When playing Left 4 Dead, one of the biggest pleasures in the game is when you’re playing as the infected, namely the Smoker, and you manage to capitalize on a situation where the survivors must traverse an obstacle to where there is no returning once crossed, and you get that one perfect smoke, capturing one of the players, basically stranding them from the other three, and there is nothing that the other team can do, except accept their loss of one teammate as you watch with glee as your Smoker strangles the player to death with the satisfying neck snap sound at the very end. There are many places in which this kind of scenario can take place, and it is one of the best feelings in the world when executed correctly.
I’m currently working an assignment now, for a company that I freelanced with back in the winter of 2007. I was reluctant to come back here, because the work wasn’t all that glamorous, and most importantly, I didn’t like the notion that freelancers weren’t permitted internet access, thus cutting off my channel to the rest of the world; I work fast, and I like to create my own downtime, to which I like to use to chat, email, and occasional surfing. But the pay rate at this place is among the best I’ve had in recent years, and since paying the bills and having beer money is pretty essential, I took it.
However, this time, I have an ace up my sleeve, and in fact it’s here while at work that I’m posting this clever analogy.
Obviously, it’s my netbook. There is no wifi connection out here, but this is where the ability to tether my cell phone to my netbook for a makeshift internet connection comes in very handy. Sure enough, the machine I’m on now is logged into a freelance account, which to no surprise, has no internet access, but I’m still online, thanks to my netbook and cell phone. Salvation.
The best part is where the analogy comes into play – the IT manager here, I fondly remember in my last stint here, on my first day, I mowed through the first slew of assignments I was given, and sure, while waiting for people to get back to me, I did a little surfing; nothing offensive or anything, just checking up on Sports Illustrated’s website, reading some columns, etc. And then the next day, I found myself in a similar situation, but instead, was greeted to obvious signs that my internet connectivity had been axed. I left at the end of the month, citing “previous engagements,” which was partially true, but mostly due to the stifling nature of this place.
Anyway, now that I’m back, making the big bucks, in between work, I’m checking my email, chatting with a few select folks, keeping my sanity in check in the midst of the mindless work and the tedious tasks. And then the IT manager walks by; I’m sure he hardly remembers me, but he glances and sees this foreign machine present on the desk next to my person. Trying to not be obvious and failing miserably, he does the thing where he pretends to need to speak to someone beyond my work station, who’s obviously gone, and then turns around and glances back at my setup on the way back. I’m sure he can see the AIM windows and the Gmail interface on my miniature screen. He does this several more times, and I can tell it’s pissing him off – freelancers aren’t supposed to have any freedoms!!!
Best part is that this morning, as I sat down at my work machine to log in, I noticed that it was showing that he himself was the last guy to have logged into this machine; as if he were snooping around this iMac to see what kind of black magic I performed on it to maybe think that I jerry-rigged it to where I could usurp a proxy from it and connect or something; but no dice, it’s coming from my cell phone. Instead, I remain here, connected, and he can’t figure it out.
It’s my own personal hardware, connected to my own personal cell phone’s provided internet connection. Except I’m on company property. And much like a good Smoker’s attack, there is nothing that he can do about it.