My new job is in the neighborhood next to the airport where all the aerospace companies sit. It’s creepy.
Raytheon and Northrop Grumman and Boeing and the others all have huge compounds of factories and offices. Silos emit gusts of white gas, roofs grow antennas and dishes, and big trucks arrive and depart with lumpy tarp-covered cargo.
Satellite systems, missiles, aircraft, God knows what else all come out of these compounds. The bearded 50-ish guys I see going to lunch make this stuff. They remind me of the dads of my friends from childhood, but these guys are now just 10 or 15 years older than I. They look worn. From my own experience I know that some of them are drinking themselves to death or just eaten up inside from the awful machines they design and build.
The only cheap lunch in walking range is a choice among some bad fast-food chain places around the corner: generic pizza, Subway sandwiches. Today at the Starbucks there I had one of my odd imagination moments in which I see an overlay on the scene in front of me. I imagined the Hellfire missiles and cluster bombs and lasers and supercannons and 2000 lb bombs arriving on this mini-mall scene: flaming debris and shrapnel, screams, office people writhing in burning Dockers, blood spatter on the Z Pizza sign.
There is what people now call a “disconnect” between the sterile and pleasant mediocrity of the Starbucks patio and the horrors of war machines. I’ll go back to just drinking my half-good coffee and taking a break, and that shocking filter on the camera will go away at least for a while.
It’s instructive to be closer to the business end sometimes. I’m too wimpy to be radical and it’s easy to relax and avoid big problems too. Maybe a few more reminders will help me change?