I’m Sorry, We’re Having Technical Difficulties, Please Try Again Later

It was a difficult day. After the fourth time of rebooting the computer, and getting error messages (multiple, not singular) I called our help support guy. Bob, a mild mannered middle aged man. Bob and I work on the same floor. We often head down to the cafeteria at the same time and engage in idle small talk. At one point he told me he makes his daughters’ lunches and that’s always stuck in my mind. Each time I see him I imagine him making sandwiches each morning before sending his teenage daughters off to school.

The first time I called him the message was fairly straight forward. “Hi, Bob, it’s Lori. The development computer is acting up. It freezes up and I get random error messages. Do you think you could take a look at it?”

He came down within minutes. Very calmly, very gently, he disassembled the computer, wiggled a few things, pushed a few buttons, then asked me to log on. I did, and everything worked like magic. Except. Except the networks were slow. I’d try to open a document and I’d get the familiar Windows hourglass. Wait, wait, wait. Only for a few seconds, which seemed like an eternity.

The brilliant idea of working locally occurred to me. I saved the file I was working on off of the shared drive onto the desktop. I worked, and worked. And worked. For over three hours. Whatever Bob had wiggled had worked. My computer was processing at unprecedented speeds.

Until. Until the blue screen of death. I typed in a command. Looked at my screen. And all I saw was blue. Not the relaxing blue of the ocean. Not the calming blue of a cloudless sky. The harsh, manufactured blue screen of death. Even control + alt + delete couldn’t save me.

The second call to Bob wasn’t as calm as the first.

“Bob, this is your favorite Friday technical difficulty calling. I, I, I, it just, disappeared. All my work. And I saved. I really did. But only locally. And locally doesn’t exist anymore. Please, can you help me???? Please….”

He called within minutes. We examined the computer. He wiggled again. He jiggled. I found my file, and tried to save, but it was corrupted. Error, error, error. “Lori, I hate to tell you this, but the motherboard is fried. It just ain’t working.”

I slouched back to my cube, numbly. It was almost 3:00 pm. All that work. My zen mode kicked in. Don’t worry about what you can’t change, focus on what you can.

At my desk, on my own computer, I recreated what I could. I left the technical contractor who was helping me in the development lab, on the computer that still worked. I kept repeating to myself in a monotone mantra, “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s real-ly okay.”

At the end of the day I went to a co-worker’s cube, searching for food. She’s pregnant, so she always has food secretly squirreled away. She watched me approach cautiously. “Uhm. It sounded like there were some problems earlier today. Everything okay?”

“It’s okay. It really is. The computer blew up on me twice, but it’s okay. I’ve almost finished recreating what I started this morning. It’s okay. It’s okay.”

She eyed me suspiciously before handing me the Girl Scouts Do-Si-Dos. “You know, I hear you repeating that and it scares me. I feel like any moment you’re going to burst out with an automatic weapon and gun down the entire floor. It’s like the calm before the storm…”

Another co-worker walked by. “Nothing that a rooftop and an AK-47 can’t handle…”

It’s okay. It really is.

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