Hello and welcome, readers, to the once-a-year treat known as Strangercrombie Fulfillment Week, wherein all the Stranger-related items from the annual Strangercrombie holiday auction—from "Put Whatever You Want on the Cover" to "Be Savage Love's Guest Expert"—are crammed into one strange and glorious issue. This year's Strangercrombie auction raised a dazzling $60,000 for FareStart, $486 of which came from the sweet, smart folks at Office Nomads (www.officenomads.com), who purchased the right to custom-order the content of this week's Last Days. Hurrah!
MONDAY, JANUARY 14 This week of fiscally mandated yet fundamentally sincere good ink kicks off in the Capitol Hill residence of Office Nomads, the brand-new coworking space situated on the second floor of the Heath Printers building, near the northwest corner of Pine Street and Boylston Avenue—1617 Boylston Avenue, Suite 200, to be precise, not far from Hot Mama's Pizza, Linda's Tavern, and that weird but generally effective convenience store. What is "coworking"? According to the Office Nomads' website, coworking is "[similar to] cohousing... When you come to work at Office Nomads you'll find a work space with all the tools of a modern office shared by a cadre of independent workers (contractors, business owners, freelancers) like yourself but none of the soul-crushing corporate values." Today, Last Days made our inaugural visit to the Office Nomads office, where we were greeted by co-owners Jacob Sayles and Susan Evans, affable and attractive citizens with a shared passion for "individuality without isolation." "The digital revolution gave people an incredible amount of independence in being able to get work done from home, or anywhere," says Jacob. "But that independence can be isolating, and you see people starving for community. That's what we offer here—full office amenities in a shared, communal setting." "It's about the work-life balance," adds Susan. "Anyone who's worked from home can tell you how blurry the boundaries can get. A coworking space can help you compartmentalize your life. Your home can be home again—someplace you go when you're done working and ready to relax." As someone who routinely works cross-legged on a bed until our lower extremities scream from the restricted blood flow, Last Days understands. Let's continue.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 15 Today, Last Days returned to Office Nomads for further investigation and a preliminary experiment in coworking. (If that phrase sometimes looks like "cow orking" to you, you're not alone.) Generally speaking, the Office Nomads space consists of one large, sunny-when-the-sun's-out space stocked with desks and chairs and power outlets, one nearly-as-large space filled with work tables and humongous dry-erase boards, three conference rooms, a men's room, a ladies' room, and a kitchen. Among the "full office amenities" supplied by Office Nomads are high-speed wireless internet, complimentary print/copy/fax services, free use of the conference rooms, and complimentary coffee and tea. (There's usually some beer in the fridge, too.) As for the clientele: As of now, it's a politely laid-back collection of freelance writers, web developers, and other such independently employed types. Use of the Office Nomads space is granted two ways: $25 gets you a daily membership with full privileges, while $475 gets monthly membership with special privileges, including a dedicated desk and 24/7 access to the space. Office Nomads' goal: a roster of 40 monthly members, who'll engage with owners Jacob and Susan to shape the space into what they want it to be. "We've kept the space something of a blank slate because we want to build it with the community," says Susan. She's not kidding about Office Nomads' devotion to community building: Last night's after-hours activities included a meeting of Sustainable Capitol Hill and the first-ever Office Nomads game night.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16 Speaking of community: Today we returned to Office Nomads for the weekly Wednesday lunch, wherein any and all interested Office Nomads workers gather in the friendliest conference room with Tupperware and take-out to eat together and gab. Among today's attendees were co-owners Susan and Jacob, and coworkers Chris (freelance writer), Ryan (web developer), Tim (web programmer), and Eric (circuit provisioner). (Among the discussion topics: car crashes, broken jaws, Britney Spears, antigay bigotry, the video game Rock Band, and the possible installation of a treadmill in a soundproof room for Office Nomads workers who like to pace while talking on the phone.) Everyone was nice, and it was very fun.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 17 The week continues with an actual old-school Last Days item, courtesy of Hot Tipper Danielle. "It can be difficult to fully appreciate the horror of the public-grooming incidents described in this column until one occurs right in front of you," writes Danielle, wisely. "This morning, I was sitting in the back of the number 21 express Metro from West Seattle to downtown. Seated across from me was an average-looking, clean-cut man who was flossing his teeth. I can still hear the twanging of the floss as he went to work. A few minutes later, he stripped off his shoe and sock and applied some kind of ointment to his big toe. On behalf of my fellow bus passengers, thank you for the opportunity to share our tale of violation at the hands of yet another public groomer." Dear Danielle: You're welcome, and your pain is shared by Office Nomads owners Susan and Jacob, to whom we put the question, "What would you do if an Office Nomads coworker indulged in some of the more heinous public-grooming possibilities, such as nail clipping, leg waxing, and zit popping? "We would kindly direct them to our luxurious restroom facilities, which include a men's room, a ladies' room, and a full shower," said Susan and Jacob in unison. (In addition to co-owners, Jacob and Susan are co-janitors.)
•• Also: Tonight brought the inaugural Office Nomads conference-room clothing swap, wherein co-owner Susan and a couple dozen girlfriends met with bottles of wine and piles of clothes, from which Susan escaped with some new ski gear and a hilarious hot-pink shrug.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18 "Dear Last Days," writes Hot Tipper Doug. "I work in an office downtown, and our break room overlooks Sixth and Union. All week long, these big-ass buses have been circling the block, just driving round and round. I looked up the URL posted on the side of the buses and learned they were advertising a travel convention in town. Making things ridiculous: The big sign on the back of each bus claiming polar bears and penguins love their buses because they bought some carbon deferments." ("The use of carbon deferments comes from a good place," says Office Nomads' Susan, who also works as an environmental consultant. "But it can be easily manipulated.")
SATURDAY, JANUARY 19 Nothing happened today, unless you count Susan's Crystal Mountain daytrip with friends visiting from D.C., and Jacob's thorough cleaning of the Office Nomads' attic.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 20 The week ends with a final check-in with Office Nomads, to whom Last Days put a final question: What would you tell people who are curious about coworking? "We'd tell 'em to come check us out," says Jacob. "The people that this space fits with know it in an instant. So just come in and hang out—we offer one free day for new users. You'll know if it's what you want."
Next week: An overdue report on Joseph Skillings. In the meantime, send Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.