How Being A Webmaster Made Me Grateful During Power Outages

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

The power went out last night.  Which was irritating, since the storm had passed.  I have no problems if there’s a big kraka-BOOM and the lights short out, but there’s something vaguely irritating at looking up at blue sky and seeing the neighbors stumbling out of their homes to confirm our collective loss.
Turns out we were part of a 167-house blackout, which is usually not a good sign.  Last time, the power took two days to come back on, and I had to work in a Panera Bread.  I was not looking forward to getting up at ass o’clock to try to leech bandwidth off of a chain restaurant.
Yet we hopefully flipped the fan switch before we went to sleep, and at around four in the morning, we felt a cool breeze on our bodies.  The gentlest, most perfect way of being alerted that the electricity had returned.
I’d be upset about the power outage in general, but I’m a webmaster.  If my site crashes, I gotta go figure out why, which means I’ve kept some pretty damn odd hours.  And it’s not always easy, with everybody bitching because they wanted to read the latest Magic articles and why don’t you just fix it and this site is shitty, you’re shitty, how dare you inconvenience me.  Meanwhile, I’m working on tremendously complicated architectures, trying to figure out which layer collapsed and why, fleshing out plans so this doesn’t happen again, often with several layers of management huffing down my neck asking, so when do we make money again?
The power guys are doing all of that, but with lives on the line at hospitals, in the rain, in deadly danger if they touch the wrong cord.  They’re working sixteen-hour shifts, pulled away from the things they wanted to do, out driving from downed wire to downed wire to provide the juice that society lives on.  And there’s all the griping that dammit, I’ve got raw chicken in this fridge that’s gonna spoil… but really, I just feel grateful.  I been there, guys.  You’re working the suck right now, fixing things you may not have had optimal control over in the first place, and your reward for getting it working again is usually an exasperated “Finally!”
I didn’t have to work at Panera today because some schmuck in a hard hat was working at four in the morning.  That was really nice of you.  Thanks.

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