A particularly fraught discussion upstairs in the main library. We're supposed to be putting a dozen new public terminals in the community room, partly to maximise the use of the room as a learning resource but mostly because someone got nervous about meeting the public library standard on the number of public workstations. We have the PCs. We have the network connections in the room. We have the network connections in the library. But we don't have the network connected as to do so we need the shopping centre's agreement to take the twelve cables across a seven-foot stretch of ceiling space just outside the library. The centre manager isn't authorised to give the OK, it has to be done by head office, which appears to be a black hole somewhere down south. So we're stuck and have been since last autumn.
Today I'm called up to discuss where the PCs would be going if we could bridge the gap. The answer is the same place as every other time I've been asked, using the network points as a bit of a guide. And just like every other time I'm asked why the network points are in those locations. And just like every other time I remind T.Aldous that he decided that these were the best places to go once Mary and I convinced him that they'd fit.
Then he tells me about the problems we had buying the PCs, of all of which I'm all too aware. Then he tells me about the problems with the shopping centre, ditto. Then the problems with the PC requisitions forms, ditto. Then the problems with some of the people in IT, ditto. Then he reprises the problems with buying the PCs and with the shopping centre's head office, ditto, ditto, ditto ad nauseum.
I'm in the lift coming back down to my cellar office and about halfway down I hear a noise. It took me a few moments to register what it was: someone was screaming, a long, low, sustained scream. It must have gone on for two or three minutes. I was aghast: who the hell screams like that in a public library?
It was me.