MONTPELIER – All of Vermont’s state government went without internet access yesterday after a fiber optic cable was accidentally severed, eliminating access to all state servers, websites, e-mails, and other online services. State employees arrived at work to find the internet was out, and it was not restored until late afternoon, but by that time it was too late to prevent massive amounts of work being done and huge progress towards many important goals.
“For the first hour or so we were all just kind of in shock,” said state employee Colin Sicke. “We kind of just sat there, waiting for the internet to come back on, but by 10 or 11 a few people started wandering away from their desks and actually talking to each other. I mean, we didn’t even have the wi-fi, dammit. The wi-fi!”
By lunch time there were reports of employees having multiple discussions with each other, and departments who hadn’t spoken for years suddenly found ways around several deep inconsistencies in the bureaucratic process, working out updated systems that would make life better and easier for many Vermonters. New ideas were had, friendships were formed, and a subtle understanding of the bigger picture of government began to emerge in even the darkest of souls.
“It was nuts,” said Sicke. “By 3 o’clock everyone was talking, laughing, even writing stuff down on pieces of paper, if you can believe it. We all had to think for ourselves and rely on each other to get the job done, and it was fulfilling! So many things that are a huge hassle, well, turned out they could be fixed pretty easily with a few minor tweaks. Every department could suddenly hear every other department speaking their same language. We all understood each other, and respected each other. Like I said, it was nuts.”
When the internet was restored just after 3 PM, it took a few minutes for Sicke and the other state employees to realize that connectivity had been restored, but by 3:45 they had all slowly migrated back to their desks and spent the last few moments of their work day staring at their screens.
“Honestly, we would love to implement all that stuff we came up with, but now that we’re logged back in, well, it seems like a lot of work to type it all up. And actually, the computer systems weren’t really built to do things the way we thought maybe we should do them. I don’t think it’s even possible to make those changes within the confines of the system. But I’m gonna put in a work request to IT and see if maybe they can eventually make a few of those tweaks. Who knows? In a few years we might be one step closer to the world we dreamed up yesterday.”