Yesterday I’d spent 16 hours working on our quarterly patching weekend, where all of the servers go offline so we can apply patches. It was exhausting. They’d changed up the system this time: I would be in charge of validating everything our team covers. If there was a problem I’d call the appropriate person to fix it, and I’d just go on validating.

Of course, the three times there were problems, I got stuck fixing them since nobody responded. Needless to say, this morning I was tired and angry. But it was Sunday. I grocery shopped and decided to haul my camera down to a state park to get my hobby on.

The drive was quite pleasant. Little traffic, good tunes, not too hot so I had all the windows down. A straight shot down the interstate isn’t the most fascinating drive, of course, but it was as good as it could get.

I arrived at High Falls State Park and was greeted by a kindly old lady who charged me a fiver for parking. I parked, crossed the picnic area, and took a few pictures at the dam.

This one was obviously manmade. The water cascaded down it like a giant fake indoor waterfall, except much louder and even pretty in its way… aside from the big PVC pipes at one end. But after getting a few shots of that I crossed the road to go downstream and hike the nature trail by the natural falls. The kindly old lady pointed out that it was a mile and a half trail, so I looked forward to a bit of exercise lugging about my camera gear.

And it was indeed lovely. Immediately past the road the downhill trail began, down manmade stairs and onto the rocks, through the forest. The trail was marked with bright red spots on the trees. I stopped here and there to snap pictures and tried to stay out of the way of a family picnicking near the river.

There were a few small paths from the main trail down to the bank and I tried a few at random. None were pretty, but one trail led me to a tiny beach made of small pebbles and shells. It was dry and just at the base of the second rocky cascade, where the rushing sound of the water, as well as a bit of the water itself, filled the air. I put down my bag, sat on a small rock, and enjoyed the atmosphere. The only thing spoiling the view was a small section of wooden walkway out over the river on the return leg of the hike. I probably had all of about two minutes to soak in the peace when my phone rang.

It was work. Of course. My system was down, and the only person from my immediate team who ansnwered was me, meaning of course that I had to fix it. The others, for whom I had covered yesterday, were nowhere to be found. One that’s part of my larger team did call in, but she’s on-call and required to. She was on the road and would have trouble assisting, so I got to hike back to my car.

I had probably made a quarter of a mile. I was sweating like mad climbing back up the rocks and stairs, leaving my peaceful spot behind. I had to stop at the beginning of the trail where there’s a bench to wheeze for a while (and try to get my blood pressure under control). It was only after I’d reached that point, about 100 yards from my car and the laptop contained therein, that the problem management team decided to start discussing whether they should call some of my backups. Good timing, folks.

I did make it back to the car, past the little old lady who sympathized with me, and got the problem fixed in pretty short order.

But really, I should have known better. God forbid that I can rely on anything relating to my job: coworkers handling a problem for me, being there when they’re supposed to be, my system giving me a chance to go outside now and then. It’s really just wishful thinking that I should have a chance to have a family, or friends, or in this case a hobby. What was I thinking?

On the way home I got some Burger King. They’ve added the Angry touch to the original chicken sandwich, so I tried one. They have made it spicier since last time I tried something: they added two small slices of jalepeno. I’d still be comfortable giving it to Zoe.

Still trying to get my blood pressure under control.