Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Horrible Reliance on Technology...

I promise not to complain about my job today. Nor will I complain about the office building. I tend to get on a subject and stay there for a while so I'm going to make myself move away onto something else.

Technology, for example.
Once upon a time, there was a society of people who used to have to visit one another in order to have a conversation. They could write letters but there was no Fed Ex, no Next Day Air, there was only the old fashioned method of someone delivering a letter as soon as they could. Then, came telephones. Then, I'm pretty sure came telegrams although they might have come before telephones. I'm not sure.

Telegrams were a way of getting a message quickly to someone by having an office write it out and then deliver the message that came over 'the wire.'

For many years, society lived with only one phone in their house and only telegrams and mail post to get messages to one another. If they wanted to speak to their wife, child, aunt, uncle, friend, they had to make sure that the recipent either had access to a little old telephone or they had to get off their behinds and find them.

Then came...cell phones and the internet and many, many ways of finding instant gratification when you needed to talk to someone, get them a message or send them a package.

Thus, I give you....our spoiled little generations who can no longer function without the use of technology because we've forgotten how to do so.

I am including myself in this group because today I experienced a prime example of how useless we are without technology.

It all started when I dropped my phone in the toilet. Fortunately, I hadn't gone to the bathroom yet. Fortunately, there was no one at work in the bathroom besides me so no one could see what I was doing through the backwards-doors-that-you-shouldn't-really-be-able-to-see-into-but-you-can-anyway. I retrieved it quickly, took out the battery and did my best to pat it down with soap without making it any wetter. I also scrubbed my hands. A lot.

Needless to say, my phone ceased working. The screen began to fog. Since this exact same thing happened a few weeks ago, I knew that all I needed was a spaceheater to help dry it out.

And yes, I am freely admitting that this is, in fact, the second time this phone has literally been in the toilet. Both times were clean toilets, thankfully. Both times were a result of me thinking it was secure in my jeans' pocket and was horribly mistaken just a little too late. Both times, I felt like a complete and utter idiot.

Also, this is the second phone I dropped down a toilet. My other one was at an airport. Never do that. Just a word of advice.

Anyway, so, I spent the whole afternoon being just a little obsessed with the fact that my phone was not working. I tried to dry it. I kept putting the battery in to see if it was all better. Naturally, it was not. My biggest worry is that I have no landline at home so my cell phone is my only method of contacting the outside world. Well, except for my office phone and the computer. I intended to post on Facebook that my phone was out so if anyone needed, don't call.

Of course, that was when our office network died. When I say died, I mean that the phones went out and our computers couldn't connect to the internet at all.

Now, to most companies, this would be a large inconvenience but there would be ways around it. For us, it was paralyzing. Everything we do is on a network or connected to via an internet connection. Our software needs databases that are off-site to which we network. The documentation I was working on is web-based and so without a working internet connection, I couldn't do anything with it. 100% of my current workload is internet/network based.

I was not the only one. In fact, almost every single person in our company couldn't work. We spent about an hour and a half waiting hopefully for something to get fixed. We socialized which was rather fun, actually. We all kept attempting to connect. There was nothing. We couldn't call out, we couldn't call in.

Normally, I'd be able to update Facebook or read email on my phone but when it takes a dive into the toilet, it sort of puts a damper on that idea. (pun intended).

Thus, I had a perfectly nice, wholly unproductive last hour and a half of work. I won't lie and say it wasn't fun because it was. I got to talk TV, mock the weathermen and discuss tea with my coworkers. We probably could have gone to the exercise room and fought over the fancy elliptical machine or treadmill but I think we were all afraid the network would go back up and we'd be caught slacking.

I think we're all just slightly paranoid at the moment.

Thus it was, I finally left only ten minutes earlier than usual. Because I'm a technology junkie and also because I was afraid I'd really murdered my phone this time, I decided to take a precaution so I bought a pre-paid phone from Target.

I know. I probably could have waited. Yet there was this crushing sense of feeling completely cut-off from the world without having my phone. I knew I had missed a call or two. I had text messages I couldn't read. Naturally, I began to fear for the worst.

It turns out that I hadn't missed much because now my phone is slowly coming back to life. It's drying out in front of my spaceheater and allowing me to make calls. Now I can put the prepaid phone away but keep it for emergencies. For example...if I drop my phone into the toilet again.

Which I hope I don't.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping we're back up and running at work. If not, we'll find ways to amuse ourselves. I think the bosses got their cable TV hooked up on their very large flat screen TV's that they have in their offices. I won't make a comment on that but I'm sure you can imagine how that makes us lowly employees feel. Maybe we'll all flood into their offices so we can amuse ourselves while we're waiting to be able to work again.

Technology. There's no escape.

Happy Thursday.

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