I had such a fucked up day last week.
I wasn’t expecting a bad day, it just happened.
When I crawled out of bed and signed on to my work computer, I had my day pretty mapped out in my head.
Then, horrible things transpired and it went to shit.
I’m the only computer programmer for the main server at work and I know a teeny bit of system stuff, but not enough to handle big problems. Even so, a number of times a day, I check system messages, just to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Well, the system wasn’t running smoothly. It was throwing all kinds of errors filled with horror and gloom.
I went through the 5 stages of IT catastrophe anxiety:
- No. No no no no no
- You know what? It will be fine
- Oh shit, that doesn’t look good
- It will be fine. As long as my throat doesn’t completely close shut
- I should really brush up my resume
By the time I noticed the issue, it was lunch time.
My boss and the network dude were out to lunch.
I gave them both a quick call and then called tech support to put in a service request.
Then, I returned to obsessively checking messages I could do nothing about while trying not to cry.
And wondering when I would reach a level of emotional maturity where work anxiety didn’t kick my ass all over the place.
My boss called me when he got back from lunch, and I was about 20 seconds into the explanation when another call beeped in. I told my boss it was probably tech support and I would call him back. I didn’t check the number or anything on my phone.
I just accepted the call.
Then, shit got weird.
What I heard was the sound of a woman being tortured or murdered.
She was screaming in pain and fear. It was horrible. Like “turn your organs into jelly” horrible.
My brain came up with so many possibilities in the time it took me to pull the phone from my ear so I could see who was calling.
Not my stepdaughters or daughter in law. Not my sisters. Please please please. Not my niece. Not my friends. Just none of them. Please.
The number originated from Sri Lanka.
I hung up.
My brain, who usually tortures me, made two quick observations.
First, that it was a scam of some sort. Secondly, even if it weren’t a scam, I am no where near Sri Lanka and could be of no help.
I had to pace around for a few minutes and try to get a grip on reality, because everything felt a bit swimmy. I couldn’t stop hearing the sound of those screams.
I did a quick internet search and found that this is indeed a thing. It doesn’t appear that anyone’s been extorted, and mostly the reports I read were from Canada. They all described the same thing. It sounded like a woman being brutally murdered. I have no idea what the point is.
It was the fucking timing, you guys.
My anxiety was already through the roof.
The network guy took over the server problem with the dispatched technician. They fixed everything. By mid evening, everything was fine.
I did all I could to decompress. I took a long shower. I watched bad TV. I drank some bourbon.
I noticed I had a missed call from my mother. I almost never listen to my mom’s messages. I just call her back and ask what she said. She gives me shit about me not listening to her messages and I give her shit about the absurd length of her messages. But I didn’t then. I didn’t feel like talking, so I listened to her message instead.
She said “I just read that people who give water, get water…and I see you, Shell, in a clear, beautiful waterfall.”
Silver linings, y’all.
I don’t know that I deserve all the admiration my mother gives me, but that phone message was what I needed. Sure, it made me cry a little bit, but I kind of needed a good cry.
And then I slept.
Photo by Jorge Jesus from Pexels.