“I have no idea. These boxes have been here since I started.”
Two boxes of cat-5e cable have been sitting there for two months, the wires going up into the ceiling of the basement. “I’m supposed to be fixing this ceiling, but I’m afraid to touch them.” The fella is a ‘just’ a labourer but these are good instincts. I normally stay out of the way of the other tradesmen, but this guy actually approached me, wondering what some of the wires were.
I hate this dumb building. In the process of being renovated, it is partially ripped apart, a real disaster area. This is one of these places that has a gazillion rooms in its basement and none of them make sense. This is where all the Ethernet (and telephone, electrical, who knows what else, etc…) cables are, dozens of ’em along walls and ceiling, no rhyme or reason to it. Half of them aren’t even hooked up to anything, or rather, anymore. There is a tendency for telco and computer people to string new cable and leave the old stuff in the walls because there is this general fear that if we cut them, something important might stop working. This is acutely true for this place. I’ve been working on it on and off for two months and I’m still uncovering hidden rooms around the sprawling property with computer systems (some attached to the network and some not). The staff also hook up and move stuff when I’m not around. They don’t mean it in a bad way, but sometimes they don’t understand that I’m not omniscient and don’t know about all the little changes that have been made when I’m not around.
I look at the dusty wire boxes. “Well they aren’t going to anything since the wires are still on the rolls. And you say these have been here for months? Give me your pliers.” The building is full of abandoned wiring bullshit and I’ve had enough. I cut the wires off from the boxes and shove them aside. “There, now you can do your ceiling.”
A while later I’m talking to the electrician, who is also trying to cope with bizarre condition of the electrical systems. We walk down the hall and he spies the wires I just cut and starts cursing. “What the fuck is this?! Who the fuck did this?”
Well, that’s my fuck-up. You see, this is the reason why you never remove old cable. It also is the reason you hire a foreman, rather than have a bunch of tradesmen like me sort of go at it randomly.
After I apologize to the man, I tell him I thought the cables were abandoned. He tells me the cables were intended to support a computer system. He’d been told there was to be “Internet” in a location upstairs so he pulled two cat-5 lines. He didn’t know where the other end of the “Internet” was supposed to go so he left the boxes there, figuring someone would fill him in later. That was months ago. Normally the telco guys do the communications wiring for me, but I guess he figured he was supposed to do it. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he was wasting his time, as there will never be a computer in the location he wired, but I promised him that I would splice and patch the wires back to the central hub myself when the reno was done.
Why do I get involved in these sort of jobs? I dunno.