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Critical Cubical Crisis

4:30AM — “Comin’ to you, on a dust road. Good lovin’, I got a truck load.” sang my phone — “I’m a Soul Man” replied my semi-conscious mind. “Oh crap. Hit phone before sleeping wife hits you.” My mind realized, as consciousness burned through my sleepy haze, like the sun would soon do to the morning fog outside. I rolled over quickly, and fumbled blindly for my phone. My dopey fingers, drunkenly fondled the little rectangle, in search of the buttons. Finally, with the help of my squinting eyes, I disabled Soul Man. “Mmmm, good song.” I thought as I sat up and tried to focus through the twelve shades of black.

Music, coffee and the recognition that it was Friday fueled my trip to the office. Once there, I sat in my cubical for a moment, somewhat pacified by the fact that tomorrow was Saturday, but uninspired about the prosaic day that lay ahead. I bent over, hit the power button on my computer, stood up and hunted for my coffee mug. As I inspected the sludge at the bottom of my mug, the PC sang me a little jingle, to let me know it was ready for me to log in. I offered it my credentials and then headed to for some coffee.

“Right, yesterday’s ‘issue’.” I remembered on my way back to my cube. There were several emails yesterday, regarding an problem…a vulnerability that could exist on our systems. Although I work in IT, my job was not to patch or maintain the systems, but ensure they were secure.

Holding my mug close to my chest with one hand, I breathed in the intoxicating aroma, as I guided the mouse with my other. I sifted through the new messages, and sipped the warm black elixir. It looked like the issue was more prevalent than it seemed yesterday. There was an emergency coordination meeting called to address the problem. I spent the next few hours dealing with ongoing work and prepping for the meeting. I then dug through some sediment on my desk, grabbed a notepad, double-checked the meeting location, and headed off.

With the usual cast of characters assembled, we began. I sat back and watched, almost as if watching a TV drama. Several people on teleconference reported on their findings and progress, as those around the table took notes and asked questions. The seriousness exhibited by most in the meeting was almost spellbinding, but lightened by the guy next to me. A french Canadian that never took anything seriously. He nudged my arm, showed me a note, and laughed. Although he was amusing it was hard to take him seriously. How can you take anyone seriously, if they’re never serious. The control freak, who was trying to dictate the direction of the meeting –as he always does, shot the clown a look –as he always does. It was predictable, but entertaining, as it always is.

I watched the meeting drone on, wondering, “Are they really this excited by the danger that loomed, compelled by the urgency of the situation?” It didn’t seem so. To me, it was so grey, like I was sitting in a smoke filled room, as they almost pried acceptance from one another. They were grasping for rationale to avoid, rather than confront the situation. I considered whether it was more messed up that they tried to micromanage every aspect with such seriousness and scrutiny …or that I was detached, and more intrigued by their interactions.” Ha, I don’t know, but when I was asked for my input, I blurted the only thing that made sense …from a security perspective. “We don’t have enough information. If you weren’t able to fix the problem, unplug it. Unplug everything you’re not sure of, until we have more information.”

Such a decisive statement seemed to put them on their heels. Once they were continue operations, the thought of making a full stop to correct the issue before continuing, seemed jarring to them. There was some back-peddling before they established a new plan to acquire ‘more’ information. A happy medium was struck, to unplug computers that they could not vet, by end of day. The meeting dispersed.

Was it wrong for me to be more interested in wrapping up, taking the top down on the Jeep, driving home with he sun and the wind on my face? Is there something wrong with me that I want to get home and write about the guy next to me? The guy who sets his pen and notebook so square, who sat with perfect posture, and maintained eye contact with the teleconference screen the whole time. Am I odd to be so interested in the features of his face and the expression that he held –and continue to hold the whole time? The power struggle that waged on, like a tug-of-war, between the meeting organizer and the control freak, should not have interested me more than the topic itself, right?

Heh, I don’t know, but I am so happy to be out of my cube, back home –have walked my dog, relaxed with my family, and now sit here with you, sipping a bourbon.



#shortstory #work #Life #Friday #cubicle #adventure #Thoughts #Writing

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