(MarketWatch) — Time check, 5:19 a.m., fire up home computer, check MarketWatch Web site. British pound still rising. J.P. Morgan earnings good. BlackBerry service down across North America.
What! BlackBerry service down? Can’t be. Grab BlackBerry on desk, hit click wheel. Nothing. Turn it off and on. Again nothing. Stick device in chest pocket and read article on Web site.
5:25 a.m. — Head out front door. Check headlines on mobile phone. Call New York bureau to see if everyone else’s BlackBerrys are down. No one answers. Briefly consider whether NY has shut down as well. Could this be the catalyst to prick the private equity bubble? A simple technology wrench chucked into the vast wheel of hedge fund and private equity deal-making? Possible. Still no answer in NY.
5:47 a.m. — Arrive at dock for ferry service to San Francisco from Marin County. Reach into chest pocket to check BlackBerry again. Still down. Meet friend working on his handheld. It’s a Treo. Damn him.
5:48 a.m. — Stand on dock in the dark like an idiot. Check BlackBerry again.
5:49 a.m. — Check again.
5:50 a.m. — Check again. Wonder if anyone can get tennis elbow checking their BlackBerry. Marvel at how similar reaching for one’s Blackberry is to reaching for a pack of cigarettes. Same reach. Same addictive impulse. Should never have given up smoking.
5:55 a.m. — Board ferry. Bring newspaper to enjoy leisurely read away from e-mails.
5:59 a.m. — Finish paper. Nothing but yesterday’s news. Old earnings stories. Sports scores from games watched online last night. Inevitable gun control debate stories following shooting massacre. No mention of BlackBerry outage.
6:08 a.m. — Check BlackBerry again. Nothing. Send e-mail to myself to see what happens. Nothing.
6:14 a.m. — Notice sunrise over San Francisco Bay. Not bad. At least the world is not ending. Note to self: Look at sunrise each morning. Enter note in my BlackBerry calendar to receive alert reminding me when sun rises each day.
6:17 a.m. — Still staring at sun. Eyes hurting. Wonder if somebody on the other side of the world is looking at the sunset. Wonder if he has a BlackBerry that works.
6:18 a.m. — Try to calculate how many BlackBerry suckers are currently stuck at a boring breakfast speech or meeting and are forced to listen without escaping into cyberspace. Try to imagine them squirming. Smile with satisfaction. Notice I’m squirming.
6:20 a.m. — Arrive in San Francisco. Check BlackBerry again. Nothing. Wonder how shares of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. will open on the stock market. Wonder what act of monumental incompetence led to the outage. Begin to prepare for long-term withdrawal. Check cell phone to make sure it’s working. It is. Phew. Double-check.
6:30 a.m. — Arrive at office. Greet morning assignment editor. His BlackBerry is down too. Story updated on Web site. Tens of thousands of users apparently affected.
6:35 a.m. — Sync BlackBerry to office computer. Still nothing. Fire up ancient Windows Outlook desktop e-mail system. Watch as tsunami of overnight e-mail and spam flows across my screen.
6:36 a.m. — Engage virtual work existence. Revenue reports. Video news package discussions. Requests for conference calls. News that Herb Greenberg won an award for his blog. (Later on I’ll e-mail Herb to congratulate him and he will BlackBerry me back from the dentist’s chair, adding a new entry to my growing list of stupid BlackBerry tricks, including the driving BlackBerry, the walking-across-the-busy-street BlackBerry, and the no-hands bicycling BlackBerry.
6:40 a.m. — Notice that my BlackBerry is back in action, with e-mails streaming across the panel. About time. Stare with vapid fascination as tiny (but no longer trusted) companion springs back to life, along with my network.
6:41 a.m. — Scrap plans for day without BlackBerry. All is back to normal. Won’t have to tell wife. Too bad. She would have been psyched.
Thanks Bill Walbrecher for sharing this with me. Bill is the chief operating officer for Operation HOPE.