#476: ONE WRONG LOOK, AND THE MONITOR GETS IT
I have a rule about talking about work: I don't.
I mean, I used to talk about work, and that was stupid. I recognize that now.
Today, though, I have to break that rule, because something beautiful happened. The skies opened up, rays of pure sunlight filtered down through the dropped ceiling tiles, and sense was made of my reality in that moment. At least, that's how I felt at three o'clock this afternoon.
Devoid of context, which is the reality of eight hours in a cubicle, small things can take on religious proportions. Heck, I once received a used office chair from a leaving co-worker that had adjustable arms, and I thought I could taste the ass of upper management.
My computer monitor has been acting strangely. The image of my desktop on the screen took on the shape of a 1950s television. It was bubble-like, and it had shrunk to about seventy-five percent of the monitor's screen. I turned to toss a piece of paper into my recycling bin, and when I looked back, the image of my desktop was doubling up on itself, like a sweaty old bandaid on my knuckle.
I called for help. It could take a while, they said. I called for a short-term replacement. We have to check the inventory, they said.
I seriously felt deflated. It's funny what will deflate you in the middle of a Thursday afternoon when your only alternative is a computer that is not hooked up to any useable printer and rejects your efforts to sign in to the resident e-mail system. I made several laps back and forth to and from the sad alternative to check in on my dying monitor before I accepted that I was going to have to suck it up and give up my connection to the corporate beast.
In my heart, though, I knew, I KNEW, that all was not lost, because I still have faith that all is not for naught when it comes to me and electrically driven technology. I may have been witness to several dead computers, two toasters and three hair dryers on fire, a furnace with a persnickety pilot light, and two car accidents. I may have had the plastic bodies of two curling irons literally fall off their electric innards in my hands in the 1980s. I may have once owned a stereo that would only work if threatened with knives. I may have had to spend part of the early 1990s having other people start the dryer because it spewed blue sparks and smoke only for me. I may even have experienced several mild electrocutions, one which suspended me off the side of a camper when I was eight, but I still have faith that I can interact effectively with technology that plugs into an electrical socket. I have little reason to, but I do.
If that is faith, I have it.
At about three o'clock, I made my last trek to my cubicle to check on my monitor. I had received no word about a new one being forthcoming, and I was losing hope as far as completing my week's work was concerned, but as I made my way down the hallway on that last hopeful trip, I heard THWACK! And then I heard BAP! and THWOCK!
When I rounded the corner into my cubicle, there stood my favourite computer tech guy, two feet braced firmly on the berber carpet and beating my monitor with both his fists. He hit first one side! And then the other! He gave it a good slam to the top! Magically, the image of my desktop jiggled into shape, filling the whole screen as it once had, as it should.
I thanked him for his brilliant work and shook his hand. There is one thing I need to know, I said.
What is that? he asked.
Do I have your permission to beat this thing, too?
Yes, he said solemnly. Yes, you do.
Between now and Monday morning, I get to boss around this hulking, backward computer monitor with my fists, and I've been assured that the likelihood of my electrocution is extremely slim. This box doesn't know what it's up against.