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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Power to the People


Today, while I was "working" the power went out. Electricity stopped flowing, all moving parts stood still. We have battery backups for our computers that give us enough time to save anything we are working on, and turn the machines off safely. Not really a problem for me, I never do anything important.

Of course, everything starts beeping, chirping, crying for attention. Everywhere in the building tiny little alarms were sounded. "power went out. help me."

And it hit me. I should have gotten some water. In the kitchen there is BenchMark 3000 XL with a UV filtration system that dispenses frosty cold, UV filtered water. I don't know how it works but ultraviolet light has no sympathy for contaminants that make water taste stale or musty. It needs electricity to work though, and that spigot had been closed.

If you think I can ever go back to tap water after tasting the nectar produced by mixing light and water you are fooling yourself, friend. It must be H3O. I was willing to just give up and turn to dust right at my desk before resorting to that humiliation.

In fact, I had started working on my last will and testament. I was using my phone since the computers were not working, and I'll be damned if I'm going to use a pen and paper. Do you take me for a fool? Besides, I am not even sure I have a pen that works at my station. I would have to get up and walk around to the desks of people who had not yet arrived, or those down enjoying a cigarette during the brief lull in modern technological productivity.

Then it hit me, I should get a cup of coffee before the delicious life giving elixir gets cold. Newton's law of cooling is quite specific, TS > TE  System S cools until it is in thermal equilibrium with E. In an isolated system TS decreases while TE increases. Obviously, I had to hurry.

 Unfortunately, many of my coworkers had performed the calculation as well. A line had formed at the coffee maker. Ten people looking lost, sad and forlorn, staring in abject misery at the little pot. There was only two and a half cups left in the carafe. The power was out, the water cooler didn't work, and the coffee was almost gone. It was looking desperate. I wondered how long we had before we had to pick the weakest associate and eat them.

Then something beautiful happened. Mitch from Customer Relations filled his mug, took a sip and handed it to Marge, from Legal Services. She took a sip and passed it along. Somebody started singing Blowing in the Wind. A chorus of off key, creaking voices joined. People were crying, holding each other.

"I am going to miss string cheese the most," a timid voice said. Sobbing people started talking about the things they would miss most from civilization. It was touching and beautiful, in an awful, and terrible way.

Man, were we embarrassed when the power came back.