It’s eleven by the time I start working on the missing wifi in the other building. And it truly had gone missing. The yellow cable is just … gone, and the whole set of lights not lighting up along its trapezoid frame isn’t a good sign either. The light in the server room wasn’t just out, or broken — the whole light had been removed, bits of multicolored wire hanging down like Christmas decorations where the ballasts had once been, so I am navigating through a series of wires and server racks in the dark illuminated by my cell phone light. The new replacement router wasn’t connecting to the internet. It would start to act like it was, and then just start over again in its process of “Hey, okay, let me look for the internet for you” and then “Oh I found the internet, but I need to do more things,” followed by an interjection of “I haven’t found the internet, let me start over again, or you can click this button to find it for me.”
But it would not let me click that button.
The two of us went in this circle for probably a bit longer than we otherwise should have, if I hadn’t been jet lagging so much. Like probably an hour of that insanity. In the dark of the server room, I trace a wire from one box to another, and incredulously realize this is wrong, and further, that it’s surprising to me that any of the internets in the building is working at all, because of how this wire is presenting itself. One internet was plugged into another. This, on face value, sounds fine, right? The internet is literally just all kinds of wires plugging into each other.
But sometimes, when you plug two internets together, they have a strange magnetic like property in which they cancel each other out, competing to be in charge, letting neither party retreat.
But, because the rest of the building seems to still be working fine, it’s odd to me that somehow this closed, recursive loop of crossed streams isn’t breaking everything. So I tread lightly before unplugging it, testing everything directly afterward, because there was an event going on, and breaking the internet down on the floor would probably be a bad thing. It doesn’t break. I continue on.
After another hour of playing this game, the wifi is working, finally, connecting first to one internet and then I switch it over the to the primary fiber coming into the building. The building has three forms of internet, one incredibly slow but very reliable kind for the phones, one incredibly fast, and a third one in between, in reserve that has just been sitting there for six years. Whole patches of the intersection on the street were torn up twice for those second and third forms of service.
Immediately after finally getting everything situated, and I’m thinking about a nap and lunch but in the other order, a phone call comes up to the venue staff that the internet is down on the third floor in the middle of the event. I walk downstairs, entering a familiar mode of temporal panic. There’s a high-end production going on with a woman on a video connection feed up on-screen that had gone away.
I could have avoided this altogether because I was ready to take a nap, I could have been entirely satisfied with a good form of internet, rather than the best form of internet. Perfection and completion were my enemies here. And the damage was already done, at least. I solved the problem relatively quickly, only having to run up and down the stairs once, almost too tired to be fully stressed about it.