The projection of myself that’s out there in the world, 3,000 miles away, is burning up my valuable reserves of professional dignity. I am formless, cut off. I am literally out of control.Seeking refuge, I steer unsteadily, like a drunk, into the cubicle of the articles editor. Normally, she’d greet me in a friendly, professional way. Instead, she laughs in terror and defensively turns her monitor toward me to prove that she’s working. I try to say something funny, hoping to retrieve our rapport, but she can’t seem to hear me. As other members of the Popular Science staff gather in her cube, I notice a chat window at the bottom of my screen. “Isn’t there audio?” I type. A pleasant but stilted female voice asks the question for me. There should be, I hear a colleague say. "Low battery," the screen reads. I’ve evidently been left unplugged too long, and it’s clear that I’m not going to be able to make it back to my charging station. I type a string of expletives and a promise to fire everyone. The woman’s polite monotone is halfway through my tirade when the screen freezes. My avatar is now dead, stranded awkwardly in my colleague’s cube. At my desk in California, the screen goes blank. I’m seized by panic. The projection of myself that’s out there in the world, 3,000 miles away, is burning up my valuable reserves of professional dignity. I am formless, cut off. I am literally out of control.