Went to bed pondering some solo-spinster issues and fell into sleep as thick and warm as the pile of quilt and blankets I'm under now Winter has arriven. Peaceful dark inside my head an' quiet. Suddenly it's Oh-Cold-Fifteen and somethin' Not Usual is shrillin'! Not the clock, not the alarum, not my phone's built-in wake-up call....
I lever my eyes open and both cats are givin' me accusing looks, looks that ask, "Why do you make such annoying sounds?"
With dawning consciousness, realization hits. Ohfsckthepagerwhat'sgonewrongattheSkunkWorksnow?
"'Tisn't me, cats," I mutter, pushing back the covers, fumbling after my glasses and reaching for my purse. It takes two tries but I get the message to pop up:
RX CALL OPS. LOST CONTROL SAT DISHES NORTH CAMPUS.
Ratters. But that's an IS issue; the big satellite system at the (unstaffed) North Campus is run over DSL and has been ever since the old software died and vendor just snickered when we went for an update. (As if RS-232, 1200-Baud 4-wire control schemes were, I dunno, obsolete or somethin'!) So I call in and tell 'em, "Call IS, I can't fix this. They need to light a fire under Phone Company."
"The IS czar* is off all this week."
"Then call one of his minions. It's just a loss of connectivity, right?"
"Seems to be. We've got stuff incoming in an hour...!" (A note of irritation creeps into his voice. It mirrors my own so I can't complain).
I do repeat myself: "Call IS, we need to keep the pressure on Phone Company and they're our point of contact." (By explicit directive from the top, which I don't need to remind Ops about).
"Okay, but we have that feed..."
"I'll go up there, see what I can do. I can switch things over but you probably still won't have control."
Forty-five minutes later, I'm up at the North Campus pushing buttons and working on my Anglo-Saxon vocabulary, after a very odd drive (windshield-wiper-smeared gunk on the windshield and my astigmatism resulted in what looks like a single spear of light from every point source to the bottom center of my windshield, probably all thanks to a previous owner's failed RainX experiment that I have yet to completely remove. But for a few minutes there, I was feelin' very sympathetic to victims of schizophrenia). Once we were all set, just for fun I went to IS's little cubby and power-cycled the DSL modem.
Came right back up.
Worked fine when I checked with Ops.
Why is it my nickle-dime DSL connection at home is solid as a lump of Roman concrete, and the high-zoot pro version crashes and flickers and fails like cheap match on a windy patio? I sure do miss that ol' steam-driven 1200 Baud system!
Just to add to the fun, I was a half-hour too early to pick up breakfast pastry at the bakery on the way home, too. Oh, well, maybe another day.
* Not his real title -- he's a Satrap or Panjandrum or something, one of the keen-o titles they hand out in suit'n'tie land.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
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