Time Shifts

In a time of 'Return to Office'

After 15 months away, I’ve started going into the office again. Not everyday, but most days. It’s both great but also is going to take some real getting used to in ways that perhaps I wasn’t expecting. This isn’t at all about COVID protocols, but rather time.

Most of us have spent the past year-plus working from home, where “going to work” means rolling out of bed and moving maybe 100 feet. Perhaps even not getting out of bed at all, at times. Our modern world made working this way feasible, we have the technology to miss few, if any, beats. And maybe even gain a couple working this way. That’s largely because of the time compression happening when you remove not only a commute, but also the inner-office intangibles.

We all knew and understood that commute times add up, but it is different to live this reality again. A 30-minute commute in the morning and a 30-minute commute at night is an hour of your day you had previously “unlocked” (to work or do something else). I’ve been largely taking Ubers again, so I can actually work — including, by the way, writing this, if you want to consider that “work” — but if I were to drive, I obviously wouldn’t be able to do that. I could fill my time with a podcast or something else to listen to, but it would be a wholly different use of the time than it has been this year.

And again, it adds up. When traffic is fully back to normal, I suspect my 30 minutes each way will be more like 45 minutes. And that means it’s an hour and a half of time spent commuting a day. For some, it will be far more, of course. And I suspect that alone may be the biggest bit of pushback in the return to office work. Because that time adds up so quickly and is so obvious.

The inner-office stuff is more interesting. You’d probably never think that folks popping by your desk or saying ‘hello’ as you walk to the restroom as units of time. But they are. And as great as they are — and they are great, even for an introvert like myself after the past year — they also add up. And it leads to this strange feeling at the end of a work day back in the office where you feel like you’ve had less time to get stuff done than you did previously.1 Because you have!

Again, I’m not saying these are bad things, they’re just changes from the past year.2 And while perhaps obvious ones, they were at least less obvious to me until I started living them again. It’s not even like there’s some tally of time to know how much is shifting, it’s just a feel. The feeling that you have less time. And it’s going to take a while to get used to that again. If we ever do.

Editor’s Note

I’m on the verge of switching things up again in my newsletter routine. I know. I KNOW. I’m a huge pain in the ass. But I just enjoy experimenting and shaking things up, partially as inspiration to keep going, to keep writing. So don’t be surprised if the next time you hear from me it’s in another format, perhaps from another email address, perhaps on another platform. Anyone who wishes to unsubscribe can always do so; no offense taken. As always, I do aspire to do something a bit more unique but also more streamlined, especially in a world of pure newsletter inundation, some five years after I started writing one. Thanks, as always, for reading and sticking with me.

The Good Stuff

🚘 How Parking Destroys Cities

If you believe we’re moving to a world of self-driving cars — one day — devoting so much space to the parking of cars makes absolutely no sense. Even if you don’t believe in such a world, the realities of ride share make parking seem prehistoric. And in many ways, almost barbaric, given what it has done to cities.

🦠 The Wuhan Lab Leak Question

While this is a highly controversial topic, to say the least, I found this tick tock by The Wall Street Journal to be a fascinating read that would seem to point to an Occam’s Razor explanation

🧑‍💻 Bill Gates’s Carefully Curated Geek Image Unravels

On the topic of controversial topics, the drama surrounding Bill Gates is nothing if not depressing, and potentially pretty disappointing. This Bloomberg piece is a good summary of what has played out to date.

🤘 Guy Fieri, Fired Up

On the other end of the spectrum, Guy Fieri is coming out the pandemic looking like a goddamn saint, albeit a weird-looking with tips dipped in frost and donkey sauce. And a well paid one, with a new contract from The Food Network to prove it.

🍿 The King of the Geezer Teasers

Have you ever wondered why Bruce Willis and company — formerly huge, exclusive movie stars — are making a ton of generic, low-budget movies? I certainly have. And well, this is the story for us.

💉 “Finally everything is coming up Magneto!”

One last pandemic-related post. But worth it if you’re into ridiculous conspiracy theories and/or the X-Men.

The Fun Stuff

My Stuff



⚔️ HBOh…

Jason Kilar pays the iron price as money wins…

🚙 Driven Insane

Back on the road, which is wild

📺 The Remote Strikes Back

Thoughts on the new Apple TV 4K — well, mainly the new remote

☁️ The, Uh, Stuff Designs Are Made Of

Talking through that new Warner Bros. Discovery logo…

⌚️ Keeping Tabs

A jam-packed, if mildly muted, WWDC 2021

It’s Amazing That No One Has Capitalized On This Whole Notes-To-Statement Thing Yet

I mean, it’s been years and still…


As an aside, it will be fascinating to see what, if any apps/services suffer from the shift back to office. I suspect there will be at least a few…


Also, great to be able to complain about such things, obviously!