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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Airplane Nerds - Narrow Squeak in Seattle pt2

As my eyes adjusted to the gloomy old hallway
It's ceiling peppered with burned out light fixtures
I could hear voices coming from the old employee breakroom

We had set up our command center there
And adjourned to it whenever we needed to be away from the main hangar floor

From the sounds of it
A strange argument was taking place

Voice #1 was making a case
"No, I absolutely wouldn't allow myself to be transported
Because the me, that materialized at the destination, wouldn't be the same me that had stepped into the machine!"

"Look, like I've said, the you, that materializes is still you, dammit!
The first you disappears, and the second you appears wherever you want to go"
Voice #2 retorted with passion and annoyance

I reached the doorway and stepped inside to the breakroom/command center
Revealing the two voices to be two of the members of the RAMS* team
Voice #1 was Old Bob the supervisor
Voice #2's name was Steve I think
One of the team sheetmetal fabricators

I said "Hello" to them both
Which only got me a sideways glance out of both of them
Kind of taking the whole Batman out of my ego's sails

Old Bob continued with a more resigned tone in his voice
His grey walrus mustache bobbing up and down with his words
"Look, Steve"
I knew his name was Steve!
"It's really simple
I'm born and live my life in a linear fashion
Being me, the same person that whole time
With a clear trail from where I'm at all the way back to the womb"

Then his walrus mustache takes on a more animated dance

"Then I step into some infernal Star Trek transporter machine
Which dematerializes me into molecules and information
Sends the signal somewhere else
And rematerializes me once again!"

Sheetmetal Steve verbally pounces
Almost spilling the coffee from the cup in his hand
"See!  You said it yourself
It rematerializes YOU once again
You are still YOU!"

I clear my throat a little bit trying to get Old Bob's attention
But he is still intent on his discussion with Sheetmetal Steve
"No, I would not be ME anymore, you shit for brains!
The old, original me, was ended, eliminated, changed into data
Then a perfect copy of me was reassembled to become the new me
With all the memories of the me that used to be
And under the perfect delusion that he was still ME
When in fact, the old me was now effectively dead
With an end to his continuous existence!"

Sheetmetal Steve looked thoughtful as he sipped his coffee
And was about to reply when I interrupted them a little more forcefully
"Bob, did you get that new Mach Trim pulley bracket ordered?"

We had found the old bracket
Stuffed into the most godawful front upper corner of the nose wheel well
Just the other day while performing a routine inspection
Finding one of the spidery magnesium legs of the assembly broken

Old Bob finally gave me his attention
"No I did not
Your maintenance control is going to yard one out of a scrap aircraft somewhere
And when you get it
It will probably be so corroded you won't want to use it"

As the words flowed from under the fluttering fringe of his massive mustache
The picture formed in my head
Of me opening an overnight shipping box
And pulling out a 'new' magnesium Mach Trim bracket
That looked like it had spent the last ten years on the bottom of the ocean
It's cast metal shape pockmarked with black corrosion

"Well I don't know what else we can do
Maybe it won't be so bad once we clean it up and repaint it"
I answered hopefully

He just shook his Old Bob shaggy haired head at me
"Nope, here's what you want to do
You have your company's account number with the Boeing AOG** parts desk?"

I nodded

He smiled under his 'stache
"So call them up and order a brand new one
It's the only way you'll know you are getting a good part"
And he paused for effect
"Unless you really want to replace it again after it breaks the first time you put tension on it"

He made sense
Though my company wouldn't want to do it
"Okay, I'll see what I can do"

I was going to say 'See you later' or something
But Old Bob and Sheetmetal Steve had already locked eyes
With something about belief in ones self being a key part of being who you are
Regardless of whether or not you have been transported Star Trek style

So I quickly made my exit towards the hangar
To go check on the Hangar Queen

*RAMS - Recovery And Modification Services
**AOG - Aircraft On Ground