I left work early Friday afternoon and will be away all of the next week. While I was driving home, my boss called to ask me some questions. Later that evening, I saw I had text messages from him. That’s strange, I thought. He’s not usually so intrusive when I’m away from work.
Then I saw the message. It said:
You missed the excitement…
That sounded rather ominous so I asked him what he meant.
There was an electrical fire…
I responded with a shocked one pseudo-word request for more information: Whah?!
He responded with the name of my computer. I responded as any person accustomed to teasing in the workplace would:
You are lying right now.
He then explained:
No I’m dead serious. Power supply was smoking very badly… No flames out of the box but it was close. Fd was called. We salvaged your hd and will work on a replacement machine.
I still didn’t believe him, but he insisted it was true. Several thoughts ran through my mind. First was a clear memory of me standing in the doorway of my cubicle looking at my workspace as I prepared to leave, thinking, Oh, yeah. I planned to clean up before I left. This place looks trashed. Oh, well. And then walking out. That image was now replaced with a couple of firefighters and several of my coworkers crammed into the space, seeing (and possibly commenting on?) all the mess. And all the people who will likely stop by as news gets around – just to see if there’s anything to see.
My next thought was that I had missed out on a rare moment of excitement and by the time I return, everyone will have moved on.
The next was to wonder what my reaction would have been had I been sitting at said computer when the smoke started billowing out. The person who reported it sits a couple of cubicles away but was likely visiting with the person across from my space. What would have happened if he hadn’t been standing there? Would all of those papers on my desk have helped fuel a conflagration? My whole cubicle before it got under control? Where are the fire extinguishers anyway?
The final thought was that it sure was convenient to happen to a person that wasn’t actually going to be there for an entire week. Gives them time to get a new machine. I bet the system administrator is going to be so thrilled when he returns from vacation Monday.
And, you know, it really didn’t affect my day any. Could, indeed, have no real impact on me at all. Unlike the poor schmuck my boss told me about next:
That was actually the second event today… earlier I walked into the bathroom and there were a pair of glasses in the first stall toilet… yep I’d leave them too if that happened to me…