My server – the wizard behind the curtain of this corner of the Internet, what I anticipate to look like very much like an industrial Rube Goldberg machine with switchboards and buttons that glow and dim, I don’t know, I’m likely wrong here – has been down for three days. Last week, it was up and running, and this week, like a stressed out mother raising her hands in the air, it simply retreated to the bedroom where it fell ill for the better part of the weekend. It has been oddly spiritual, the silence.
It was not oddly spiritual at first. It was frustrating, and I felt powerless, and I relegated myself to heavy sighs and hitting reboot, reboot, reboot until the support ticket team simply asked that I allow them to take over, and please, ma’am, can you stop hitting reboot?
Please ma’am, can you stop hitting reboot was the spiritual part. The rest was a smattering of salt and vinegar chip snack breaks and coming to terms with my own impatience, and buckets of fretting when I realized that a decade of my words had simply vanished on the back-end. (They’re back now, in full, I hear, although a small part of me believes that some words from my 20’s were meant to disappear forever, so perhaps this is a veiled blessing?)
Still, it was a lot of waiting, and more time on the computer than I’d like, and a lot of messages – Your site is down! – and please ma’am, can you stop hitting reboot?
And so, I waited without answers and I distracted my brain and I extended deadlines and I said, quietly, under my breath, my two favorite phrases in heavy rotation this year: “It is what it is,” and “God, can you make me kinder?”
It’s just odd, how little we have control over, and how much we have control over, and how the much often defines the little when we allow it.
I do not know how to fix a server outage other than hitting reboot-reboot-reboot, a last ditch effort, a flair signal. But I do know how to be kind, and patient, and I do know that I can fight through the surprises of my daily life with clenched fists or open hands, one ready to fight – another to forgive.
I do know that last week, when the post office had lost a package and I drove to three separate locations to retrieve it, I wasted an hour on the road and twenty minutes feeling angry.
Twenty minutes is a long time to feel angry over a missing cardboard box.
Three days is a long time to feel angry over a downed server.
I read somewhere that the secret to life – as if we are not life itself, as if we are all missing out on some cosmic secret that the popular girls at lunch are hiding from us, as if we do not have the very essence of life in our own beating hearts – is not what you know, but what you surrender.
Please ma’am, can you stop hitting reboot?
It just seems to me that we’re all working so hard, and we’re all striving to be better than great, to be better than good, and we’re all miserably failing, or crippled with anxiety, and so we retreat to the bedroom where we fall ill for the better part of the weekend, down server style.
And we clench our fists and brace ourselves – reboot, reboot, reboot – and we power through and we fret into buckets and we waste twenty minutes, three days, a lifetime feeling angry.
This morning, when the site came back, we’d found the collective source: a hacker, and a memory shortage, and would I like an upgrade, would I like to move up to a different tier?
It seems to me an upgrade from above is a nice trade-off for a lifetime of reboots from below. Yes, I said, then. Yes, and thank you.