Sometimes memory works in funny ways.
The other day was another road trip to The County; I discussed a recent one in ‘Embracing‘ but two weeks after the events described there we did it again with a few changes — slightly different participants, slightly different venues, slightly different food, significantly different roads. Another difference (quantitative, not qualitative) is that I took the wrong road rather more often than usual.
It wasn’t a big deal, though. I mean, it’s not like I led a small convoy of vehicles down the wrong road until a text message from an accountant revealed to me the error (read — idiocy) of my ways.
Oh, wait. I did.
In my defense, though, Harold Smith made me do it. (Oh, all right — Harold Smith was a bald guy who, before his death, was something of a driver/driving instruction guru. He had several mantras but the first on his list was ‘Aim High.’ Unfortunately for me, I was aiming high and failed to notice the sign for our destination that was… low to the ground. It had nothing at all to do with me driving too fast, enjoying the scenery and looking for cows.)
It only happened once (well, three times) so it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the day. (Not that getting lost necessarily does, but getting friends lost is embarrassing and does.)
But I was talking about memory.
The last stop of the day was at an art gallery (Tons of nice stuff if you happen to have ten thousand bucks burning a hole in your pocket. I don’t, but it’s free to look and sometimes they even offer you a beverage.). After we finished frolicking in the gallery and the associated sculpture garden a dinner venue was proposed — a moderately new place, not in The County but, rather, in a town about fifty kilometers away. This meant no reckless driving across back roads. Instead there was a fairly sedate ferry ride (which had a nice doggie that tried to jump out the window of his car when I said ‘Hello’ — his parents looked mortified) followed by a slightly less sedate drive through the Land Of The Eight Foot Couches. Somewhere in there I managed to lose part of my convoy — I expect they were scared of the couches.
The restaurant had, as some restaurants do, a couple of large television sets tuned to sporting events. When we arrived they were showing rugby (Canada vs the US — Canada won by more than a converted try, thanks for asking). It took me a while (no sound) to figure out that they were national teams because they were both liberally adorned with advertising — I sort of thought national teams eschewed corporate whoredom. One of the advertisers was a shipping company — the same shipping company that a large computer vendor uses/used. And that’s what triggered a memory.
Like I told you — memory can be a funny thing.
Once upon a time we ordered several — half a dozen or so — servers (probably Enchiladas) at work. We didn’t, however, order the default model. No, we ordered them with more memory than the default model.
You might think that this would represent a different part number or catalog number or order number or something and would be an option that would be installed at the factory (or wherever the server was built) and it would arrive with the correct amount of memory. That’s certainly what I thought. It seemed only logical.
I was, of course, completely wrong. (How could I be so naive?) The servers arrived in server-sized (duh) boxes with the default amount of memory but each box was accompanied by a much smaller box (photo here as of this writing but my gut tells me that it may not last all that long — in case it’s gone, it was roughly the same dimensions as a CD jewel case except somewhat thicker) containing the memory upgrade and an envelope (not blue, thank god) containing instructions on how to return any memory that had to be removed to make room for the upgrade (because default configurations typically had all DIMM slots filled;
there’s a reason for that but the explanation is both long and not particularly relevant to the story).
So the first thing that had to be done (well, after opening boxes and grounding everything in sight) is undo a bazillion latches, unscrew half a bazillion screws, open the servers and start rampaging around inside like a bull in a china shop.
Well, maybe not exactly like that.
From there it was a matter of installing the server in its home (usually a rack but sometimes just a pile on a shelf), running diagnostics for a semi-infinite amount of time to make sure they were error-free, installing the operating system and confirming that the amount of memory was what you expected. If it wasn’t, then it was back to the china shop. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
After a time we had half a dozen functioning servers with the correct amount of memory and half a dozen boxes (roughly the same size as a jewel case, remember) and The Envelopes Of Doom. Envelopes Of Doom are always a little worrying but these ones, it appeared (heh), weren’t too bad. Phone this number, give them the order number (that was a number on the packing list that I put Somewhere. Somewhere safe. Somewhere impossible to find. Oops.), get an RMA number in return, scribble the RMA number on the box, wait for the shipper. Repeat process five more times, because doing it once would be too damned easy. But I’m not too bad at mindlessly repetitive tasks so before long the job was done and all I had to do is wait for the shipper.
I didn’t really wait for him, of course. I left the boxes (covered with RMA numbers like I had been told) in our general office — the one ten paces from the outside door. The one that all shippers (not that kind) and couriers go to. Job done, right?
Not quite. I happened to be in the neighbourhood of the office when the guy arrived. One of the Bitter Twins called out to me: “Hey Glace, the courier guy wants to talk to you.”
I stopped whatever it was I was doing and tried to look alert and faintly helpful. “Hey, dude, can you give me a hand getting your boxes to the truck?”
I looked confused but managed to come up with a witty yet pithy response.
“They told me that you had a half-dozen crates. I’ll probably need a hand getting them to the truck.” I walked past him, picked up the six slightly-larger-than-a-jewel-case boxes and handed them to him whereupon it was his turn to look confused. For a moment — then he used some… colourful language and walked toward the door, indicating that I should follow. Outside the door, completely blocking the street (residential area with slightly narrow streets and rows of parked cars), was the biggest damn tractor-trailer I had seen in weeks. Apparently someone had decided that since they were picking up six (SIX!) boxes of something, a large truck — a very large truck indeed — was required.
There are two morals to this story. The first is that, as I’ve mentioned, memory can be a funny thing. The second is that, even if the envelope isn’t blue, it can still hurt you.