I’m Coding! I’m Coding! I’m Coding! I Code! I’m a Coder!

When I think about all I’m doing at work, I feel like Bob tied to the mast in What About Bob? It’s crazy how much I’m picking up and how fast. I get all excited about my work because I’m adulting so hard. I’m blocking out the rest of the world (as all coders do) and listening to Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas albums. They’re my favorite for this time of year. As you can imagine, my favorite is Hark! The Herald Trumpets Sing. It’s the perfect soundtrack for SQL. I’m working on HTML-formatted e-mails with fields populated by databases. For lay people, here’s the explanation. It goes something like this: “Dear Mr. W, you bought X and Y on Z date.” The e-mail pulls from a database so that we don’t have to hand-write 7,000 e-mails. Does that make sense? It’s like a mail merge for the web. Actually, it’s exactly that. Look at me translating geek to English! Actually, I tend to put that in my cover letters (seriously). It’s one of my most adultiest skills because most of the time, when people don’t understand technology, they are treated with a pejorative sneer and it shows. I am unique in that if you ask me what something is or how it works, I won’t judge you and I won’t talk down, as if I am God’s gift to computers and you, frankly, are not. However, I WILL laugh about you with my friends later. At least give me that. It helps me to show up for another day.

There are no words in the English language that can describe how happy I feel right now, because I get it. Transitioning from the help desk to coding is the best thing that has ever happened to me, because as I told Argo, “I would do damn near anything to get out of saying ‘this is Leslie, how can I help you?'” I have done my time. Other people can interface with customers while I pound out code. Being on the phone is terrifying in terms of not knowing who’s on the other end and how angry they might be. Some of the reason that tech people are so insular is that they’ve really been treated like crap by people who don’t understand what’s going on and have gotten very angry because they can’t wrap their brains around what is being said to them. I would say that at least 90% of anger is fear of the unknown, and that translates across any job field. But tech is particularly hard because the level of knowledge that the customer has is so far below what is actually happening… and because of jargon, it’s hard to drill down into simple terms because they don’t exist. I tend to find them easier because I am verbally flexible, but at the same time, a port is a port. A firewall is a firewall. I can’t make it any simpler than that. RTFM (Read the fucking manual), because PEBKAC (Problem exists between keyboard and chair).

The music has switched to Light Jazz Christmas, Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella specifically. I originally found this album as a throwaway at Walgreens, you know, one of those $5 cds at the checkout? It was the cheapest Christmas album I’ve ever bought, and I listened to it CONSTANTLY over the holidays. I lost the disc, so I’m ecstatic that I found it again on Spotify. I’m also drinking a lemon energy drink that tastes like cold Theraflu, so I got that goin’ for me.

It’s spectacularly quiet in the office as per normal. I have mentioned this before, but it is such a gift. Nothing breaks my concentration, so there’s a better chance I’ll remember where I left off if I have to go to the bathroom. Yes, that is really all it takes. Thank you for asking. If I get up from my desk, I am thinking about something else so hard that I don’t have room for those details. It’s one of the reasons that when I’m driving, my phone giving the directions is so necessary. If I didn’t use GPS, I’d forget where I was going.

I’m rethinking getting a car when I have the money for it. It won’t take long because I live like a monk. The only reason why is that it costs $50/day to use Uber to get from my house to work and home again. If I use the Metro, it takes me an hour and a half both ways, which isn’t bad…. unless I have to get somewhere fast. For instance, tonight I have to miss choir practice because I don’t get off work until 6:30 and I have to make it to the pharmacy before they close, because they’re not open as early as I’d like. Actually, I take that back. I have enough medication to go to the pharmacy tomorrow, because it is NOT a good time of year to miss rehearsal. I can’t believe I even thought about skipping it. Besides, if I miss choir practice, I won’t get to see Ingrid, my spirit animal. #epicfail

The other great thing about choir is that my friend Karen has a doppelganger in my choir who is also named Karen, and I can’t look at this Karen without seeing the other one. Because of this, in a weird way her face feels like home. When my friend Karen used to call me, I’d pick up the phone by saying, “IT’S THE KAREN MILLER SHOW!” That’s because Karen isn’t a person. She’s an event, and anyone who knows her would say the same thing. She’s the kind of person that is so quirky and lovable you can’t help but want to be around her…. but I think the quirky is an act, because she’s a brilliant Fulbright scholar. She reminds me a lot of Lindsay, who is a brilliant political mind and gets herself into situations that would only happen to her. I will not tell you what those might be, but I will tell you that when she was in high school, she got in an argument with the whole famn damily over whether New Mexico was a state if that gives you any indication.

In any case, I have to watch myself with “new Karen,” because she looks SO MUCH like “old Karen” that I feel like I know her better than I really do. Memory is such a tricky thing.

Speaking of memories, I had a good one today, which was Dana learning Python on Code Academy and seeing her ask Aaron questions in my head. Dana would be a brilliant coder if she put her mind to become one, because she can math so much better than I can. Her logic ability is fantastic. I am so glad that I can write about Dana fondly, because that’s what I choose to remember. I don’t choose to dwell on toxicity and pain, but forgiveness and peace. I just love her so much that I can’t help but remember the good things rather than the bad ones. She is also not a person, but an event. If you’ve ever met her, you’d know what I mean. She can own a room inside of a minute.

And on that note, I have to get back to coding and adulting. 😉


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