This evening at work I was presented with requests to write about two different and seemingly entirely unrelated subjects that nevertheless dealt with some of the same people and also dealt with some of the same concerns, concerns which I find in my own life to an alarming degree as it is. Being someone who tends to respond positively to requests to write, and who has a sort of informal role as a chronicler of the lives of those close to me, sometimes happily, sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly, and sometimes very unhappily, I sought to figure out the common elements in the stories, so as to pass along some sense of the complexity of the situations I find myself a witness to and involved in, and how they provide examples of the overdetermined nature of the challenges I face in life. That said, I wish it to be clear that for the most part I am a chronicler of these tales, and not very conspicuous as a lead actor in them, more like a supporting actor who seeks to give encouragement and support to others who are acting in these cases.
After hearing about how a former colleague of mine ran afoul of the police for his causing a disturbance and creepy staring at some of my coworkers, I made the offhand comment that the story reminded me of a Lifetime movie. While, admittedly, Lifetime is not one of my favorite networks, they have a consistent pattern when it comes to making melodrama. Picture the scene–a mysterious and overly intense middle aged man responds to a job ad on craigslist, and gets a job as a seasonal supervisor, but immediately wants to make his presence felt and show his expertise, developing an unrequited obsession on his supervisor. This behavior, bordering on stalking, becomes increasingly problematic, leading to HR intervention and eventual separation, but still there is no peace, leading instead to concerns about legal measures and the need for protection from apparent harm, and concerns about the person’s psychological state. This is, indeed, the script to a workplace drama as it would appear on Lifetime, only in this case it is not a fictional tale at all. Sometimes life really is that melodramatic, that bizarre, that unsettling. It is distressing to see the sort of stress it has caused for my colleague, who is a very gentle and mild lady, with a loving fiance and the tendency to treat others with kindness. Surely she has not in any way deserved this difficulty, nor does she wish any harm to the other person, just to be left alone, to not be troubled by seeing the person, or hearing from him, or having to hear about him. Is that too much to ask for?
While all of this was going on, part of one of the never-ending sagas of which I am a witness and a minor and unwilling participant, a much happier but vastly more technical set of issues was going on as well. Over the long Thanksgiving weekend one of my colleagues and occasional travel buddy and fellow sushi fan decided to upgrade the SQL server on our virtual server machine from 2008 R2 to 2004. This is, as might be imagined, a fairly drastic change, and despite some hiccups, the upgrade appears to have worked out rather well. What struck me as particularly telling was that the process of upgrading was transparent, that the problems resulting from the drastic upgrade were resolved through timely communication, and that the changes made to the software reminded my coworker of the fact that he was dealing with a virtual machine that was serving as an ersatz server, and not an actual fully functional or “real” server, which may involve future hardware changes. Sometimes that is how life works, that some beneficial changes remind us that other changes are needed as well to get the most out of life, and so our growth impels growth in other ways also.
This reminded me as well of the recent sermon this past Sabbath, where the speaker spoke a lot about his work experience . Specifically, I was reminded of the coworker of the speaker’s who claimed to embrace a change that he seemed to subconsciously sabotage through his unwillingness to change and grow. As part of the effort to become more familiar with SQL, a task that has required and will require a great deal of focus, practice, and effort , I was invited by the in-house SQL expert to attend an upcoming meeting of the 2015 Oregon SQL in a week and a half to discuss some of the changes with the new server methodology from some Microsoft experts. I signed up, willing to go, but also aware that I would not be going to the meeting as an expert but rather as a willing listener looking to learn, who will do my best to keep quiet and take good notes even if I do not think I will have all that much to provide in terms of the questions and feedback that the meeting organizers are looking for. Nevertheless, it does promise to be an interesting way to spend three hours in the evening in the middle of the week. I expect to have much to write about, if perhaps a bit hard to understand. I hope, as always, that my readers will give me the benefit of the doubt when it comes to what I share about my personal life.
 See, for example: