OK, here’s one. How to disappoint your daughter with technology.

17 07 2009

So I was asked by the wife to set up a computer in my 12 year-old daughter’s room the other day. We got an old HP that’s been laying around unused and needing service. So I bring it into work and ask the office techie to look at it. He cleans it up, brings it back in to my office.

This done, the next task is to get the computer out of the office building. Sure enough, the “Pass Guy” in the office that controls the pass is gone. 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon and he’s gone. Also gone if the firm’s finance manager, the head of HR and anyone else that might be able to get me a pass (trust me, lawyers do not “run” their law firms – if we did we wouldn’t be the ones here at all hours while staff slinks away to enjoy the great summer weather- but that’s again a blog for another day).

Crap. Going to have to see if I can get it past security. Wife’s already told the daughter I’m picking her up and taking her to buy a monitor, keyboard and mouse to go with the computer and “tonight’s the night” you’re finally getting the computer in your room that you’ve been begging for over the past several months. I’m stuck, no pass, have to make a run for it.

Anyway, into the elevator. “You know you need a pass don’t you?” I know this, but I’m reminded by one of the older partners in the office of this (I’ll write about this guy down the road – real character). “I know, I know.”

I mutter something to make sure the elder partner knows it’s my personal computer and I’m not making off with firm property. He jokes about the guy who every day was seen leaving a worksite with a wheelbarrow. Every day they stop him and check his wheelbarrow. Only has his own property in it and he’s let through. Turns out the guy was steeling wheelbarrows (get it?). Doors open, sure enough there’s one of the security guards marching my way. “Sir, I need to see your pass.”

I explain my situation. Pass Guy is gone, it’s my own computer, daughter’s waiting on it, here’s my business card showing I work in the building – can I bring the pass tomorrow?

Of course not. I now have to go to the “Main Security Desk” where the tired and seemingly very bored head of security looks at me like I’m dipped in… Well, not sure I want the blog to go there and have such language.

“You have a pass for that?”

“No sir. I’m told you can call our guy and get verbal approval for me to take this out.”

[Audible sigh from the guard…]

“Oooo kaaay (said sarcastically). What office are you in.”

“1600”

Anyway, the head guard looks up at me one more time. Again, it’s clear that I must have been dipped in …. Well, you know.

Calls our office’s “pass guy” and puts me on the phone.

Pass Guy: “How come you don’t have a pass?”

Me: “You’re not in the office.”

At this point, my cell phone rings. It’s now the wife calling for the second time to remind me that I need to bring the computer home and that daughter is excited to be going out to get the accessories.

I probably was a bit curt with the wife. “I know. I’m doing that now. Anything else?” All said in a way that was sure to bring me some scorn later (it did).

Anyway, given that “Pass Guy” has been busted for leaving the office early. I give the phone back to the guard. He then talks to Pass Guy, the guard looks over at me, obviously having heard from Pass Guy that I truly am dipped in ….

Dismissively, the guard tells me I can go. ‘Course, he adds the reminder: “Next time be sure to get a pass.”

I now have lost 30 minutes. Daughter is coming out of a class at 6PM. “No problems as long as traffic is OK” I think. “I’ve got a half hour. I’m fine.”

For those that don’t know, I work in the Loop in Chicago. On normal days, my commute can be 20 minutes. On abnormal days… Pfft…

Traffic is jammed. Oh, oh, this is going to be bad. Daughter’s going to be waiting in a strip mall outside the locked door of the class she is being let out of. Wait, after about 5 minutes, traffic opens enough that I can do some Formula One type driving weaving through traffic, tickets be dammed.

I get there at 6:02. I broke most traffic laws. Thankfully, daughter’s class has not let out yet. She comes out, I pick her up and it’s off to Best Buy we go.

So as we’re looking around, I point some keyboards and monitors out. We select some nice things and too the register we go. Nice moment any time you get to buy your child something they desperately want.

Shove down a quick meal from Portillo’s, drive home and it’s time to set up the computer. No problems. Get it all together, plug it in and it fires up.

Daughter sits down delighted to have the computer in her room. Clicks a few times, then looks at me and asks: “How come the Internet’s not opening?”

Here’s where I have to explain the decision made by the wife that daughter doesn’t need the Internet in her room. A decision I pretty much agree with – lots of creeps and bad stuff out there – but I’m also of the mind that a computer without Internet is basically a paperweight.

I then explain to daughter that we’re not hooking up the Internet. I’m advised that daughter was not told that by wife.

Far as daughter is concerned, I’m truly dipped in ….

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