February 13, 2008

A day without email is like...

Honestly, I can't think of something that comes close to comparing what a day without email is like when you sit at a desk with internet capabilities. Is it like having vanilla cupcakes in front of you but you know you are allergic to the eggs that are in them (I'm not, thank goodness)? I can't even think of anything that would equate to what it's like so I will just tell you this. My new freelance assignment is at the largest company I have ever worked for (and I do love it)and therefore (as is the way of large corporations, or so I have heard and now recently experienced) have a major internet blocking in their system. Gone are my days when I had a lot of down time and no red tape to get through on Firefox or Safari; where I spent hours writing to friends and family and to this blog.

I'll tell you what my Monday was like (and hence why it has taken me so long to post something this week) and maybe you will feel my pain. Or maybe you yourself work in an environment where all "fun" sites or photos are blocked by your company? Call me naive, but up until four months ago I had never worked at a company larger than 30 people so I had never experienced this. I thought it was just an urban work myth; told by investment bankers who work at highly secure financial firms. I never thought it could happen to me; just a graphic designer trying to make her way in this creative world.

So, Monday I get to my new assignment and meet my new creative department I will be working in and then am left alone for about 20 minutes while they were all in at a meeting. They knew that I had no work to do thus far (I mean I had just showed up 70 minutes before) and therefore I didn't feel bad about getting on some Hotmail with maybe a side of Blogger and Gmail in the mix just for kicks. And I don't know, if I was feeling crazy, possibly check out Evite? Well, folks, as they say "the best laid plans...often go awry", they say it for a reason. There was to be none of that, for each of those sites I just mentioned were BLOCKED! BLOCKED? I had never seen such a thing.

At lunch I decided to take matters into my own hands and signed up for a month of internet on my cellphone. I have only checked my email on my phone two other times and that was because I was on a Greyhound bus and bored out of my mind. So sign up I did and then turned my phone off (as they tell you to do) for a few minutes, then turned it back on. I fully expected to be email ready within minutes, but no. Plans foiled again. Not only was my new company out to steer me clear of email, so was Verizon! I refused to give up and therefore kept turning on and then turning off my phone, trying to get onto the internet but with no luck each time.

The end of the day came and I was meeting a friend for dinner but not for another hour and a half. Instead of going back home and then going out again, I decided that I could not take one more second without email and bit the bullet–I went to the midtown (read: largest) branch of the New York Public Library. I figured I could get on the internet there withh zero problem. Ah, silly me, did I not learn anything that day? Email was not to be had! I rode the elevator up to the 4th floor with a B.O.-emanating man and 6 other strangers, got off the elevator, got in line to inquire about internet computer signups, witnessed the librarian tell the woman in front of me that they would call security on her if she didn't calm down, got in another line, watched an old woman print out 80 things, got back in the first line, watched security come to the desk to apprehend the woman they had been called about 5 minutes earlier, swiped my card at the computer to sign-up for some internet (finally...Hotmail, here I come!), and then found out that the wait would be 55 minutes. Clearly, the universe did not want me checking my email today.

Don't you fret, though, Verizon finally got its email working on my phone and now I am back to being connected to the world. Via a one inch by two inch screen, of course.

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