[Tripping On…] Makeshift Standing Workstation, Part 2

After two days of setting up my work-from-home boxes, I feel good about their temporal arrangements. I don’t want to have a permanent space dedicated to this temporary problem. If this lasts more than the local government-mandated two-week period, then maybe I’ll build something more permanent for my vocational or avocational laptops, especially if I don’t receive any noise complaints. I’ve been careful being quiet both on phone calls and walking around. No complaints yet.[1]

I made a note to check on that as I publish this essay.

As I walked outside to meander to my mailbox, as is currently allowed, I saw moving trucks. I’m not sure if it’s my downstairs neighbor or not, but I haven’t heard their yip-yip dog in a few weeks, and as of this writing it is toward the end of the month, so I might have lucked out.

What if this lasts for months?

Working a phone-based job overnight in an apartment is not ideal, but as it is required by law, I think I will be fine. If needed, I could probably find alternate locations. But for now, I’m alright with using boxes at various heights that aren’t quite ergonomically tall enough to type and mouse click. The monitor is tall enough now to feel good for my back, neck, and shoulders.

I have my PT bands available here for stretching.

The only thing I might like is having a sitting option. I won’t need it for too long, but I can feel the fatigue start to creep in. I am writing this on my smartphone now sitting at my dining room table that has been acting as host to my temporary work-from-home solution.

This might work well as a sitting break spot.

I found typing while slouching over my laptop on the table was not comfortable, but that was its height. I wonder if I could easily move the laptop and peripherals down? Were I to get a call now, I would need to rush to a standing position, but that feels the sturdiest and quietest. If I were your upstairs neighbor, I would act as I am now, which is as respectfully as an upstairs person can move around without severely impacting their way of life.

I avoid unnecessary noise or commotion.

I would prefer more than this to be somewhere where I could walk around, talk as loudly as I feel, and do more than just breathe quieter. My employer’s building is locked. We could not go in even if we needed to, without special permission, and so if I had a noise complaint I couldn’t reason for, I would need to take leave-without-pay or maybe apply for government funds.

I feel like I’m as quiet as I can be, all things considered.

At least once every few calls, someone will ask me to speak up, usually as a mild “pardon?” I am not moving quickly enough to be too loud. I can’t hear myself from downstairs, but I would imagine this is as quiet as I can be without loud thumping sounds crashing someone’s quiet time. I haven’t received any emails yet and I know they can email me since I did have a noise dispute with the downstairs neighbor that is moving out. The office emailed me, I complied, the dog persisted in barking for five minutes, I complied, and let them know I remained silent as they requested.

That’s about as soon as I could do then and now.

If I operate like this for the short-term, mindful but not paranoid, I should be fine, perhaps. I am still anxious. On my days off, when I stay on my night shift schedule, being awake at night, I prepare everything so during quiet hours I can sit at my avocational laptop to work or relax. I will only walk to the restroom and back, so I’m usually fairly quiet.

I’ve been working nights for six months now without related complaints.

The complaint above was unrelated in that during non-quiet hours, over the course of months, I captured video of the dog barking excessively. That escalated to me stomping on the floor to get them to shut up. So that gives me an idea of my general current threshold of quietness. My new downstairs neighbors should be quieter, and if I can, I’ll introduce myself and the situation and say that if I’m ever too loud to let me know.

I had a dicey call there where it might have been easy to get loud.

Instead, I kept calm, and do what I always do when it gets dicey: state what the policy is, what we can do, what they need to do, and what they can do if that doesn’t work. He didn’t want the runaround so he wasn’t having it. For something like that, when we’re misunderstood, volume accidentally becomes a subconscious factor. Instead, focus on clearing the communication gaps.

Of course, I won’t know for a few weeks.

I probably won’t be able to transfer this essay into WordPress to schedule it for publication until then, anyways, since I have a backlog of other essays to publish before this one. But this setup could work well, even avocationally. I’ll sit at my regular desk tomorrow to see how it goes, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll build something more permanent here, vocationally, and there, avocationally.

Since I don’t have better answers, I’ll finish this essay later…

It’s been over a week now. The apartment management sent out an email two days ago about noise levels. I replied with my situation but haven’t heard back. Everyone I’ve asked about the email generally thinks they were concerned about after-hours parties, rather than workers-from-home whispering on the phone and tip-toeing around their apartments, so I should be fine. I may write a third essay concluding this after building a more permanent setup.

Until then, build up a standing desk with some cardboard boxes; it’s great for your posture.

Quotes: [1] The email:
Dear Residents,
As you know the state of Washington is currently on Stay at Home orders from the Governor. Due to this, many of your neighbors find themselves confining many of their activities, including working, to their homes. We would like to ask that all residents be mindful of noise levels and keep them to a respectful level so that each and every one of you can try to enjoy your time at home and those working from home can do so distraction free.
As a reminder, quite hours remain 10pm to 8am daily. Noise during these hours should be confined to your homes.
We appreciate everyone’s assistance with this. Together we can make this time a little more pleasant for everyone.
Thank you.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: Since I wrote this and Part 1, I’ve figured out a decent setup that’s minimally invasive for my avocational work, like this, where I can look over my vocational workspace and not think too much about vocational activities. After I get things further cleared out, then I may post photos, or at least some drawings to indicate what it looks like, in case others want to replicate what I’ve got.
Related: Other Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters. Along with Part 1.
Picture: I was going to use the photographs I took of the space, but then I thought, you know what? There’s too much junk around to really make it clear what’s going on, I don’t want to reveal too many personal details of my living arrangements right now, so nah.
Written On: 2020 March 25 [From 1:28am to “or maybe apply for government funds” to 1:47am. From 2am to “and if I can” to 2:14am. From 2:29am to “I’m ever too loud to let me know” at 2:31am. From 3:10am to “But this setup could work well, even avocationally” at 3:15am. From 3:42am to “I’ll finish this essay later” at 3:46am. Gdocs.] 2020 April 03 [8:56pm to 9:01pm, WordPress]
Last Edited: 2020 April 03 [Adapted from Gdoc, so, second draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.