Saturday, November 04, 2006

I are a Service Tech

Things have changed. I am no longer spending 7 hours a day in a windowless room answering telephones, silencing alarms, and haunting online forums. I have been re-assigned into a division of my department called "Building Systems", as a "low-voltage" specialist. What this means is that I am doing many of the things that I was hired to do, and did, from 1986 to about 1991. In the last two weeks, I have installed content for a character generator (a PC that puts information into our Television distribution system, repaired some Nurse Call equipment, replaced a PA amplifier for overhead paging, and watched 2 contractors work. I am also learning (or re-learning, if you will) about the stuff in Building Systems that, while probably necessary, bore the living snot out of me. Things like taking meter readings (a rotating task that takes the average tech about 2-3 hours to accomplish, there are many meters spread all over the facility), testing the water for the boilers and adding the appropriate chemicals, and learning the intricacies of piping and valving and zzzzzzzz. I have an appreciation for these skills - every large building is a living, breathing, pulsing entity with it's own personality, and every good company has people like Mr. Scott or Geordy LaForge of Star Trek to love/hate/cajole it into peak performance. Scotty I kinna be. I do like troubleshooting, and have enjoyed getting my mind and hands into some simple repairs. The new tools are nice, too.
I refuse to accept, however, that this is where I'm supposed to be. Sorry.
I'm having to re-arrange my online existence, though, which is probably a good thing, but a bit consternating. It is nice not to have to get to work, and within 15 minutes feel the pressure when the Operator wants to take a break and leave me with the hospital phones first thing in the morning. Now it's the morning meeting, the meeting after the meeting, stroll down to the shop, open the toolbox, check the email, and start working on the next thing. The old workdays I remember.
I'm going to have to start carrying a notepad though, because I can't just pop up the blogger and riff off a rant. I've had some good (at least I think ) ideas come up only to fade when I try to recall them, later, lately.
I can now go to the bathroom without finding someone to relieve me whilst I relieve myself. The Building Operations Center was all about pressure, to me, and not just on my bladder. Not the kind that excites one into pro-active action or problem resolution. The one where procedures are written, and then interpreted and re-interpreted like The Book Of Revelation to a point where, when something serious occurs, functionaries like myself could have done better. No matter how well we did it. Having to know who's asking, as well as what they want. I don't miss it, but I do miss the time to write.

This place ain't doing me any good
I'm in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood
Just for a second there I thought I saw something move
Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag
Ain't no shortcuts, gonna dress in drag
Only a fool in here would think he's got anything to prove
Lot of water under the bridge, Lot of other stuff too
Don't get up gentlemen, I'm only passing through
People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed
- Bob Dylan, "Things Have Changed"