The Network Guy- Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Thanks to Dan Antion over at No Facilities I have been lured into a new to me blog challenge this weekend- Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS which is kindly hosted by Linda G Hill. Please head over there to get the full rules for the challenges, but here are the details for this week’s prompt. I must say I really enjoyed it. It’s been a good 20-30 years since I’ve done a strict stream of consciousness piece and was quite pleased with the results, which have more than a grain of truth.

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is starts with ‘u.’ Find a word that starts with the letter ‘u’ and use it however you’d like. Bonus points if it’s the first word in your post. Enjoy!”

“Ultimately, it’s not your responsibility. You can walk away. It’s only a job. There are plenty of others,” Kate told her husband who was the sole network engineer at Parliament House since covid and the staff cutbacks. The Australian people had no idea that Australia’s political and economical stability all rested on Mike’s aching shoulders. That he was the very one person holding this country together like a wretched safety pin. Sure, he was reliable, but he wasn’t infallible.

“What if I get covid? What happens then?” he asked.

“They’ll replace you. Everyone’s replaceable. You know that.” She said, telling him what he wanted to hear, and what the CIO* wanted to believe. However, Mike knew that wasn’t true. No one else cared about the network or understood its intricate inner workings like he did, and nobody fought to maintain its integrity and reliability either. Management should’ve been called “mismanagement”. They didn’t care about people, and they had no mechanical empathy either.

“Why don’t you just walk away before it’s too late, Mike? Your blood pressure’s skyrocketing. You’ve got pre-diabetes and I don’t mean to sound judgmental but you’ve really stacked on the kilos. We could sell up. Move to the country without a mortgage and be free from it all.”

Mike loved his wife, but just for this instance she was sounding like the devil. That wretched serpent luring, enticing him into sin: “You don’t have to go to work tomorrow,” he could hear this enticing voice luring him away. “Walk away. Leave them to deal with the consequences. If the entire country falls into a screaming heap, it’s not your fault. You’re just a cog in the machine. You could actually be lying in a deck chair by the pool sipping piña coladas without a care in the world.”

It all sounded way to good to be true, but he knew it was possible. The house was paid off. They had money in the bank. They could be free. Yet, Mike couldn’t be the one. He couldn’t be the one who brought Australia to its knees – even if it wasn’t his fault he was the only man left standing.

“You know, Mike, it would be really nice if you could just forget about work even for one night and give me your 100% undivided attention. I know that data centre isn’t another woman, but I can’t help feeling you understand it better than me and care more about keep it happy than me.”

“Crikey!” That’s what Mike dreaded more than a total network outage right across Parliament House where all that vitriol usually reserved for their political opponents suddenly hurled itself at him. At least,he knew he stood a chance of fixing that. His wife was a different story and while he wasn’t just capable of understanding machines, he didn’t do well when the going got tough. Got stuck on the finer points of interpersonal communication. That’s when he usually resorted to flowers or chocolates. He didn’t know how they did the trick, but they worked. That’s all that mattered.

Right on cue, his mobile rang. It was work. Almost in synch with his wife, the server was down. Couldn’t be dealt with remotely. He had to go in.”

Kate didn’t even need to ask. She knew where she came in the pecking order, and she knew he’d be back with flowers, chocolates anything but himself.

“A dose of covid,” she wondered, “might not be a curse after all. Indeed, long covid could even be the answer.”

589 words.

CIO = Chief Information Officer

Hope you enjoyed it, and I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Rowena

4 thoughts on “The Network Guy- Stream of Consciousness Saturday

  1. Dan Antion

    This is a great story, Rowena. It hits a little close to home, but I like it (and I’m safely retired). Thanks for mentioning my blog. I hope you’re having a nice weekend.

  2. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much, Dan. I was quite surprised how this just came out. Usually doesn’t work like that.
    I used to date someone where I came in at number 4 after work, uni and army reserve. That was a long time ago and my husband is married to the server at work which is good and has been working at home for the last two years and its cut back to 2 days a week now.
    In a previous job, we were driving Adelaide from Sydney and were halfway between Hay and Adelaide which is very remote and my husband’s phone rang. The air-conditioners had stopped over Christmas which in Australia is very dire, and the hard drive heads jammed and ripped off from overheating (I asked him explain that for you. Those are not my words which would be more along the lines of just “fried”.) Fortunately, we were too far away to go back. However, Geoff’s boss had hired a beach house in Sydney within an 30 minutes probably of work so guess where she spent her Christmas holidays away from her family?!! Areas without mobile coverage are our preferred destinations now!
    I am having a quiet weekend this weekend but we’ve going away next week and leaving no. 1 son at home minding the house and the dogs. I hope that’s going to be okay. It was sounding good until I saw in in print. Wish us luck.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

  3. Rowena Post author

    Yes, indeed. The workplace can be rather brutal, although I’ve seen a few instance when that miracle worker who does the job of two people resigns and they have to replace them with two to get by.
    A number of friends of mine have re-evaluated things since covid came about and have cut back. Don’t want to live for work anymore.

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