Heeyyyy guys. How’s it going? Me, OK.
Monday, and an important one at that: The first day I’ve worn shorts to work since the cold and rain came so many months ago. I know that, here in California, we don’t have Winter that bad at all, but the temperatures still dip enough to make me want jeans… and that’s no small feat, since I generally hate wearing jeans. So, today, with the forecast actually calling for less sun than we had over the glorious weekend, I pulled on a pair of my favorite shortpants (olive green cargo style, probably went out of fashion a year ago, if they were ever in at all). I always feel a little unprofessional the first week or so when I make that Springtime transition from jeans to shorts. I can’t help it, really.
Problem is, my sawmill likes to think of me as some kind of lower-level management (I dunno, they just asked me one day if I wanted to be a manager… and I figured I did, so I did), and, in my mind, shorts just don’t fit the position. It’s an internal struggle, to be sure, so much so that it’s one I’ve had out publicly here before. I just feel like I should probably dress the part more, but my years sweating through humid Florida summers ingrained in me the virtues of shorts and flip-flops. So, I concede the flip-flops and get to feel at least a little more professional. It’s the best I can do, work… the best I can do. Don’t ask me for much more, ’cause I’m ridin’ that line pretty tight right now as it is.
Speaking of work… we’re coming’ up some some travel here soon, first off to Oregon for a quick working daytrip, then across the country to South Carolina for a couple more days work, and finally to Mexico for a weeklong family vacation (psst, the last one is the one I’m most excited about… in case you hadn’t guessed). Then, once back, it’ll be time to make a trip to China and Taiwan again, looking like a two-week run. And, I swear people, I am going to find a way back to Germany for Oktoberfest again this year… I’m bound and determined to make that a yearly pilgrimage. In fact, one of the 2007 alum sent out an e-mail blast today in attempt to rally the troops… and my mouth starting watering for that fresh Bavarian bier as I sat in my cube reading it. I just gotta get back.
Speaking of speaking of work… today around 4:45pm the place went “dark.” Not dark like literally dark, the lights still worked, but what didn’t was the phone and and network. The whole place, thousands of employees who sit in cubicles, each one of them either on a conference-call style meeting on the phone, or working on e-mail off the network. When the lines were cut, we were all blowing in the breeze. People began to stand up at their desks, rubbing bleary eyes as they flinch at the natural light, prairie-dogging over their cube walls to peer around the floor at what others were doing. “Your phone go down?,” you’d hear. “Yeah, yours too?,” would come the reply. “It’s the whole site, the whole thing is down,” someone chimed in. More heads appear, bones creaking as folks rose, muscles unused for hours working off memory and instinct.
Soon, people began to walk the aisles in search of other humans, almost like a renaissance of cognition. We gathered in small clusters, making humming sounds in our throats to comfort each other, banging on hard surfaces to make primitive rhythms, cracking knuckles as we waited for the familiar “pings” of new e-mails to chime in the distance, for the phones to ring. “What do we do?,” some asked? “I can’t be expected to do work with my hands, for God’s sake,” others lamented… peering at the skin on their baby-smooth fingers, hilariously useless for anything save typing. We called other sites on cellphones, Oregon first: “You guys have phone and internet up there? Oh… you do? OK… Well, we’re totally down here. Yeah. Dead. We have nothing.” Some called across the state, others called their families, still some their therapists.
And, thus began the exodus. I waited for nearly a minute in the right-turn lane to leave the parking lot, everyone filing past in their automobiles, looks of confusion and muted happiness on their faces as they drove – their faces gratefully buried into cellphones, once again suckling from the comfortable teat of technology. Having never worked a day in my life without e-mail or internet, it’s hard for me to imagine how it happened back in the day. People must’ve written with pens and pencils, talked in person in around tables in meeting rooms, licked stamps, read memos – something. Today, you cut the wire and it’s like you kicked the anthill of the modern worker. Panic, scatter, a complete halt.
Was a good day, I enjoyed the collapse of technology. Goodnight.