Yesterday was Monday.
My college had scheduled a budget town hall for Monday, which I wanted to attend (all bad news there), but first, after I opened the email with the Zoom link, I had to be locked out of my account.
That was actually kind of fun, it was so normal. Locked out of my account – yes! I remember being locked out of my account! I used to get locked out of my account with some regularity back in the day, and it felt good to be doing it again. This must be what people mean by “stir crazy.”
So I was up for it, but being locked out of my account during quarantine turned out to be different from being locked out of my account in my old life.
It was disorienting.
The Help Desk person answered the line with a restrained and tentative “Hello?” There was a question mark after his greeting, as if he hadn’t been expecting the phone to ring, and hadn’t talked to another human being in weeks. He was so untalkative, I thought I had the wrong number.
Once we found our footing–you Help Desk, me locked out of my account–he said he’d try to have someone call me back in time for me to make the meeting.
That he did.
The person who called was a brisk, efficient, highly scripted young man who ended up having to call me at least three times, each call in quick succession, because the system was slow and he’d promised to check back to make sure I had managed to get to my email under my own steam, after his intervention.
Every time I picked up he said exactly the same words in exactly the same manner and tone: “May I speak to Ms. Catherine Johnson, please?”
Working remotely is messing with people’s social skills.
He was good at his job, though–great, actually–swiftly restoring my account and setting up a new password, no rigmarole.
After the system had finally registered his changes and I had successfully opened my email, he signed off with a crisp and professional-sounding salute: “Goodbye, Ms. Johnson. Have a great weekend.”
I had to stare at the calendar for several seconds to make sure it really was Monday, as I thought going in, and I hadn’t just blown through a whole week without noticing.