Friday, March 03, 2006

Afternoon Monologues From The Public-Address System

Currently we are experiencing rolling blackouts and random power failures and all sorts of things like that all over the province. I won't go into it (at least, not today), because it will end up in a big old boring ranty blog post. I'm sure there are enough Cape Town and South African blogs that have covered the drama.

Our office building recently managed, somehow, to obtain power from somewhere, so our lights are always on these days (although nothing much else is rescued), which is very exciting. However, our servers and other vital business tools, and the lifts, tend to come and go as they please, like yesterday. Yesterday, while we were busy finishing off our deadline production - already a day late - the servers suddenly went down, quickly followed by the Internet connection and the email system. And then the lifts stopped working, which is one thing we've become used to. So what do you do when you can't do anything? I found some personal work (for one of my web sites) that I could do, but everyone else was bored and wandering the hallways (but not the staircase). We were all too annoyed - being so close to being done with our deadline work - to banter, so there was only one thrilling exchange I can share with you:

20060302 12:25
Male Colleague: "I'm not saying this because I just walked into the office...but...there is this weird food smell down the passage."
Me: "Yes, I smelt it earlier. They're making food down there [for an article] or something." [Turned out they actually weren't.]
Male Colleague: "No, it's in the corner there. It's a human smell."
Everyone in the office (confused and utterly grossed out): "What?!"
Male Colleague: "It's someone's cooked lunch. Down the passage, in the corner. It smells awful."
Everyone randomly: "Yeah."
Male Colleague (to himself): "...the smell of stress and sweat..."
Female Colleague: "You're very poetic today."

Personally, I thought perhaps someone had died from boredom in a corner somewhere.

The server, Internet, and email all eventually returned, but not the lifts. It seems that the building-operations people have some sort of super-power control over them. We learnt this via the building-wide public-address system, something that no one knew existed until the first round of power failures in November, when we were all startled on one particular day by the sound of what seemed to be an airport public-address sound, and then suddenly an ethereal voice floated out of speakers in the passageway ceilings throughout the building, which we had previously not noticed were there. (So who knows where all the secret mini cameras and microphones are hiding. *Ack!*)

The same thing happened yesterday afternoon. Repeatedly. In response we all mocked the ethereal voice and then most of the staff packed up their stuff and rushed to the lifts to get out of the building (the easy way) while they could.

Bing Bang Bong [the sound of the office "airport" announcement system].
[Announcement in Afrikaans about the lifts.]
Then (transcribed verbatim): "Attenshin all staff. Wisitors. The lifts will be operated from...sixteen thirty...till sixteen...forty five. From thenwidths, the lifts will be shtohpped again. Thank you."

Bing Bang Bong.
[Announcement in Afrikaans about the lifts.]
Repeat announcement in English: "Attenshin all staff. The lifts...will be operated...from half-past four...till quarter-to five. The lifts will be operated...from...half-past four till quarter-to five. You've got only fifteen minutes to make use of de lifts. Thank you."

Bing Bang Bong.
[Annoucement in Afrikaans about the lifts.]
Repeat announcement in English: "Attenshin all staff. De lifts...will in working order for fifteen minutes...and from...then won't be...working...again. It will only be working for fifteen minutes. Thank you.

Female Colleague #2 (walking past our office as she's leaving for the day): "Ok. We're taking the four-thirty flight."

By now half the staff from our floor are milling around the elevator area. The lifts have been so busy that they haven't come up to the 20th floor. I walk past.
Me: "Have you missed your flight?"
Female Colleague #2 (with a wry smile): "Our flight's been delayed."

We hear loud shouting coming from down the corridor and look out to find two people from the maintenance and building operations department(s) shouting into their cellular phones (one to Otis lifts, I think) about the fact that they have missed the window for the lifts and blah blah. They don't even work on our floor. I don't know where they came from (or how they got here).

I only left the office just before six, so I had to take the stairs. On the plus side, I set a new down record. (It's the little things that keep us sane.)

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Blogger Francois Maree said...

How is that Stairmaster 2000 working out for you?

Oh, and there are no hidden cameras from your company installed. I checked while installing my uber leet surveilance equipment... for er.... "stress testing", seeing as you work in a stressful environment sometimes. *cough*

Friday, March 03, 2006 4:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Not bad, actually. After bounding down the stairs yesterday and setting my new record I wasn't even remotely tired or injured.

The first time I did it I experienced pains for three days in muscles I didn't know I had.

And, thankfully, the lifts have been on in the mornings when I arrive so I haven't had to trek up lately, unlike some of my coworkers, who arrived at ungodly hours on deadline and then had to walk up. LOL.

Plus, the lifts have now been running again (supposedly permanently) since lunchtime, so I am hopeful it will continue.

Friday, March 03, 2006 4:32:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Well using the lift is not good because now you are fitter than what you was with the first "trek up the stairs* so get out the stopwatch, and impress us all. In case you wonder what I am talking about, I refer you to this post of yours.

Friday, March 03, 2006 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Hey. Hey now! HEY!

I am not going to run up the stairs just because they're there. I only did that once, to prove (to myself, for the list) that I could do it. Little did I know what two months later I'd be forced to do it just to reach my office.

It sucks. I have to lie on the floor for 15 minutes afterwards because I can't breathe and there are about a handful more oxygen molecules closer to the floor (as well as lots of dust, so, yeah, it's a tradefoff, but anyway...) than when I stand up, which I can't do in any case because by then everything hurts.

Yes, yes, I still have that "dream" of 3:30, but I'm enjoying the downwards dream (currently 2 minutes) more right now because it doesn't hurt.

Friday, March 03, 2006 4:50:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Well, and I quote, "Take the stairs to the 20th floor, in under 3:30" is still on your list... so... that is a crappy excuse. You just make up an excuse to waste 15 minutes pretending to be tired where as you probably have some dust fetish. Yes, you heard me. I figured out what your fetish is. :D I am as sharp as a Minora blade.

Friday, March 03, 2006 5:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

I think it is sad that you've spent all this time trying to figure out what my fetish is that you, and you alone, presume I have.

Friday, March 03, 2006 5:18:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Actually if you got to you will see I am not alone.

Friday, March 03, 2006 5:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

*Thanks* for putting that meme into the world. Google has probably already archived your comment, so it's too late for me to delete it from our reality, and now some freak is probably going to set up that site and dedicate it to me.

If I'm lucky he'll pick Mandy Moore instead. Or even Mandy Patinkin.

If I'm unlucky you're already bought the domain and are starting the collage.

Friday, March 03, 2006 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

*looks up from under a mountain of cutout photos with two sticks of Pritt in both hands* Errr.... no. *hides collage* Never!!! I wouldn't do that. *cough*

Friday, March 03, 2006 5:41:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Finally it started snowing here!!!! First snow day in 2006. Only had one day back in November. Bit late for Christmas. So if I survive my skidpad experience back home tonight I will take some photos. Oh wait, I'll mail them rather than paste here.

Friday, March 03, 2006 6:17:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Ok, well, snow has nothing to do with my pain of climbing stairs, but I'm happy for you. And still waiting for the email.

Anyway, new news from the stair adventure: I had to climb up today, since the lifts were conveniently out for the first part of the morning (then miraculously restored an hour or so later), and I managed to shave five-and-a-half seconds off my time, putting it at 4:20.28.

And then I nearly coughed up a lung (the left one), but it was all worth it! Really, it was!

Monday, March 06, 2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

I thought I would send you pictures of the snow but it melted by the time I got home. Sorry.

Oh, and I had NOTHING to do with the elevators being out of order this morning. *snigger*

Good record though. Seems like that going-down-the-stairs record helps making you fit. Which is a good thing. As for coughing up lungs, not so appealing. This is supposed to be a family friendly blog, conservative and all.

Monday, March 06, 2006 1:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Well, I didn't post *pictures* did I? Or a sound file of my hacking cough. I think that still retains my family-friendly image.

Monday, March 06, 2006 1:42:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Thank goodness you haven't posted pictures. That would be enough to scare kids at Halloween.

Monday, March 06, 2006 3:33:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Ok, you know very well there's no Halloween in South Africa, and I wouldn't need that holiday to scare kids anyway...

Monday, March 06, 2006 4:01:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Yes, you're right. It can be done any day. Poor kids, just think of the kids!!!!!

Monday, March 06, 2006 6:03:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

12 days of no bloggage!?! I would like to make an formal complaint. :D

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 4:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

You could have sent it to my email address...

Nothing much has happened, and I've been having a really bad week.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 4:49:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

If I sent it to your email addy then it would not have been a formal complaint.

Ok, I will just sit back and wait for disaster to strike the office again before I get to see a new blog entry.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 6:38:00 PM  

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