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STS-103 - Update #8 - The Wawa Office

There are a lot of reasons to not like COVID but I have one that’s sort of unusual. It forced me to admit to myself that no matter how much I want to believe the opposite, I don’t really do great with working from home. It took me probably a lot longer than it should have for me to figure this out. Some people don’t like working from home because they feel like they’re always at work and wind up overworking. For me it’s the opposite problem. I don’t have the greatest executive function, so without hard and bright lines to break up the day I can slip from minute to minute, hour to hour, fully intending to start working on something and just.. never.. quite do it, somehow. This can be especially bad with side projects like the podcast.

On a typical day I might end work by just sort of floating around around 6pm. Then I decide to take a quick cruise through Reddit, maybe watch an episode or two of something, maybe order some food, and– oh my god is it 10pm? What the hell?

Compare that with when I was going to the office. I’d have 25 minutes or so to transition my mind to the next task, and as soon as I got home I would drop some time into the podcast. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there was a LOT of procrastination on the show even when I was really on my game, but when the deadline was looming it was possible to make my brain engage and get it done. Something about being home all the time during COVID broke that.

Enter, the “Wawa Office”. This is a dumb idea that I stumbled upon a couple years ago that has been really helpful. For those who are unfamiliar, Wawa is a chain of convenience stores / gas stations that is common in the Pennsylvania / New Jersey / Maryland region. They have nice breakfast sandwiches, a slick touchscreen interface for ordering food you want, and is a little higher quality than a straight up convenience store like 7-Eleven or something. The Wawa near my house happens to have a pretty large parking lots situated near a field with some trees.

So one day, desperate to get out of the house and change my frame of mind, I brought my podcast reading along to Wawa. I parked in the farhest spot, off by the trees, grabbed a breakfast sandwich and some coffee, and just hung out. My friends kind of thought this was nuts but hear me out. Sitting in my car with the windows down, it’s essentially like being outside but with a comfortable seat. And with the Wawa right there I had a source of cheap coffee and a bathroom. Perhaps most importantly, there are no easy distractions or a forever in my face cat to contend with. It’s actually pretty pleasant.

The Wawa Office has been where a lot of the podcast has gotten written in these last few years, and I’m actually sitting here right now. Having done this pretty regularly for a while now I’ve noticed some strange patterns. Fun fact: every day at about 11am, an armada of Amazon vans and trucks rolls in. I can see eight right now. I understand that they refuel here and grab some snacks, but why do they park near each other and move a bunch of items from van to van? Who knows. Or how about the mystery of the Printer Behind the Tree? That was there for weeks before anyone removed it!

Anyway, I’m not sure this story had a point other than pointing out it can pay off to keep an open mind. If something works, it works. Don’t write it off just cause it’s sort of odd. Alright, back to the script.