Of Helicopters and Humans (9) “Break Day “
Posted on June 8, 2012
Of Helicopters and Humans
Part 9 Break day, the Real Laws of Physics, and the Poetry of belonging to the Lower Caste
(written many years ago; any reference to the living, the dead, the demented, and the delusional, is entirely unintentional)
It’s the morning of Break Day.
Thank fu-fu-fu….. goodness.
I get to go home tonight. At last. My dogs will welcome me with undisguised delight, tails wagging dementedly. My wife’s somewhat possessive cat will think: “Oh, Gawd, it’s him again. ” The donkeys will comment noisily, aswith the geese, the Guinea Fowl, the ducks, the goats and the two miniature horses.
My patient wifey will make me a cup of tea. And make soothing, sympathetic noises.
And I will be home again.
I may even rediscover my sense of humor. Which has been battered down under an avalanche of rocks. Squished under slabs of concrete. Trodden on, and (harsh, metallic, robot voice) ex-term-in-ated….
Melted down. In the humid heat of a Gulf Bee-Peeh summer.
I am reminded of the lower caste in India. The Untouchables. The dirty, unwashed, ragged ones. Who have no rights. Who just pull rickshaws, (is that how you spell it?), and run like hell, trying not to tread in the copious Holy Cow dung heaps spread out everywhere. Who have to smile sweetly at all times, and pull the really important people in this world around the place. Run like hell, try not to f…. up, and be very, very nice.
Or maybe that image belongs to the past. Maybe they are sweating taxi drivers now, demented moped riders, but still trying to avoid the dung heaps, Holy Cows, and all the other Untouchables getting in the way.
Shoot, I don’t know.
All I know is that this humble helicopter jockey, this dirty, unwashed, ragged member of the modern day Gulf of Mexico rickshaw pulling class, is tired. Tired and a trifle fed up.
But what the heck, eh? After all, I’ve got a job. The alternative is worse. Much worse.
So when the occasional customer is a real jer….. I mean, a demanding (honorable) customer, I just smile sweetly. Like the time I was told to fu-fu-fu….. well, asked to…. well, shall we say that the honorable 295 pound customer wasn’t happy when I asked him to move to another seat. For weight balancing reasons. After all, in his words, he had already fastened his seat belt. And I, the unwashed one, probably smelling to him of cow dung, had exercised the temerity to ask him to move….
I describe the full story else where. But it’s just part of being smelly and sticky. In the Gulf, On a hot, June day.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of joy as you touch down from a long flight, at your home base, with perspiration running down your brow, and other unmentionable places. It’s hard to describe being hot, tired, thirsty, and showing worrying symptoms of excess body temperature. And it’s hard to adequately convey that sinking feeling, when the sharp voice of the ‘traffic advisory service’ once again cuts in over your head sets, sarcastically berating you for yet another fu-fu-…. failing on your part. You just sigh, pause, count to ten, and deal with it.
“We’ve been parking that helicopter on Charlie row for three weeks. I want to know why are you parking it on Bravo row?? ”
You resist asking why this matter needs to be aired so pointedly on frequency. You never know who is listening. What is so cotton-picking urgent that couldn’t wait until you were happily inside the air-con-ditioned (cool) (very cool) building? And why, if you wanted it parked on Charlie row, why didn’t you say so, before I taxied all the way to an open spot on Bravo row? You resist asking why in hell’s name it even matters. There could be customers listening, and you try so hard to be professional. So you just sigh, hum the melody of the pacifist theme song “Kum-Ba-Yaaaaah ” to yourself, and explain patiently, in words of not more than two syllables, that you have only just picked up this aircraft from another base, that it is the first time it has been here for months. And you add, that if the VIP in the Tower would ask nicely, you would be happy, delighted even, to pick it up again, and taxy it around to Charlie Row. But God in the Tower remains silent, so you just leave it there. On Bravo Row. It’s the highlight of a miserable, hot, sweating, lower cast day.
A rare moment of defiance.
You have to be positive. You know you are the absolute bottom of the totem pole. You know the bosses think it would be such a really good helicopter company, if only they didn’t have to employ these lower castes. You know, these helicopter-rickshaw drivers. And if only they didn’t step in the Holy Goo all the time.
But that’s life at the bottom. Everybody can have a go at you, any time, anywhere. It’s all right. It’s part of Lower Life’s natural cycle. You even get to know a bit about the Laws of Physics.
Physics? Oh yeah…
The Speed of Light. As opposed by the Infinite Mass of the Immovable Object.
The Infinite Mass Phenomenon occurs when some customer, a Company Man, apparently goes into the Manager’s Office and talks about you. Then you, you dirt bag, you low life, you get called in to the manager’s office. This is where the Infinite Mass starts. It’s a sinking feeling. That Infinite Mass is in your stomach, as you think:
“Now what the (bleep!) have I done? “
I defy any fellow rickshaw driver, and Holy Goo side stepper, to deny this truth, that the first thought is:
“Now what? “
But no, the sinking feeling of the Infinite Mass in your stomach, this time, unusually, is misaligned.
It’s a rare event. A compliment.
God behind the desk, him with the power to make your miserable life much more miserable, tells you that the Company Man passed a compliment. Apparently he was drunk. Deranged. Off his little trolley. But he is alleged to have said:
“I want you to know I have flown all over the Gulf with this pilot for three years now. We like flying with him and he’s doing a hell of a job. I want you to know that… “
This astonishingly rare event leaves you gob smacked. You now know that you have, indeed, seen Halley’s Comet. Monica Lewinsky preaching abstinence. Komrade Obama suggest the need for smaller Federal Government and Budget cuts. The Pope in Rome slide down the Vatican bannisters.
Mark the calendar. It will not come again.
You sort of stare in dumb amazement. God -behind- the- desk says he will put it in writing, and pass it up to the Great temple in the Sky. Where the really, really Big Bosses float. Looking down on us Holy Cow Dung denizens.
Of course, days and weeks later, the promised write up has not happened. God is too busy. But he has made a mental note, he says. A reminder to himself. You bow your head, humbly. It was all a transient dream anyway.
The honorable customer had to have been drunk.
The chance of the letter, reporting the kind words, actually being written, is small. And even if written, the chance of it being noticed? The whole momentary joy, the unusual compliment, it all sinks quickly in your mind, like an object of Infinite Mass, to the bottom of the Gulf. I’m a rickshaw driver. I should know my status. My cast. My Fate in Life.
Cow plops. Lots and lots of cow plops…
The Infinite Mass Phenomenon is opposed by the Light Speed, Warp Factor Driven.
You get called in to the Office again.
And you think, wearily:
“Now what…? “
You are presented with a write up. It’s against you. Mere hours old. No discussion. Just the nuclear trigger. Triggers set to fire first. Now you are about to see the Speed of Light demonstrated.
You read the write up. It is a classic case of somebody adding two and two, and coming up with the square root of the integer value of the sinusoidal constant of the logarithmic function of 27 to the power of N.
But, no worries, you are informed it’s already all the way up the chain of command. In nano seconds, this object has reached the Great Temple in the Sky. My Fate, and that of my children and my children’s children, rests on my written reply. I am required to explain my heinous actions in writing, toute-suite. Chop-chop. The board room has already been assembled. A court martial is pending. The noose has been oiled, and the scaffold is erected.
I trundle off and do my write up. And wait. I fly. Side step more Cow pooh-poohs. Breath in. Breath out.
Hum the melody of “Kum-Ba-Yah ” to myself…
The verdict is delivered later. Misunderstanding. Failure to communicate.
Say no more. I bow my head. I know my place.
Amongst the Holy Cow Poops…
It’s the morning of Break Day.
Thank fu-fu-fu….. goodness.
I get to go home tonight. At last.
I need to go home. I really, really, need a break.
Maybe I’ll even get my sense of humor back.
I sure hope so.
Before I f…ing well HEAD BUTT some troglodyte SOB smack on the kisser…
Kum-Ba-(fuk’n)-Yah my ass…
Last edited by Francis Meyrick on June 8, 2012, 7:46 pm