Variables

I’d been plotting headlong against the problem for at least an hour — the internet was broken (again), but just on one floor. I’d stood next to the AV crew as they’d been attempting to pull a cable between floors, timid at first about my opinion about what they were trying to do, and also surprisingly firm in recognizing that I needed to shut this down. The timidness, I recognize now, came from my desire to do weird and interesting technical things. There were three of them, with walkie-talkies, and they’d wanted a dry ethernet port to run audio throughout the building.

But it was too late. Before I’d walked up to their inter-floor project, they’d turned the fourth floor into a desert, and after an hour, starting first with them backing out most of their work, at least so far as I could tell, and then my beginning to run through a something circuitous, sleep deprived, and intuition-driven short-lists of checks. Pushing hard, feeling that itching craze of stress that compresses my thoughts and ability to think clearly and openly, anxious and trying to game out what went wrong in my approach with them — I should have just shut it down as soon as I saw what they were during, I shouldn’t have capitulated against what I was offering as an alternative solution. I moved between the rooms and began pinging the internet, and the results made little sense. Just, occasionally getting results.

After an hour of this, I felt like I’d gotten nowhere. Which wasn’t true — but I wouldn’t be anywhere on the journey until I was at the end, is how it felt. And then I finally decided I could step away, back onto the other floor, finding an ice pack to lay down upon cradling my injured sacrum, and I tried to stop thinking about the problem in this brute force way, and meditate on this mantra, that I knew ultimately was the method, the only method, that would work: removing variables. How could I eliminate variables?

I closed my eyes. I was laying on the ground. No longer chasing the problem. No longer trying to take action.

And just as soon as I’d placed a brief mental breath filter on all of that noise, seemingly out of some other part of my brain entirely, one that really hadn’t been writing itself in the narrative of my brain spoke very quickly and quietly, having churned on the problem, and found the bolder (and yet also paradoxically simpler) solution. I could actually eliminate all of the variables, all of the potential issues that had been introduced by this AV crew, and get the floor back up in about a minute.

And, oddly enough, as a byproduct, let them do almost exactly what they wanted.

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