Can’t stop. Ever.

Ya know, I amaze even myself at times. I can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on the regular, usually because I can’t leave well enough alone. I had a problem with a website I’ve volunteered to help with. It’s somewhat fun, until…it’s not. I ran into a problem last week that I thought I had caused, because I wanted to make something better than what it was. Noble intention. Disastrous outcome, because the whole freaking thing was brought to its knees, and there it remained for several days.

I was blaming myself for not leaving things alone, and trying to be the big hero who would resolve some of the pesky problems they’ve been having. Just maintaining what was there is all they were asking, but that wasn’t good enough for me – I had to “improve” things. I almost helped them to death. Fortunately, this is a non-profit entity, so there was no financial impact. But still, the stress level rose, and rose, and more.

As is my usual method of operations, I blamed myself and spent a good deal of time cussing myself out for being such a moron. When I talked to the person in charge of the agency, who is a fairly young and cheerful woman, she was entirely nonplussed. Entirely. She literally shrugged and said, well, we (meaning she and I) will see if we can find the guy who was doing it before you volunteered to help out. He will help, and then everything will be fine.

I was stunned, because I had been expecting a declaration of how bad the situation was if the website was down for so long, and how that was a very bad thing. I expected needing to explain myself, and what I had done to cause this, and was already concocting a story that left out some of the more important details because I had already decided it was my idiotic fault and I just needed to do damage control. But I got none of what I had become so accustomed to getting. She was thanking me for trying, and thanking me fore sticking with it for so long.

I tried again to be the guilty party, but she was having none of it. I said, well I shouldn’t have hit the “accept” button when it asked me to update some files. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and that’s when the trouble started. Undeterred, she said, “Well, it’s great that you were willing to take that risk! Nobody would ever have known how that would turn out unless you took the risk, and I think that’s a good thing!” Fortunately for me, we were on the phone, because my mouth hung open and my eyes were big as headlights and I must have looked like a really stupified puffer fish.

I couldn’t think of a word to say, and I was not in my body for a moment. What sponteously came out of my mouth was, “I adore you!” Really smooth, right? I did not immediately cringe, though, because it was really what was on my mind. This woman and I have become friends in the course of working with this little non-profit agency, which is somewhat affiliated with the UU Association. I could tell she didn’t understand why I’d had that response.

I knew immediately what was up, and when I blurted that out it was because I was letting loose the lump in my chest that’s been there since my days of working in the corporate cess pool of metrics and blame and being made to feel worthless because I was not perfect. It was soul numbing, mind numbing, numb numbing. I couldn’t feel much of anything after years of those abusive fuck heads (yes, I said that). But here was someone who trusted me to do the best I could, and who was grateful that I had even tried. I almost couldn’t believe it, and felt somewhat victorious and validated for the hell I had been through in the moronic stagecoach from hell.

We got in touch with the guy who had just retired from this non-profit gig, and had originally set up the website and worked on it for several years. He’s doing what retired people do, travelling and relaxing but he was willing to get on the phone with me and sort this out. He was quasi-apologetic about the problems I’d had, because he had not given me all the access rights I needed to really troubleshoot the problems, but he corrected that. He suggested a couple of things that I could do with my newly upgraded access, and I did those quickly. Presto! Website returned to the state it was in before the big crash.

Now, one would think I’d logout of that site and leave it alone until…whenever there was something more to do there. But no. I had to see if I could make it better. I had to go back and try doing some other things. To give myself a little bit of a break on the guilt, I was so excited with being able to learn new things about that system, and what happens when you change this, and what happens when you add that, and so on. I was in my element, and it felt really good. And then…I went a step too far and *blammo* back to the mat I went again. Site was down. Again. But i knew what to do, and I got it back up in record time, so *whew* all is well.

Then I did it again. Actually, I did it three more times. I’m sure the file server wanted to walk over here and bat me upside the head, with love and affection. I had been putting the whole thing through its paces for going on three solid days, and I’m sure there were error logs all over the place. What really intrigued me was how quickly I became literally obsessed with fixing and improving this thing, I couldn’t stop.

Just a few minutes ago, after I restore the website to its original condition, with pre-existing maladies from long before I touched it, I gave myself a good stern admonition: log off. Log off NOW. No, do not check error messages. No, do not clean up anything. No, do not touch another blessed thing. It’s all back up like it was before the whole thing went belly up the first time, so…Leave. It. ALONE.

So I logged out of everything, and I will not touch it again until we figure out what to do about it. The whole experience gave me a bit of information, though. I really did assume that I was done with IT, that I really didn’t care if I never did technical work again. They said I was incompetent, so I should just find some job that has no technical component and be satisfied with that. Dammit.

After my excitement and fervor at having a technical problem to solve, and educating myself on how to do that, I am no longer sure that I’m done with IT. I am, however, done with corporate IT and probably corporate employment of any kind. They don’t give a damn about people. You get paid for ratting on your co-workers, and even when you don’t realize it, you’re rewarded for showing them up. You’re given extra bread crusts for being a brown noser and grabbing as much of the work as possible. Whether you mean to or not, and sometimes you DO mean it, you are in the business of putting your co-workers out of a job. But as long as you go to church on Sunday and bring canned goods for the food drive, you’re a good person and the apple of management’s eye. Lovely, but you can keep that mess.

So much for the further adventures of a technology dweeb. I completely accept my nerdish side, although it pains me as per usual that I’m not exemplary at doing technical work. I feel very mediocre at it, as I do with most other things I do, so at least I’m consistent. Right now, I don’t really have time, or the interest, to figure that out. I’m too old and too tired of trying to make myself acceptable for other people. That has gotten me nowhere.

I am such a loser. While typing that last paragraph, I was entirely compelled to check that website one more time, just to make sure it had stayed active. It was fine. For giggles, I checked out the pre-existing condition to see if it was still not working, and amazingly it’s fixed! Hallelujah. I can lay down my light sabre and stand down for the evening.

So, now on to bigger issues (although the whole website thing was HUGE for me). It is incredibly hot and humid these days, hotter and way more humid than I recall. It’s been this hot before, I have to admit, but not with the humidity being this high consistently. When it’s this high, it feels like walking through a fine mist of warm water. All the time. I am very glad to have air conditioning in my truck. It’s great that I have no more oil leaking, but truth be told the air conditioning was a bigger issue for me. I do NOT do heat well – never have, never will.

My friend Chris is in town for a few days, and we had lunch today. He and I got pretty close when he was here a couple of years ago. We met in recovery, and hit it off immediately when he disclosed that he had lived in New Orleans for quite a while. It’s his favorite city, but he’s lived in a bunch of different places. He’s from around here, but he’s been on the move since his late teens. Just don’t wanna be tied down to any one place, I suppose. That kind of freaks me out a little, but he’s good at keeping in touch and keeping the friendship going. He’s now planning to move to Hawaii. Okey dokey.

It occurs to me that I am being shown different ways of being in relationship with people. I don’t have to be keeping track of them and in close proximity to them 24 by 7. I can trust that if they are doing their own thing without me, that doesn’t mean they don’t like me any more. Maybe this persistent haze of dysfunction is lifting. I certainly hope so.

The eagle in Alaska is getting pretty close to fledging. It’s HUGE now, and looks like a full grown eagle, except for the white feathers. It’s a bald eagle, and they don’t get the white head and tail fathers until they’re about five years old. The beak is still pretty dark, but will turn completely yellow over the next year or two I believe. It’s so amazing to watch that eagle family doing their thing, totally on instinct. The parents are no longer feeling compelled to hang around the nest all day and night, but they are never far away. If there’s a problem that might endanger the young ‘un, they are right there in a flash.

I’m also still watching the volcano in Iceland, along with some bats in some place I can’t remember, some black storks in Russia, and the most beautiful exotic birds in South Africa at feeders. I am still entirely enthralled with the volcano, because it is still spewing lava at a really healthy rate. The lava still fountains from time to time, but it’s now mostly a boiling overflow on a pretty constant basis. It’s been erupting for close to three months now, every day. I cannot fathom that much molten rock being forced up to the surface from beneath the ground. Earth is a really dynamic planet, and has incredible living things. How people can kill and destroy what is here just for profit is mind boggling.

The dog has been outside, and the time before the last time she got to see her boyfriend. He is always very happy to see her, and she curls up with him, even on the pavement. She was hot, and I was trying to nudge her towards i-n-s-i-d-e but she was having none of it – her man was lovin’ on her and she wasn’t going anywhere. They are such a hoot together, but it’s very endearing. He generally loves her, and whenever I joke with his wife about being ready to throw this little weenie out of the apartment, they both say they would take her in a minute. Bless everybody’s heart. Even my crazy dog’s.

I haven’t hear much about Simone Biles today, so I hope the media is giving her a rest. I did hear one little snippet about her just hanging it up entirely for this Olympic competition. I hope she does, because I cannot imagine the media attentions has made anything better for her. She is a brilliant athlete, and she has already won gold and many international competitions, so she’s got nothing to prove. I still contend that denying her the rightful degree of difficulty scores at the beginning of the Tokyo competition is what shook her, and that’s what started all of the “twisties” or “squirmies” or whatever it’s called when you don’t know where your body is in space. That’s dangerous for somebody flying through the air in their bare feet with barely any clothes on.

I am NOT going to check on this website again. I am NOT going to check on this website again. Leave well enough alone, play stupid computer games, go to sleep early. It’s not that hard.

Sometimes we block our own light, but that doesn’t mean the light isn’t there.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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