“…As I kept talking, my voice started to fail. I was unable to make any words, just the honks and squeaks that might come out of a saxophone…”
(Male, 40’s) To my knowledge I’ve never had an actual “panic attack” but those are exactly the words I’d use to describe this terrifying dream I had the other night. I was at work talking with a co-worker in the hallway of an unfamiliar building. She was explaining how the IT department, that is, our department were entirely unable to manage certain key attributes of the computers we’d deployed just last spring. As I asked more questions about what that actually meant, I learned that the computers couldn’t communicate on the network, though there would be no error given to suggest the attempt didn’t succeed, and what’s even better, these computers couldn’t reliably be counted upon even to save data to their own hard drives. Again, no error message would be given. My co-worker was telling me all of this in a matter-of-fact, world-weary sort of way, I gather the same way that we were supposed to inform the users. But I started going crazy. I couldn’t believe the callous attitude. I also couldn’t believe that there hadn’t been daily if not weekly memos from the IT director warning the users that, basically, none of the work they were performing was safe in any way. As I kept talking, my voice started to fail. I was unable to make any words, just the honks and squeaks that might come out of a saxophone if you didn’t know how to play it. My direct manager had been listening in but at some point, she had wandered off and this frustrated me because she needed to hear about these problems.
At this point, I found it impossible to stand still anymore so I just walked off down the hall. It was an unfamiliar, one-story building with offices that looked like elementary school classrooms. I was trying to find my cell phone. Inside these offices were large desks that were covered in construction paper, safety scissors (remember those? the kind with blunt tips so students couldn’t stab each other?) pots of that sticky white glue like they used to have in kindergarten… all this stuff on the surface of these executive’s desks. I needed to find my cell phone because I could tell there was a conversation I needed to be a part of. I could “hear” part of it when I held a can of spray paint. But it was white paint. I needed to find a spray can of black paint because I needed to spray paint my hair black. I started just running up and down this hallway, looking into similar offices, entirely unable to relax. I grabbed onto the can of spray paint tighter and tighter until my muscles were shaking. It was horrible.
Boy am I glad there’s a weekend coming up.