $4 wine… you’re basically paying for the glass,” he bemoaned last night, as we walked to the nearest watering hole.

It’s really not that bad. Then again, it’s been so long since I gave a damn that I don’t know what I know anymore.

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When people ask what I’ve been up to, I feel like it’s a trick. Do I not share every intimate detail of my mundane life on social media? What more do you want to know? Or, better yet, what do you really want to know?

On the one hand, I’m living the hood dream: I wake up whenever; I take my dog to Prospect Park most mornings; I can take a nap/drink wine/put on a bra/brush my hair any time of day; I can recycle outfits because I hardly ever see anyone of consequence; I can join the flock of housewives at Trader Joe’s in the middle of the workday; and I alternate freely and shamelessly between my desk, my bed, and my couch.

On the other hand, my life is kind of a crapshoot. This is the closest I’ve ever come to tasting the bitter end. If it wasn’t for social media and text messaging, I probably would’ve lost my speech months ago.

The scribblings in my journal have become less and less coherent. My sentences, once so concise and confident, have turned into long, meandering trains of thought that either abruptly switch directions or just, you know, commit suicide… What was I talking about? Sometimes I just give up on life and draw flowers in the margins, or I’ll cross out entire lines of text because I fucked up a cursive ‘g’ somewhere in there, and God forbid if the scholars hundreds of years from now read my annals and judge my entire life’s work on that fucked-up ‘g.’ It’s shit like that that keeps me up at night. That, and my new radiator-on-steroids that practically screams FAAAAILURRRE! at me in the wee hours of every morning.

The worst part: It’s been six months and I have shown zero signs that I’ve evolved into a more capable adult. Have I finally learned to cook? No. Is my apartment spotless? No. Have I read everything on my reading list? No. Have I made good art? Hell no. Am I still working on that novel? Sure.

I’m still kind of hawking the whole “I’m gonna be a writer” dream when all I’ve really written is creepy fan fiction about my ex-coworker (think Fifty Shades but the characters know how to read), an op-ed about how Nacho Libre is the most compelling and underrated commentary on the human experience that we’ve seen in the last 20 years, and a future Pulitzer-winning essay about how Family Guy predicted the outcome of the 2016 election (see: every episode where Lois or Peter ran for office). So, like, I have nothing to show for myself.

I’ve been eating fettuccine alfredo and grilled cheese sandwiches every night for the past week. I finished 3 lbs of cheap coffee in a month and a half. I bought two Virgen de Guadalupe candles at Target for a buck ¢70 each because they were the cheapest and who knows when the electricity will cut out? I’ve also been listening to the Moana soundtrack on loop for about a month because I want to be able to sing along with my niece the next time I’m home and she decides to belt one out. And, finally, I’ve hit my limit with the Love & Hip Hop franchise. The stress has finally eclipsed the fascination, and now I’m learning how to say ‘no’ for the first time in my entire life. Learning to establish a healthy distance from the things you love but know in your heart aren’t good for you is one of the most painful and rewarding experiences. I learned that this year, and I can apply it across all areas of my existence: social media, Chips Ahoy!, Family Guy, wine, Seamless, binge-watching videos from The Dodo…

I don’t know where I’m going with this. Also Jackie Chan at this year’s Oscars brought tears to my eyes.

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Someone, please send help.

 

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