Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Major Minors

There are things in this life that are big fat hairy deals, things worth fighting for, things perhaps even worth dying for. Justice, freedom, my mother-in-law’s homemade peanut brittle, etc.

And then there…things that are…not.

Like, say, cellular signals dropping in tunnels.

Recently, BART stunned us by announcing that they now had signal all the way through the Transbay Tube – which, you know, is pretty wow. We’re hurtling along under the San Francisco Bay, and now people can yak on their cell phones and check their email like they’re not rattling along under billions of gallons of water?

Um…it’s great. Really. Because being able to be on the phone at all times yelping, “Where you at?! No, where YOU at? DUH! I’m on the TRAIN, FOOL!” is just…vital to our national mental health.


But, all kidding aside, it’s pretty nifty for me. It lets me work an extra twenty minutes each way, which gives me that much less time I need to spend either in the office, or trying to catch up at home after Everything Else – which is going to mean I’m staying up too late, which is going to mean testiness.

However. They do not have this astonishing cellular connection through the tunnels leading to and from the Lake Merritt station.

Soooooooo, my connection drops for a few minutes, and I have to go through the whole song and dance and genuflections to the Four Quarters and Solemn Incantations and potion-brewing and wand waving involved in getting all the layers of security back in place so that I can log back on to MegaBank’s networks and keep working.

It can take up to ten minutes when the forces of technology are not with you – which in computer time is, like, a hundred years.

For some reason, this really, really, really pissed me off this morning.

And I’m not entirely sure why, although I suspect it has to do with my perception of the relative difficulty on getting cellular connection in the two areas. (That, or the fact that BART doesn’t allow any food or drink in the “paid areas” of the station, which meant that my almost-full commuter mug of steaming hot ambition coffee had to stay tucked in my backpack. Go ahead, tease the tiger, wave the nice juicy steak in front of her and go, “Neener-neener, you caaaaaaaan’t haaaave it!”…) (And YOU can’t have your ARM anymore! RRRRRRROWR!!!!!)

You’d think I’d know better than to assume what I assume is anything like technically correct. I mean, people do it to me all the time at work.

Me: OK, so, you need information – what do you need to see?

Them: Welllllllll, can’t you just show me everything that’s in the database?

Me: Uh, no. Just tell me what you want to see, and…

Them: But I want to see what’s in the database! Just for my region, of course!

Me: OK, here’s the thing…the database? It’s not like, you know, a spreadsheet. Wouldn’t even fit on a spreadsheet. It’s a couple hundred tables containing millions or even billions of rows of information, joined together by numbers that make no sense to anybody but us data jockeys. If I were to even try to show you “what’s in the database” just for your region, I would be getting nasty-grams from the DBA because I’d be hammering the system so hard nobody would be able to do anything for, like, five days. And then you’d have an insurmountable amount of data, so much data you wouldn’t be able to actually see any of it. We can’t get there from here. That bridge is out. So! Tell me what you want to know! You want to see how many days worth of information, for which departments, in what categories, that kind of thing…

Them: …I don’t see why it’s so hard to just get what’s in the database…Gloria got to see what was in the database last week, and her region is much bigger than mine…

Me: {face-desk}

You’d think, therefore, that I wouldn’t be the sort of person who does that sort of thing to other people.

But this morning? I was all, “The Tube got seamless connections, how come the Lake Merritt tunnels can’t, huh? How hard can it be? I MEAN YOU KNOW REALLY!! The Tube is under water, and they figured it out! The tunnel is just feh!, A TUNNEL!

…dirty rotten no good lazy such-and-sos…they just don’t care about me and my needs

What makes this particularly funny, of course, is the fact that I’m pissy because something that didn’t exist a few weeks ago anywhere in the BART system doesn’t now exist everywhere in it.

I am one extremely spoiled little brat.

But at least I can finally drink my coffee, now that I’m no longer in a “paid area” of the BART system. (In related news, Contigo vacuum-insulated stainless steel travel mugs rock. Two hours later, my coffee is still hot and it did not spill all over the inside of my backpack. Righteous!)

…ya know, Amtrak lets you have coffee. Shoot, Amtrak has dining cars, where you can buy more coffee, should your cup run dry. Why can’t BART be more like Amtrak, huh…?

(I’m actually posting this from the Transbay Tube. Underwater blogging!…what will they think of next…)


PipneyJane said...

You knew I was going to ask about the travel mug, didn't you? :o) Thanks for the details.

- Pam

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