Sunday, March 07, 2021

Back to ‘normality’ again, again. Again.

At 6am this morning, New Zealand went down one Covid Alert Level: Auckland moved from 3 to 2, and the rest of the country from 2 to 1. This is where we were three weeks ago, and also in August last year. If there aren’t any new community transmission cases over the week, Auckland will join the rest of the country at Alert Level 1, and we’ll again be back to as normal as things have been over the past year. It’s be the third time we've been through this since the Alert Level 4 Lockdown last year.

This time, the Alert Level change affected me directly because I had something that was supposed to be sorted the week before, but Auckland locked-down again. What I needed to do was something that completed a task Nigel gave me in his final days. To do that, I followed my values, too. It’s not every day that happens.

A few weeks ago I was checking Nigel’s email, as I do from time to time, and among all the spam and scam emails (which is what it mostly is now) was one saying that Nigel had a personal message on a service he used. The service was for self-described tech geeks and included a forum where users could post questions, get advice, that sort of thing. It also had a sort of exchange where people could sell and exchange equipment they no longer needed/wanted.

I logged into Nigel’s account and found that it was about one of those latter things: The guy Nigel bought his servers from was contacting him to ask what the model number was because he couldn’t find anything as good. The servers were the ones Nigel was using at the time he died, and he told me he wanted me to erase them—even though I had no idea how to do that, and I didn’t even know the log-ins (one of those things you don’t know until you do know you don’t know).

I ended up having an IT company here in Hamilton come to the house I was moving from and take down all the servers (mine and Nigel’s). They took them and reorganised them into two servers, and left Nigel’s original two unneeded, and they sat in my garage for the past year.

I sent a message to the guy telling him Nigel had died, and I wasn’t entirely sure, but I thought I’d found the model number for him (the truth is that I wasn’t even sure what I was talking about until I googled the name and saw a photo of the servers). A few responses later and he offered to buy them back, but here’s the thing: To me, they were pretty much just junk cluttering up my garage. The IT folks offered to take the servers away so they could be responsibly recycled, but I hesitated (at the time, Nigel had only been dead about four months, and I probably wasn’t ready to get rid of something that was so associated with Nigel for me, even though I still had all the data that had been on them). Here was a person who’d had the servers and could use them again, where I couldn’t.

I took the servers to the IT company to have them securely-wiped, that is, erasing them using permanent destruction of any data on them. So, I told the guy that I was just glad that someone could use the servers, and I told him I’d be be happy if he just paid for the erasing of the severs, and he agreed. So, essentially, I gave them away.

Nigel and I shared the desire to give what we could to help people, especially people we know. Nigel gave away a lot stuff to family over the years, and I still do (clothes, towels, furniture, and more to come). So, me essentially giving away the servers is consistent with the values Nigel and I shared.

It’s true that I had an unusual advantage here: I had no idea how much Nigel had paid for the servers, so it was easy for me to think of them as having no value because, for me, they didn’t. But even if I’d known, it wouldn’t have made any difference: I still would have been happy with breaking even. See, I get rid of stuff cluttering up my garage, didn’t pay to erase them, and they went to the person who used them before Nigel and who still likes them. Plus, Nigel’s servers are now finally securely erased, just as he’d wanted. Wins all around, as far as I’m concerned.

The obstacle to finishing all this was Auckland’s lockdown. I picked up the servers a week ago yesterday, and then it was announced that the Level change would happen today at 6am the next morning. And that was that until 6am this morning when the lockdown ended and it was possible for the guy to come to Hamilton to pick up the servers.

Auckland has been under lockdown for a week, and maybe five hours later someone from Auckland was coming to my house. Now, I’m well aware that there was no risk, but we all have a duty to make sure the country is kept safe. I had a plan.

Last October, the government encouraged people to generate a QR code for their house so that Trick or Treaters could use the Covid Tracer App to scan where they went. I made a QR code, not for Halloween, but because I knew that workers would be coming to my house at some point or other, and the responsible thing would be to make it possible for them to scan in.

This morning I loaded the Covid Tracer App with my QR code onto my iPad. I don’t have a printer hooked up to my computer unless I need one, so printing it was a little complicated, and this is easier—especially because I don’t have to post the sheet anywhere.

The guy did scan in, and so, another of my values—in this case, doing my bit to keep us all safe—was met. I also found out that using my iPad for that was a great idea.

This was a good day. The Covid Alert levels changed, which affected me directly because I planned to complete a task Nigel gave me in his final days, and that, in turn, gave me the chance to follow my values. It’s not every day that happens, but today it did. And that made it a good day.

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