Friday, December 16, 2011

Last Day

Strong winds this morning, some flights delayed according to the television in the lobby, meeting the team for breakfast, telling stories of Christmas presents; the other two preparing to go to the airport while I go back to the office to check any loose ends or issues, planning to depart to Midway terminal after noon time, the flight back to South Carolina at 5 pm. Packed the bags in the early morning, surfed the Internet for news, checked out the hotel, cold wind as I walked to the car and wearing my beanie, driving down the highway, skies dark with ominous potential for rain, arriving in the office parking lot and noticing fewer cars; the pretty and smart supervisor not in her cubicle, some offices unlit, their tenants absent from work, perhaps because our project leader had gone home, the place going back to its usual rhythm of slack and relaxed tempo, glad the place has shown its true colors, hoping for a serene morning but confronted with an email from the carrier; the electronic transmission somehow failing to be sent or received, realizing that this glitch alone justified my staying back.

Booted up my computer but unable to login the network, feels like working blind if not connected to the grid, unable to do anything but check past records, providing the new account number to the warehouse staff so she could reply to the carrier; maybe the reason for the missing transmissions, waiting for the reply to see if the hypothesis is correct. Still trying to login, trying repeatedly but no luck, afraid that one would be helpless if an issue arises, knock on wood and hope not, paranoia and worry creeping in the brain, thinking about Andrew Grove’s dictum that only the paranoid survive or something like that, the former chief of Intel sounding like a drug crazed teenager, but he’s right in today’s world of frenzied work and overheated arguments; for example, another government slowdown possibly looming in the horizon, the nut cases in Washington willing to create turmoil during Christmas. Recently, one can control the frenzied thoughts, no real need to worry after all, the product of a competitive environment, now in a country of calm demeanor except for the lunacy of Washington, adjusting to a sort of strange tranquility amidst feeling of envy and materialism.

The network is congested, too many people logging in from outside the company, suddenly realizing that one can switch to another server site, changing the IP address and ‘Voila!’, login  successful, now why didn’t I think about that earlier, glad to be in the grid and ready for work, it’s 9:45 am local time. Started writing emails on the missing transmissions, the carrier not replying yet, making phone calls to the help desk to resolve another issue, thinking that Chicago was not difficult after all, working in the conference room, seeing the truckers and warehouse pickers eating their snacks in the canteen during their break, talking loudly and joking among themselves,  remembering the mental fears in weeks past regarding the roll-out, the words ‘Chicago’ like a monster lurking in the shadows, where some surprise would come out and blind side the team, but finding no monsters but kind accommodating people, sharing pizza and having pleasant conversations; software working well despite some bugs, overall a pleasant experience, wondering what the doubts where all about.

While in Chicago, while preparing to leave in a few hours, seeing not much work today, thinking how far one has gone, not only the external journey from Asia to America, but the internal journey as well, from some obscure book reading geek to Toastmasters and attending writing workshops, from journal writing to Tai Chi, to blogging; it has been a large leap with modest success, the smooth transition because of kind people; one wonders how it is with the family, how they have adjusted, with their father leading them to faraway lands and new experiences, thinking these thoughts as one basks in the success of another project; one realizes how far one’s journey when sharing stories with the team, comparing experiences and realizing you have the most to share, travelled the most and perhaps accomplished the most, wondering if all this movement was worth it, a replacement of some permanent home with firm roots, instead of a nomad lifestyle; the other team members living in their homes for nearly 20 to 30 years near the same place, while one has traversed oceans and continents, not staying for more than a decade in one place, enjoying new food, places and experiences that nowadays one feels tired of all the new things and thinking that one should settle down, glimpsing the large homes in the Chicago suburbs, perhaps one can live here in America, contentedly and see the kids grow.  

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