Contemporary Living

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Last night I slept the uneasy sleep of someone who knew they would be disturbed by an early call. Sunday was maintenance day, and my system administration duties were going to require me to be involved in a server shutdown at 6AM.

Juxtaposed with this commitment was the awareness that Nash, the puppy who spends 75% of her life sleeping, has entered a phase where she wakes up with the 5:30AM first light and doesn't stop barking until someone takes her upstairs (so she can immediately fall asleep again). So during my slumber I wasn't sure which was going to wake me up first, Middleware or my dog. At some point that night - before Nash started barking and my phone started ringing at almost the exact same time - I realised: I am Nash's system administrator.

The more I thought about it the more it made sense. I restart her each morning, I deploy food and entertainment and I clear out her temp folder on a regular basis. I constantly monitor and perform health checks.

Maintenance day continued on, things went badly and I ended up doing a lot more maintenance than I'd planned on. Nash took it well enough, sleeping on the landing as I fucked around with SSL certificate chains and hypervisors who abruptly lost their network storage layers. At some point I took a short break and sat next to Nash on the landing to perform a patting health check while I waited for someone to restart an external service. Boston's More Than a Feeling played in the background. While we sat there thinking about the sunshine we should have been in we heard a bang and then some fluttering from downstairs.

Nash bolted down to investigate and I followed close behind. It turned out that Nash wasn't just sleeping patiently during my work, at some point she'd dragged her food dispenser toy into the back living room and then abandoned it. A pigeon sniffed it out and had walked through the crack in the back door to eat it. The pigeon froze when he saw Nash round the corner, tail up and eyes full of playful hunger. The bird attempted to find the way back out, but in its panic became disorientated and crashed into the wall. Nash and the pigeon then had a thirty-second burst of static that ended with feathers everywhere and me holding Nash by the collar as the bird tried to escape. I opened the door wider and the pidgeon managed to hop outside and fly away. Nash watched it go, heaving and grinning. Then she coughed up a gooey mouthful of feathers and muck and then lay down and curled into a ball to sleep.

I didn't have a systems administration analogy for that.