"Wow, you have an awful lot of free time. Maybe I should do what you do," he said to me.
I suppose my neighbors and acquaintances can be forgiven for thinking this. I do often have a whole week off of more. Last year I was idle for six consecutive weeks. They notice me when I'm not on a gig because I'm pretty conspicuous, home all the time, up at late hours, wandering the neighborhood aimlessly and wasting several hours a day at the nearby coffee house.
What is apparently not obvious is my absence when I'm working, waking before dawn and returning home late into the night, sleeping only a few hours at a time or spending weeks on the road.
I did the math and I worked around 2300 hours last year, about fifteen percent more hours than the average American professional. My work days start in the twelve hour range and go up from there. I once worked a twenty-six hour day. On non-union shows we work six days a week.
It's not that I have a lot of time off. Rather it's that my work hours are uniquely distributed. My friends and neighbors notice that I'm often relaxing when they come home from work but they don't notice that I'll work with barely so much as a coffee break for weeks at a time.
I like my way better. I did a desk job once and it made me into a bad person.