It was 6:30am. I looked in the mirror and thought:
“Are those the Falkland Islands?”
I was referring to the acne installation that has cropped-up on my 37-year-old face overnight. Life’s been kicking me in the ass lately and while I’m always up for a good ass kicking, this one was apparently leaving me looking as if I’d stuck my face in the Burger King deep fryer. More on the deep fryer later.
As a solopreneur with a rapidly growing business, I act solo. I take conference calls on my sofa, wander around the backyard with the dogs while chatting about SEO and move sprinklers while hashing things out with web developers. I have essentially ZERO human interaction. I’m a goddamn hermitpreneur. Yesterday, that changed.
Two weeks ago, I’d received an invite to haul ass up to Ft. Collins for the day to co-work at Cohere Community. Angel (Cohere founder) was apparently shocked when I said “yes.” While she had no idea as to the reclusive and depraved work day that IS RedheadWriting, all I could think was: what the fuck am I going to do with OTHER PEOPLE?!? While it was possible I’d explode and leave a nasty stain on Cohere’s walls, I said hells yeah. The Toaster and I were going to The Fort. And thanks to the acne, we could use the HOV lane to get there.
I’d never heard of co-working before. Apparently it was an office you can go to if you don’t have an office. Given that I’ve never wanted an office since starting my business, I didn’t really know how it would all work out. But I’m here to tell you that co-working is the schiz. Da bomb. The hizzy. It’s awesome with a J.
Once I perched at my workspace, I followed the tale of a gal who had just had a buyer back-out on buying her home because his prized 10′ elk antler wouldn’t fit in her living room. (Weigh-in, darlin’ – I suck with names but very much enjoyed the conversation on IUDs!)
Jeremiah professed his belief that Steve Jobs and the CEO of AT&T had killed a hobo together and that was the only explanation for the ongoing bad relationship between the ossum hardware and shitty network. And in the process of laughing, I met a pretty cool WordPress developer.
When I needed to buckle-down and generate some content, I went into a nifty “quiet room” with a door, jammed out two blog posts and then promptly landed back at my workspace when ready for more stimulus. Stimulus is apparently a giant sandwich and I ate the hell out of it when it arrived for lunch – an added perk of the free co-working day at Cohere. In fine Redhead style, I did decorate my sandwich with Annie’s organic bunny crackers and truly regret that I don’t have a picture of the 100 Acre Woods I created deli-style.
Angel wanted me to share with those who were there some details about my brand – essentially, how I’ve come to be an unapologetic brand and the challenges it brings me. At the tail end of a fucked-up journey I can only assume put half the folks to sleep or in a state of mind to want to stab me with the blunt ends of their piece of the giant sandwich, Pul Hummer (heh-I said “hummer”) (yes, I’m really a twelve-year-old boy) comes through the door and offers that he’s just met the Coolest Guy in Ft. Collins. Realizing this was vitally more important than anything I could conjure, we all direct our attention to his animated account. We ask: was meeting this guy ossum with an O or awesome with an A?
Alex replied that it was Awesome with a J. How the fuck do you argue with that?
After lunch, Cali and I went on an jawesome trip over to The Fort’s local cupcake shop. Apparently evil lurks, even in small-town America. On the bottom right-hand shelf, there was a little sign that said, “Frosting Shots: $1.”
I gasped. Pointed. Inhaled. Gasped again.
Little known fact about The Redhead: I fucking LOVE frosting. You can keep the cupcake, cut off the top and turn it into some twisted Seinfeld muffin top episode – just give me the frosting. Taco Bell has Fourth Meal, I have frosting. I would use it as thigh cream, gladly generating mounds of lemon-flavored buttercream cellulite. I’d wrestle a small child for a Frosting Shot and use dirty tactics to take them down – with their mother looking.
So, I bought two frosting shots – one for me and one for Cali – and a cupcake, as it’s a moral imperative to QC cupcakes within a 2 hour radius of the Denver metro area. Cali gave me the old town tour of The Fort, which is quaint in a Pearl Street/Boulder kind of way and…relaxed. I liked it. When back at Cohere, it was promptly offered that I’d likely die from a diabetic coma right there on the hardwood if I ingested the frosting shot. Granted, this was offered as I raised my spoonful of buttercream porn to my lips and accompanied by, “You’re just gonna eat it with a SPOON!?!?”
Why yes. Yes, I am. But I digress.
I meant for this post to talk about how ossum Cohere is and how in love I am with the concept of co-working. I never realized I was a recluse. I mean, Christ – I “talk” to hundreds of people each day on Twitter and my Fan page or blog. I’d become The Guy in a Van, Down By the River and not even realized it. <insert sad Huey Lewis and the News song here> Co-working at Cohere yesterday made me realize a metric ass ton of things, elk antlers and insulin comas aside:
- Being around people is a release – when I needed stimulus, I got it in spades. When I needed to buckle down, I could go hide. I worked better after the release. WIN.
- I need people – while masturbating is a guilty, private pleasure, career masturbation is…well, it’s just sad. I’d been diddling myself day in, day out and never stopped to realize: people rock.
- OOOOH, SHINY! I learned stuff. From the girl with bicycle wheels on her boobs who made ossum t-shirts to finding new web developers and potential new copywriters, the day was an epic WIN filled with things I needed that I could only get from other people.
- People read my shit – while terrifying, I was confronted with a room full of people at Cohere who…ummm…apparently like what I write. So thank you. More importantly, thank you for not serving me with a restraining order when you heard I was coming to town. Now, sadly, you know that it’s not just an act – I really AM this fucked-up.
- I’ll be back – driving for an hour and ten minutes is easy. Working alone all day – that’s hard. I loved the people, the environment and the vibe. I indulged in a rare gluten treat and loved the sammich and mini diet soda, too. While I will not single-handledly support the cupcake establishment (though I could, don’t get me wrong), you’ve earned a paying customer from a simple invite that you thought I wouldn’t accept for some reason. Silly wabbit – I was tickled to be asked to join you.
- Solutions – we came up with a killer solution for the BP oil spill: turn the Gulf into a big-ass wok or deep-fryer! Chinese food for everyone! (This is how shit gets done, people.)
If you’re a solo soul and haven’t checked out co-working options in your area, please do. It’s soul food and the ideal anti-office solution. What went on at Cohere yesterday was any HR specialist’s nightmare and the fodder for many-a-lawsuit. Not all working environments have to have a stick up their ass. Sticks hurt. Laughter is much more pleasing to perch on if you’ve gotta get some work done – it lives at Cohere. Check it out. Denver co-working, Boulder co-working, Ft. Collins co-working…it’s all accessible at Cohere. With cupcakes.