Last Friday was rather eventful.
As you know, I’m teaching a class from 12:00 – 1:00 everyday, and this causes me to miss my usual lunch break. So on Friday I made plans to go eat Mexican food with Ben at 11:00.
About ten minutes till eleven, I got a phone call. The network connection to our Federal Programs office was down. I didn’t think much of it, I had called Southwestern Bell to repair the T1 line earlier, and I assumed they were still working on it. As soon as I hung up the phone I got another call. The T1 line to our kindergarten campus was down. Now things were getting strange.
I tried to ping the router at the high school from my desk without success. That meant the T1 line between the admin building (where my office is) and the high school was also down. I called the high school to see what was going on, but no one answered. It was now five minutes till eleven so I decided it could wait until after lunch.
Right after I sat down in the restaurant, my pager went off. It was the helpdesk of our ISP asking if our internet connection was down. Of course it was.
After finishing my enchiladas, I drove to the high school to investigate. In the server closet I saw something I’ve never seen before — no lights on any of our T1 lines. No warnings, no errors, nothing. The lines had been cut somewhere between the high school and the phone company office downtown.
Not only were the T1 lines down, the regular phone lines were also down. That’s why no one answered earlier.
At this point I was thinking this is one reason why we’re replacing the T1 lines with fiber from Cox. Fiber is usually more reliable than copper. As I walked down to the room where I teach my class, I looked out the door and noticed the guys from Cox digging a ditch from the building to a pole where the fiber would come in.
In class, we worked on a few simple programs, everyone groaned about next week’s test, and then it was over. As I walked out of the room, I looked out the back door again and noticed something a little different. The tractor had stopped, and everyone was looking down into the ditch. I walked outside and looked at the mangled pipe and large puddle foming in the bottom of the ditch. First no phones, and now no water.
I stopped off in a class room a few doors down from mine to work on a computer before I left. As I walked in I was grumbling about our troubles. One of the students asked “are we gonna go home?” Interesting.
About that time, the intercom switched on and the principal started making an announcement: “As you may know, the water line to the school has been cut and we don’t have water. What you might not know is that the phone lines have also been cut and we don’t have phone service in the building either. So, we are preparing to dismiss.”
It’s hard to describe the exact sound that I heard at this point. Imagine the sound a child makes on Christmas morning when they see their first bike, now multiply that by a thousand. This is sort of like the sound that echoed through the halls.
Knowing that these kids were about to be unleashed on the parking lot, I decided to make a quick exit. I fled to the relative safety of my office. I hung out there until 3:30, and then called it a day.