I hit at it frantically. Trying to cancel my last keystroke. Trying to abort a mistake. Fuckups flutter into my rushed typing, often with no consequence. Almost never memorable. Yet, I can’t stop the adrenaline of worry. My dread for a fatal error message that spells out death to the base file. I can’t escape the scene where my boss pulls me into the middle of the office. Demands to know why I billed nine-point-seven-five hours for file recovery. My humiliating defense, knowing I actually spent sixteen hours working late into Wednesday night. How I would sweat under the jurors of fluorescent lights. Even after I’ve bypassed disasters, sometimes I will cringe while driving home. Gasp at the thought of being fired. The road, briefly eclipsed by a flash of the six-figure principal on my student loans. It haunts my every keystroke. I would shrug this all off as a melodrama, but there are moments when I know I’m not alone in my agony. Like twenty minutes after 5:00p, when the coffee pot comes back to life in the nearly empty office. Or in the middle of the day, when my work is interrupted by the tap tap tap from the keyboard a few desks away. ESC // ESC // ESC.


I play abacus with the number pad

Sixty-thousand dollars from the loan request plus five-thousand dollars in change orders equals a voicemail left by the owner on the contractor’s answering machine. Subtract two days of no follow up call brings the total to a site visit from me. Separately, I subtract three hours in driving & thirty minutes of documenting bad news from my time making dinner this evening. To make up the difference, I add one stop at a convenience store for frozen pizza on my way home.


Shift + Right-click + “Copy as path”

Rather than send files over email, you can send paths to those files. Navigate to the file on the server, then hold shift and right-click on the file. In the drop down menu, select “copy as path”. This has many applications, like sharing files with your coworkers without using up your email’s memory.

If I were to open my work email on vacation, I would send a note to myself. I would send a path to this place : tiny island of nine-thousand square feet; haughty evergreens that screen my campsite from the lake; the silhouette of Brian in the clearing at the dock, just in sight from my hammock. I would send a note with this path, so that when I return to the deadlines, to the nights that end between the trying hours of disbelief that I’m still at work & existential doubt that humbles my fingers, I will have an email in the archives. A path to a how-to on staying alive until the next vacation.

Forrest Rike is a poet from Richmond, Virginia. You can find his poems published online at Rum//mage and The Woove.