Silver Linings, Y’all

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.

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  • That sounds horrible and I’m glad your brain decided to help out with sensible observations. I love your Mum’s message. Take care of yourself, love and hugs

  • Sounds so scary, between the tech problems and that screaming woman! I’d go crazy, especially worried about relatives and friends. Thank God all was okay and a great call from Mom to boot.

  • Maybe the purpose is just to frighten us. Even if that were true it is still horrid. Even if it’s totally fake, it’s still horrid. I never fully understood the phrase “there’s some things you just can’t un-see” Until the day I observed something I have never been able to forget. I was 14. I’ve always known there are things you can’t un-hear. I hope the bad tv and bourbon did the trick. I lost my cat last Wednesday. I’m catless now and intend to stay that way. We lost both of our cats within a month of each other. 2020 has just sucked in total really. High hopes for November and next year. Been having nightmares about handmade tales. 🙁

  • I guess it’s is a stupid question, but did you ever remember to call your boss back? After that screaming woman, it would have gone completely out of my head. But you can still use that as an explanation for not immediately calling back.

    Is this the new ‘phony phone calls’ we used to pull when we were 8 years old? “Is your toilet running? Go catch it!” But this is beyond awful. If it is kids, it sounds like they aren’t growing up exactly normal. And I just read the blog “Waking Up On The Wrong Side of 50” where she talks about the song WAP – and I’m worried about where our youth is heading and what they find acceptable entertainment.

    And I thought Trump was the worst thing I had to worry about.

    Your Mom’s the best.

  • Shit is just sneaking right the fuck up on us this week. While doing my twice daily check on the state of the Creek fire, that 305,000 acre thingie burning the shit out of everything four ridges to the east of here, I happened upon a notice for something they are calling the “August Complex” fire that they said was burning in Trinity County…
    Wait just a fucking minute… Trinity County? Since when was Trinity County on fire?
    A quick scan of the InciWeb map of it and “Briana, I think you need to look at this for a minute.”
    Sure as shit, her family’s property is inside the perimeter of the fire.
    There is no real way to find out whether the house or the barn burned down, and really, as good as those fire maps are, what they really show is the perimeter of the fire, not what happened inside that perimeter. For instance, Zsuzs’ mom had to evacuate from the Creek fire and her house is right smack dab in the middle of the fire zone, but the evacuation orders were lifted last week, and she is now back in her very much still standing house and happy as hell about it.
    Briana only freaked out a little, and I tried to keep her calm by pointing out that there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it, or really, could have done about it, given the fact that her asshole cousin is the one responsible for the property and has been so for years now.
    She said that it helped. A little. I mean, what the fuck?
    And Bekka is going through it with her evil step mom… This whole business is beginning to sound like some twisted fairy tale, and there better not be any fucking dwarves or poison fruit involved or I may finally lose my shit…
    But, then what?
    Everything would still be exactly the same, only with me in the middle of it throwing some ill-advised fit or other, so no, I think I would just take the dwarves and poison fruit in the same stride as the rest of 2020.
    I haven’t been getting as many scam calls as I was last year. “Your social security number has been flagged for illegal activity and you must reply to this or you may be arrested.”

    There is a whole genre of Youtube videos of people deleting the files of scammers’ computers while they try to steal from them, and this was the only one I could find that wasn’t a half hour long. They can be strangely satisfying if you have ever dealt with any of these scammers, if somewhat mean:

    I hope your work issues get resolved and that you and your people are doing at least as well as can be expected in the middle of the goddamn apocalypse. I will sign this with my old screen name as sometimes they don’t let me post links with my new one, but I am indeed still up here in Sugar Pine and not down in Oakland.

  • I’m so glad there was a silver lining to that shit cloud of a day. Specifically I mean the bourbon, although your mother’s message was lovely and I’m happy that it made you feel better.
    I have a weird message from about two years ago I’ve saved on my phone. According to the caller ID it’s from Ghana and it’s a woman talking very fast. According to Wikipedia there are eighty languages spoken in Ghana and whatever she’s speaking it’s one I don’t recognize. She doesn’t sound upset, maybe a little concerned, like she’s asking one of her kids to call her. I can’t explain it but that makes me weirdly happy.

By Michelle

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