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Kharmin Goes Incommunicado

“Sometimes it seems like I’ve been here before.”

There are two meanings in the quoted lyric above. The first is that, once again, I am switching jobs (once again, not by my choosing). My job was officially eliminated back in September of 2006, but outstanding projects and other considerations enabled me to stay until the end of February 2007. Fortunately, I was able to find another job which starts today.

The second meaning in the lyric is more about the title of the song: Incommunicado. Mirriam-Webster online defines this as, “without means of communication : in a situation or state not allowing communication”. On Friday of last week, virtually all of my ability to communicate was taken from me: my cell phone, pager and laptop. Well, after all, those items did belong to the company so rightfully they were returned. But in this day and age, and me being an IT person, it was surreal to not have any means of instant communication.

I took our daughter out to the mall yesterday. My wife had an event she had to attend, so I felt it might be fun to take the little one out and let her run around a bit. She had been struck again with whatever stomach virus is going around, and by Sunday was antsy to get out of the house. So, away we went.

It was only for a few hours, but in that time I had no way of reaching anyone if there were an emergency. Also, there was no way to reach me. It was liberating to a point, but also somewhat eerie. I had had that cell phone for over six years, and being constantly on-call, it was always with me. I had grown so accustomed to it, that I stopped wearing a watch because the time was always available on the phone’s display. Once at the mall for a while, I realized that I had no idea what time it was, and you know what– it was relaxing. No set schedule to keep, no worry about being out too long and no constant checking the clock. We were able to spend whatever time we wanted at the mall, and my daughter took full advantage of that. Innumerable times we treked back to the center of the mall where the fountain cascaded its water to a lower basin, where she could reach over the wall (with Daddy’s help), touch the water and with much glee remark every time that it was, “cold and wet.”

We circled the mall several times, both with her riding in the stroller and with her pushing it (and Daddy wishing that he were riding). We ate a hot dog and had some Boardwalk fries. At the dollar store, we bought a mylar balloon with Mickey Mouse on it, which was unusual because she usually chooses the one with Winnie the Pooh. We went to one of the major department stores that anchored the mall and rode the escalator up and down a few times. This was really fun for her because after each trip she’d smile up at me and say, “Do again!”

Finally, it was time to head home, get her bath and put her to bed. She had had a full afternoon, and after it was all said and done, and she was cradled in my arms in the rocking chair next to her crib all snuggled up in her blanket with her thumb firmly planted in her mouth, I asked her if she had had fun at the mall with Daddy. “Yesssh,” she said sleepily without removing her thumb, and although it was dark in the room I could hear the smile in her voice. What a day!

So, although I may have been incommunicado to the rest of the world, I was completely in touch with my little girl. Being in the IT industry, I suppose my employment will come and go, much like it has over the last ten years, but the time I am able to spend with my family– especially my child– is time much better spent without watching a clock.

As the song quoted above ends, “It’s the only way.”

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