Thursday, May 3, 2012
As a bloggers who write, frequently without anyone knowing, the same strategic considerations must be considered.
So, what are our defensive strategies.
Fortify your position - A locked door gives great freedom. In my old job I had the defensive advantages of a remote location, with empty office all around me, an ante room for mental separation (if the lights were off, people just ignored the whole space, and, when privacy was critical, a locked door with no shared key, only security had a duplicate. I worked and wrote in isolation, far from the maddening crowd of the office milieu and perfectly situated for extended periods of concentrated work. And, though simple, a not on the door that says, "Conference Call" can usually buy you at least 45 minutes, but you have to make some business-like noises on occasion. "Yea baby" does not count.
Deny the landing site - If they can't park, stop, or wait, then they can't come in, interrupt, or distract. A coffee shop, a public place, is perfect. Find a small table with your back to the wall, the screen facing the corner, and room for only one chair. If there are two chairs at the table, a purse, gym bag, briefcase, or bag of non-perishable groceries will dissuade others from joining you, allowing you to work in private. Refusing to shower also may prove effective. I have seen it work quite well in downtown Los Angeles.
Strategic Retreat - There are times when all good commanders know it is time to go. An indefensible position, the pending loss of all resources, the discovery of critical information, all may force retreat, even in the middle of the worlds best post. How do we prepare for this? Save often, don't get distracted by music or videos that allow others to approach in secret, always have clothes laid out in an organized fashion for quick redressing, and above all else, make sure you know what windows may have popped up unannounced. (never, ever wear headphones, just don't) Certain sites are notorious for launching windows in the background. While a well placed mouse click will close Blogger and Firefox in a second, leaving behind an ad for "hot chat with hot chicks" may be worse than a string of dirty words on a screen. This leads us to the retreat itself.
The ability to zip up, clean up, shut down, and look busy doing dishes is a skill no writer can do without. Fashion choices must be carefully considered. For women, a soft skirt that can be lifted or dropped quickly is a must. For men, dresses are out, but sweats, while at home, may be useful. Remember men, dark sweats only. Nothing screams "blogger" louder than a wet spot on light grey fabric. At work, keep it simple. Pants never go below the knees, shoes and socks on at all times, like a firefighter's hazard gear, all clothes are arranged for quick entry and minimal response time. A knock on a locked door buys you 10 seconds at the most. Be prepared men! And always, always keep your cleaning supplies handy. Don't make me say it out loud, but protect your keyboard, IT guys are notoriously nosy.
Send reinforcements - There is always safety in numbers. If working from home, position the children between you and the front door. Make sure they know to give mommy (or dad) a big hug the instant he walks through the door. If you have dogs, have them in the house and off leash 15 minutes before pending arrivals. This acts both as an early warning system, (exit, shut down, open the windows, turn on the ceiling fan, gather the tissue, push her out the back window, hide him in the closet, etc)
Cell phones are terrific tools for determining arrival time and location, "Honey, I was just checking on you, how's the drive home, how's traffic, I'll start dinner if you tell me when you'll be home. If the cell phone is off or there is no answer, they may already be puling in the drive way (alert the children) or still in a meeting. Do you have 10 seconds, 20 minutes, or an hour? Close observation of the personal habits of the enemy is critical. Do they stop for groceries on the way home? What is their best route and can you arrange for the traffic lights to be on the fritz? Insider knowledge of both highway patrol and traffic control system is critical for safe blogging. If you are at work, for heaven's sake get a promotion and hire a secretary. They are of immense value in your strategic defense.
Prepare for attack - The best defense is a good offense. Keep the other team off the field if you don't want them to score, and keep the enemy off balance and distracted. Scenario - Blogger is up, pictures are in place, Tumblr is streaming an endless parade of beautiful and naked women, your pants are down or your skirt is up and the room is warm and fragrant, perfect writing conditions. Then it happens, the key turns in the lock, the kids are still at school, and she didn't use the garage door. (there is a reason I NEVER oil the hinges on my garage door. it needs to be as loud as possible.) You have three seconds, what do you do? Always have a few dirty dishes in the sink of a pile of laundry next to you while writing. The key slips in, your ear's perk up, you slam the laptop close, praying that Windows locks the screen and hoping that she doesn't remember the password, as you pull up and zip, or push down and smooth, you pick up the laundry basket, call out "Is that you dear?" and walk confidently to the front door and plant the best welcome home kiss ever given. With laundry in hand, ask them to come with you, and as the laundry room door closes, pull them in to your arms for a lingering kiss as the kids knock on the other side. By the time they regain their senses, reinforcements have arrived, the laptop has locked, their mind is distracted, and they really don't care why there are still a few dishes in the sink. As casually as possible, you then take the basket back up to the writing zone, gather 2-3 more things (just pull them off the hanger or out of the drawer if you need to), and slip the laptop back in to it's bag, hoping the light will turn off.
OK, That's it.
Remember that advanced planning, strategic defense, and situational awareness is the key to happy and safe browsing at home. Never let your guard down when your pants already are.
Good luck soldiers, happy blogging.