He stopped at the machine to get himself a guarana/medafonil power-bar and a cup of lethal robot-coffee in a spill-proof clean-room sippy-cup. He wolfed down the bar and sipped the coffee, then let the inner door read his hand-geometry and size him up for a moment. It sighed open and gusted the airlock's load of positively pressurized air over him as he passed finally to the inner sanctum. It was bedlam. The cages were designed to let two or three sysadmins maneuver around them at a time ...
When Felix’s special phone rang at two in the morning, Kelly rolled over and punched him in the shoulder and hissed, “Why didn’t you turn that ******* thing off before bed?”
“Because I’m on call,” he said.
“You’re not a ******* doctor,” she said, kicking him as he sat on the bed’s edge, pulling on the pants he’d left on the floor before turning in. “You’re a ********* systems administrator.”
“It’s my job,” he said.
“They work you like a government mule,” she said. “You know I’m right. For Christ’s sake, you’re a father now, you can’t go running off in the middle of the night every time someone’s **** supply goes down. Don’t answer that phone.”
He knew she was right. He answered the phone.
“Main routers not responding. BGP not responding.” The mechanical voice of the systems monitor didn’t care if he cursed at it, so he did, and it made him feel a little better.
“Maybe I can fix it from here,” he said. He could login to the UPS for the cage and reboot the routers. The UPS was in a different netblock, with its own independent routers on their own uninterruptible power-supplies.
Kelly was sitting up in bed now, an indistinct shape against the headboard. “In five years of marriage, you have never once been able to fix anything from here.” This time she was wrong—he fixed stuff from home all the time, but he did it discreetly and didn’t make a fuss, so she didn’t remember it. And she was right, too—he had logs that showed that after 1AM, nothing could ever be fixed without driving out to the cage. Law of Infinite Universal Perversity—AKA Felix’s Law.
Five minutes later Felix was behind the wheel. He hadn’t been able to fix it from home. The independent router’s netblock was offline, too. The last time that had happened, some dumbf—k construction worker had driven a ditch-witch through the main conduit into the data-center and Felix had joined a cadre of fifty enraged sysadmins who’d stood atop the resulting pit for a week, screaming abuse at the poor bastards who labored 24-7 to splice ten thousand wires back together.
His phone went off twice more in the car and he let it override the stereo and play the mechanical status reports through the big, bassy speakers of more critical network infrastructure offline. Then Kelly called.
“Hi,” he said.
“Don’t cringe, I can hear the cringe in your voice.”
He smiled involuntarily. “Check, no cringing.”
“I love you, Felix,” she said.
“I’m totally bonkers for you, Kelly. Go back to bed.”