I’ve always said that my marriage would never survive co-working with my husband. Every time I say this, the people around me laugh. Since my husband is a mathematician and I’m a mystery writer, the likelihood of us ever ending up in the same office is slim to none.
But then COVID happened.
Hello, quarantine co-working. Quarantine co-working is like normal co-working, except you are in absolute hell, everything is on fire and your spouse is counting the chocolate wrappers lying around you. Every morning I drop our kids at school and return back to my home, where I suffer in abject misery for the next eight hours until they return.
Oh sorry, I meant marital bliss. Not abject misery. Sorry for the typo.
As a mystery writer, I’ve drafted multiple versions of his murder over the past six months, sometimes strangling him with his mouse cord, other times tossing his laptop into the bath with him. We won’t talk about the time a too-loud Zoom call he was on was brought to an abrupt end by a meeting with our meat cleaver. Despite having plenty of fictional outlets available for my release, the reality of being stuck here at home with this man is still getting to me.
Here are all the reasons why working with my husband is hell:
His industrial grade, noise-cancelling headphones
Apparently, my husband requires absolute utter silence in order to work. Which is ironic given he used to work in a university. Have you met college kids? Even though it is just the two of us here at home, and I WRITE all day, he wears industrial grade, noise-cancelling headphones. Everywhere. Working in his home office? Check. Working at the dining table? Check.
They are super, duper effective. I know, because I regularly accidentally give him a heart attack. You know, by doing crazy things like saying “lunch is ready” or forgetting to knock on his HOME office door. THERE IS NO NOISE EXCEPT FOR HIS ZOOM CALLS, okay? Enough with the headphones.
His math zoom calls
Let’s talk about his zoom calls. Listening in on your spouse’s work-related zoom calls is bound to be boring. But his fall into another category entirely. MATH ZOOM CALLS. All day long I have to listen to people mutter about the value of X if the coordinates are imaginary and exponentially increase over time. Want to know how much I care about his complicated university math? The square root of BUGGER ALL is how much.
He never leaves the office
And then there’s the fact that he never leaves the office. I know, I know. You’re shouting at me that we work at home so obviously he can’t leave the office. Well. I leave the office. I leave it to do the school run and the laundry, to buy groceries, and cook food. Even though he has his own list of household tasks, he puts them off until I plot another one of his death scenes. He took the reduced commute time and switched it over to checking his emails. STOP WORKING, DUDE.
His watercooler chat
Although maybe I’m being a bit hasty here. The other day he stopped for a break, waltzed over, and started to chat. With me. Since I’m the only person here, I am on point for 100% of his watercooler chat needs. Except, I don’t actually work with him and I don’t care what Barbara in IT did this week. I DO NOT KNOW BARBARA. <Rushes off to put on the noise-cancelling headphones>
Listen, as bad as the above habits are, I could find a way to live with them. But there is one thing which is beyond the pale, and quite likely will be the item I list off in divorce court.
He judges my snack table trips.
Yes, that’s right. I said it. He’s counting the calories every time I sneak off for a cheeky cuppa and a chocolate cookie. And you can forget about all the ‘single food’ I used to enjoy at lunch. I remember the halcyon days when I could eat whatever disgusting food I WANTED, with no one there to judge my mac & cheese with a side of steak fries. Now he says he wants “something healthy” and reminds me that “the gyms are all closed” because we’re in lockdown 2.0. I KNOW THEY ARE CLOSED. LET ME EAT A FREAKING CHOCOLATE BAR, GODDAMMIT.
Years ago, I made my marriage vows. And I guess I’ll keep them. But I’m starting to think there is a reason why they said “sickness and health, richer or poorer” but didn’t include “working apart or together”.
That, my friends, would have been asking too much.