Alternate Title 2: How Technology Ruined Both My Day and My Appetite
Alternate Title 3: Rage Against the Machine
Warning - The following post contains a rant. The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author during the specific time period of 2:00 PM to 3:27 PM Pacific Standard Time and are subject to change at any given moment. By continuing to read the post that follows, the reader hereby agrees to hold the author harmless against any damages, perceived or actual, be they physical, mental or otherwise. The author also hereby acknowledges that the actual post that follows this warning statement is likely to be far less entertaining or interesting than the information preceding said post. Reader acknowledges that she/he has chosen to continue reading at his/her own discretion.
I am so frustrated right now, I can't even describe it, but I'll try. I have been working on this project at work for over a month now, with no set deadlines. It involves a long and complicated series of Excel Spreadsheets in which I have to create mathematical formulas that make sense. That's the overly simplified version of my task, but any of you that know me know that math is not my strongest subject. On the upside, I'm getting pretty good at Excel. On the downside, I am probably going to be totally blind by 40 if I don't learn to look away from the screen to rest my eyes.
That's not the frustrating part. This morning I received an email that hardened up my deadline to the end of business on 1/28. I'm not sure the sender realized that the 28th is Saturday, but I was trying to complete this spreadsheet portion of the project this week anyway, and if I need to work through Saturday from home to complete it, I'm not going to complain about the extra 24 hour window (don't tell my bosses that, though).
That's not the frustrating part, either. The frustrating part is that what happened next to completely ruin my day is almost certainly my own fault. I was making great strides on the project this morning, nesting logical tests in my formulas, tightening up the math to really align with the original methodology...I know, blah, blah, blah technical speak, blah. Whatever - I was making excellent progress on one of the difficult sections that I had hitherto tried to ignore until necessary. I was determined to finish up that section before emerging from my cozy little office cave (only cozy because the closed door keeps the warmth inside) to heat up my lunch. Oh, I was so close!! Almost 2pm, getting hungry, with the end in sight! Yes, I do normally wait that long before eating lunch - my work schedule is not the norm.
All was right as rain when I needed to correct a character in one of the long and complicated formula calculations. I think the computer froze for a second (taunting me, no doubt), and I reached for the back button. I thought I hit it, but an error message popped up on my screen. I closed the annoying grey window (duh, I was trying to fix that error), reach for the back button...hit something...
BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH
Okay, there was some rapid window closings before the blue screen hit, with the "Windows is shutting down," message thrown in my face, but still, the effect was the same.
Total despair. I stare at my keyboard in shock and dismay. I feel sick. What is that? Did I hit something by mistake? Did I save? Wait...what? Who? WHY!? WHY is the Power key so close to the Back Space key!?? Is this some computer designer giving the finger to every user out there because they think they're better than us? (Hmm...probably not, but I'm not ruling it out.) Honestly, I don't know if I hit that Power key or not, since it's quite a reach for my little pinky finger, which makes me wonder. WTH happened if it wasn't me?
So, the power down may have been my doing, albeit accidental, though I have experienced this type of random shutdown in the past that I know wasn't self-inflicted. I'm willing to accept possible user error for this...but I don't have to like it. But that's not even what I'm the most irritated by. Apparently, in my excel-induced hypnosis, I had neglected to save at each stage of my work this morning. Knowing the company systems here, I usually save every time something is done right. Apparently not today. I know IT can't do anything for me, because they could only retrieve the data from the last save, which is what I already have.
And if it wasn't the Power key, then there is something seriously wrong with this computer. I really do think this is the case, too. It does weird things. I've had my cursor jump to different sections of the page I've been on, without me tabbing or using the mouse. (No touch pad on my desktop, either, so it wasn't a hovering issue.) My boss's computer is even worse. I've told her I think her office is haunted, mostly joking (ghost in the machine, right?). Maybe it's been taken over by the Judoon and there's an alien in the building (I have some guesses as to who that might be).
Regardless, I thought technology was supposed to make our lives easier! That is not the case today. If I'd been doing this project manually, this never would have happened! (Of course, if I'd been doing this project manually, there are a whole host of other problems that I'd be ranting about, but I digress...) I was also irrationally angry at the computer. Well, maybe it was rational. I really wanted to physically harm this inanimate object - yes, just like in Office Space. I was having visions of tossing it out the window, but since they don't actually open in this building, and are most likely plexiglass, it only would have bounced back to hurt me. (I know this computer is intent on causing me harm.)
After confirming that none of my work was saved, I was seriously close to tears. This was probably not helped by the fact that I hadn't yet eaten. Close to tears and tensed as if for attack. I had the old lady pursed up lips and everything. I had to pop over here to get it out before someone at work tried to speak to me. That wouldn't have been pretty.
So now I have to attempt to remember and recreate all of my earlier brilliance from the day, which is most likely lost forever. I'm in a mood, and even though it could have been my fault, I still blame the computer and the poor design of the keyboard (in case that Power key was really depressed). I mean, really. Put the freakin' Power key as far away from the keys most commonly used as possible. Like way over above the number pad or something. Does anyone really even use that key to shut down the machine? I never have.
Phew, that felt rather good. I have an appetite again. I am still not happy, but I'm resigned (no - that doesn't mean I quit my job. I may be feeling rather stupid at the moment, but not that stupid). I'm still irrationally angry at the computer and resenting the fact that I have to do everything again and wasted an entire half of my work day on unsaved work. And judging by how this day is going, I will probably end up having to appear for jury duty tomorrow, ensuring that there is no way I can complete my project by my deadline. (This is a distinct possibility, as I do have a jury summons for tomorrow.)
*As a further example of how technology is apparently out to get me, after I previewed this blog post, the formatting changed completely without me entering any commands. Technology looks out for itself...