Noodle House regular Eric Zoeckler wrote this column which appeared in the June 25, 2001, Everett Herald. It is reprinted here with his permission.
“Oh, you work from home. That’s got to be so cool.”
That’s a typical response when I say what I do to earn a living.
“You mean you can sit in your office dressed in your pajamas and write all day long?”
I could. But I don’t (write in my pajamas).
You know, working at home isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, I often say especially to corporate types whose office existence is confined to a tiny, cubicle enclosed desk and a couple of file cabinets.
Their eyes almost pop in disbelief.
Who wouldn’t want to come and go as you please? Who wouldn’t want a refrigerator full of goodies you don’t have to worry about people stealing? Who wouldn’t want to be able to “do their thing” without the boss unexpectedly showing up and wondering, “how are things going?” Who wouldn’t want to be able to peek at the TV when the Mariners’ begin an East Coast game at 4 p.m. our time?
It’s not that simple, really.
“Then what’s so bad about it?”
It’s lonely. When your definition of workplace camaraderie boils down to encounters with the FedEx driver, the landscaper, the carpet cleaner and the neighbor from down the street trying to find her little white dog, Fluffie, you are officially lonely.
About a year ago, however, I found a solution (or at least a partial solution) to my working at home aloneness. It’s The Fremont Noodle House Group.
Every two weeks, the Group convenes at a table deepest darkest corner of the Noodle House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle.
So what exactly is The Fremont Noodle House Group?
Group founder, de facto leader and money-collector Larry Swanson calls it, “an eclectic and lively group of independent-minded professionals” who get together over – what else – bowls of Asian noodles to gab, gossip or otherwise catch each other up on what’s happening in our lives.
Noodlers gather every other Friday and consist of an odd mix of entrepreneurs, unemployed dot-com-ers, consultants, massage therapists, architects, designers, musicians, playwrights, film and video producers, journalists, authors, product designers, medical researchers, professional speakers and world travelers (although last time a Boeing engineer somehow snuck in).
True to the spirit of independence, there is no agenda. Topics just fly. Like hearing about Larry’s occupational dilemmas. Last time, he announced he’d decided to follow his massage therapy career, although he also does fantastic web page designs and is a talented computer geek. Or, checking out Lyle’s new digital camera. Page, in the ninth year of designing and selling a water-activated, radio-signal alert device for boaters, says he’s just completed a grant application that, if approved, could truly ignite his business.
Rachael, just back from the East where she was caring for her terminally ill father, gets three or four leads for her burgeoning freelance marketing and project management service. Erin, message therapist to the stars (several local celebrities are among her clients), counsels me that those rolling pin devices sold on the TV infomercials actually will tighten and strengthen my abs and strengthen my back. Claude, the newcomer from Boeing, pleads his case about the “unjust” spraying of Gypsy Moths in Seattle last year under withering cross-examination by Griggs.
And so it goes at this, the home-a-loners version of the corporate world’s water cooler.
What prompts this attention on our bi-weekly entrepreneurial social gathering is that our venue – the Noodle House – closed last week in anticipation to being leveled by a wrecking ball. Funky Fremont is changing, and a new multi-level building will rise in place of the frame single story edifice that housed Noodles. Marking the occasion, Larry developed a commemorative Web site highlighted by Lyle’s digital photos (Adieu Fremont Noodle House). There, you’ll find a brief history, words and pictures of some Noodle regulars and speculation of our future.
But the (hopefully) temporary demise of the Noodle House will not deter we Noodlers, a bunch of sole practitioners in need of periodic companionship. We will continue meeting, and will forever be known as The Fremont Noodle House Group.
Either that, or we’ll all be left forever home and very alone.
Write Eric Zoeckler at The Herald, PO Box 930, Everett, WA 98206 or e-mail [email protected].
This page created 11/26/02; last updated 11/21/03.