And it's me and my machine for the rest of the morning/ And the rest of the evening/ And the rest of my life...
- 'Millworker,' from the Studs Terkel musicial 'Working'
Every once in a while, someone will introduce me as a well-known blogger. I'm shocked if people even know who I am (or know what blogging is, for that matter), because really, I just sit in my living room and write stuff late at night, or early in the morning when normal people are still asleep. Come to think of it, I'm pretty much hunched over a computer for an average of 18 hours a day.
And I wonder why people think this is glamorous. Dear God, why?
I'm sitting here with one of those "As Seen On TV" compression socks on my right arm, because the nerves are so shot. (I cut holes in the end for my fingers.) I don't think it's so much the typing, because I did that for more than 15 years as a full-time journalist and the damage wasn't this bad. It's the damned cutting and pasting that does it, I think. Sometimes the pain is so bad, it makes me cry. (It's what makes me so succinct.)
I have an ergonomic mouse, an ergonomic chair. Thank God I have an articulating keyboard tray that one of my readers paid for because when the pain got really bad, I had to take a week off.
I'm plugged in most of the time. If I'm not home, I'm checking my smartphone. I have the TV on in the background with the sound turned off, because you never know what you might miss. It's like any assembly line job - you have to feed the content machine.
When I'm not writing, I'm reading. Looking for story leads on Twitter, on blogs, on news sites. I always prided myself on how much I read, but now my idea of heaven would be six months without reading any news. I suspect (although I can't be sure) that most of my C&L colleagues feel the same way, at least some of the time.
Because while the readers get to skip over anything that's just too upsetting, we don't. It's our job. We immerse ourselves in the muck, and we swim through it pretty much 24/7, 365 days. While you have the option of walking away when it gets to be too much, we don't. And we're still here when you decide to come back.
It's depressing as hell, diving into the dark side all the time.
And while you might say, "Hey, then go get a regular job," it's not that easy. Because you know what HR people do now? They Google your name. So bloggers' reward for the many years we've spent blogging, the years we've sifted through the news and the politics chaff for you, is to frequently get screened out as a potential employee. So here we are, delivering up a heapin' fresh platter of news and opinion because hey, it's what we do.