My temper was starting to wear thin, so I called the cubicle where the computer was located. The Phantom did not answer. That did it -- it was time to lock the mouse and keyboard and cut off access. Against my better judgement, I gave the Phantom the benefit of the doubt and popped up one more message. You guessed it -- The Phantom closed the window and, even better, opened up a game.
Fed up, I locked the mouse and keyboard. I then closed The Phantom's windows and went at it yet again.
Shortly after I regained control, my connection dropped. I tried pinging the machine -- no response. The Phantom had switched off the computer.
I was so ticked off that I jumped in my car and drove to the office. I found the machine, turned it back on, and asked around to find out who'd been using that computer. No one admitted to it, and they presented a united front in stonewalling me. As the outsider from another department -- much less another location -- I got nothing.
The head of the department apologized for the incident, but little could be done at that point. I fixed the problem soon enough and left.
I never found out who was responsible. Perhaps it was a practical joker or an employee trying to blow off steam; maybe it wasn't a thoughtless jerk who enjoyed messing with me. Still, I can't shake the idea that The Phantom's blatant rudeness was par for the course, judging by the chilly reception the rest of the personnel gave me that day.
This story, "A phantom menace gives IT the slip," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.