On the panel again on the FEC (as mentioned HERE). Always easier the second time around – I know what to expect. And now we’re in the zone.
In the early days of programming (back before SOX and process and other such rubbish) I’d go into the zone a lot. Also, writing sometimes puts me there. This is when you are furiously working on multiple levels, with your brain seemingly running at capacity, fully engaged. In the zone, time doesn’t pass, it doesn’t even exist. You are fully focused, dealing with each issue as they come up.
I’ve got the sheet on the desk and the panel on the wall, all lit with yellow and green. I’ve got a local working Palm bay, a coal drag swapping out the power plant, and three trains nosing past each other at Titusville. For a moment or two, it feels like I’m about to tip under, that I can’t remember who is where doing what. Deep breath. Look at the sheet. Remind myself. Keep everyone moving.
I’m told I chatter too much while I dispatch but honestly I can’t remember it. I just know I’m moving trains across the division, one after another. The superintendent chides me twice for getting trains through too fast – I’m not checking the schedule and am overloading the yard. I try to correct this, even though it feels like a personal failure, a crew sitting motionless, looking at an inexplicable red board.
Eventually the superintendent calls the session – I exhale and look at the clock. It’s after 4:30pm and we started just before 1pm. I sorta remember a thunderstorm, the lights blinking (when the [panel came back up, I had to reactivate all the signals). I remember laughing with the superintendent about the hash a local made of Palm Bay, of some issues with the new yardlette, of a short or two. But on the table before me are two sheets with my abominable handwriting, showing trains meeting and proceeding. The nearby arrivals box is packed full of train paperwork; did we move that much?
I get home an find I’m knackered. After dinner, I can hardly keep my eyes open. I’m asleep by 9:30pm.
Yeah, it was a blast.