This is my computer guy, Nate. He’s also my husband. He’s a pretty great guy, even if he is a spendaholic and drives me utterly insane on occasion. But he’s got opposable thumbs like you would NOT believe and uses them to give me foot massages that turn me into jello so I guess I can tolerate a little batshit crazy now and then.
After sharing eleven years together, nine being married, and all that goes with it, like two kids, two moves, two decks, 1.5 bathroom renovations, a succession of cars, a couple of vacations, countless holidays, family gatherings, fourteen hour car trips, flooded basements, some medical scares, 5,673 gallons of paint, more take-out pizza than any four humans can possibly consume, and one chia pet incident, I thought I knew everything there was to know about Nate but when Helena asked me the other day what Daddy did for a job, I realized there was one area I was still a little fuzzy about.
This is what it says on his business card:
I told Helena he worked with computers, because that was all I really understood of his job and it was the only thing I felt I really needed to know because it came in handy every so often when my computer decided to get pissy and act up. This inevitably would happen early in the morning and I would then call Nate at work, frantic for help:
Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.
Nate: Nate speaking.
Me: It’s me.
Me: You knew it was me, didn’t you?
Nate (big sigh): I had an idea.
Me: I need help.
Nate: No kidding. What’s the problem?
Me: The Internet is broken.
Nate: What do you mean, it’s broken?
Me: I can’t get on it. It won’t let me on it. It hates me. It just HATES me. Why do these things always happen to me? Why? Why is everything so hard? Why can’t anything be easy in this world? What do I do now? What’s wrong with it? It is such a piece of shit. I hate it. I hate its guts, I swear to God I do.
Me: Nate? Did you hang up?
Nate: I’m here. I had to take you off speaker phone. What do you mean by “it?” What is “it?”
Me: This thing called a computer and another thing called the Internet. What do you think I mean? Are you mocking me?
Nate: Did you reboot?
Me: Yes, Nate. I know the rule. I always reboot before I call you. I am not a moron.
Nate: Did you turn the computer off all the way?
Me: Am I an idiot? Of course I did.
*silently turns the computer off*
Nate: Did you turn off the router and DSL modem?
Me: I don’t know. Where are they?
Nate: Under the counter.
Me: Where under the counter? There are a lot of things under the counter.
Nate: They have lights on them. You’re going to actually have to move to see them.
Me: You mean, I can’t just sit here and whistle and have them come running to me?
Nate (getting impatient and snippy): Just look for them. Tell me when you find them.
Me (muffled from under the counter): I see them. I think. No, wait. They’re gone. Hang on … ok, I think I see them. Why are they so far back?
Nate: I don’t know.
Me: Well, did you put them here or did they just walk here themselves?
And so it would go until he’d walk me through getting my computer back online and I’d hang up, feeling relieved and irritated at the same time. I don’t like calling Nate at work and I try only to do it as a last resort, as in right before flinging myself out of my second-story office window. He’s not friendly. He’s distant, slightly condescending, has no patience with me whatsoever and conveniently forgets that I bore his child. I think his business card should read:
All I knew about Nate’s job was that he left the same time every morning, came back the same time every night (more or less), dressed nicely and occasionally went golfing during the day with people known only as “vendors” who gave him shirts and lunch and how they knew to do this on days that I actually made a complete dinner that Nate wouldn’t eat, having been too stuffed from lunch, was a constant source of aggravation. He’s always gotten excellent reviews and every one of his co-workers that I have met has nothing but good things to say about him. I bet they never had to call him at 7:00 a.m., to discuss why the Internet hates them and then crawl around the floor on their hands and aching knees under a counter for a router and modem that have been shoved all the way to East Bum You-Know-What.
So in an effort to get to know my husband better, I sat down opposite him last night and asked him about his job:
No response as he’s reading the paper and choosing to ignore me. I speak louder.
Me: NATE? NATE? I’M STILL HERE.
Nate heaves a highly exaggerated sigh and peers over his paper at me.
Me: Am I interrupting you?
Nate: Does it look like you are interrupting me?
Long pause. Then, exasperated when I don’t vanish into thin air …
Nate: What is it?
Me: What do you do, exactly?
Nate (staring at me): What do you mean “what do I do?” When?
Me: You know … at work. What exactly do you do? What is your job?
Long pause. Nate stares at me.
Nate: Are you asking what I do? For a job?
Me: Yes, I believe that is the question I asked.
Nate: You don’t know what I do.
Me: Yes, I do. I know you’re a Team Leader. I just need some specifics.
Nate (slowly): I am a Manager.
Me: Oh! A manager? When did that happen?
Nate: Four years ago.
Nate: Are you trying to tell me that you have no idea what I do?
Me: No, I am not trying to tell you that.
Nate: By that, you mean you are actually telling me that.
Nate: And we’ve been married how long?
Me: Nine wonderful years.
Nate: I am an IS Manager, in charge of network security, network support and email teams for the internal private NAME OF COMPANY THAT I’M NOT ALLOWED TO ACTUALLY SAY OUT LOUD corporate network.
Me (furiously scribbling on paper): Wow, that is pretty impressive. I am proud of you.
Nate: What are you doing? Why are you writing this down?
Me: Because it’s important and I care about it because I care about you.
Nate drops the paper. Gets agitated. Changes color.
Nate: Are you going to blog about this? About me? About my job? About my company?
Me: Absolutely not. Yes.
Nate: Let me get this straight. You are going to blog about me. I am going to be the subject of your blog. Is this accurate?
Me: It’s very possible.
Nate: You do realize you have to be careful, right? You cannot just throw around the company name. There are legalities and rules. There are security risks. You do understand that, correct? You can’t just blog carelessly.
Me: I can’t?
Nate stares at me hard.
Nate: You have to be careful. You must blog carefully.
Me: Dammit, there goes tomorrow’s post.
For the record, there was no opposable thumb action last night.