This week is National Engineers Week. On this week, every year, the company honors the engineers that work for it. We invariably receive a trinket, like the Nerf Lego block, pictured in today’s header. There are activities that one can participate in. Examples include paper airplane making, special tours and trivia contests. I participated in the trivia contest this morning. It was designed to test your engineering knowledge. I answered the questions and then when I went to check my answers, discovered two things, I would have to wait until tomorrow to check my answers and second, horror of horrors, everyone’s score will be published. I can hardly wait to see how I did.
In the summer of 2007 a group of engineers and I traveled to our nation’s capital, on business. Due to limited availability of flights, most of us had to fly the morning of the day before our meeting. This left us with the unusual opportunity to do some sightseeing, that afternoon. After checking into the hotel, we took the Metro to the Mall and made a beeline for the Air and Space Museum. We spent most of the afternoon there. The picture for this post shows the real Spirit of Saint Louis, as opposed to the copy that is in Saint Louis. We went on to spend another hour on the Mall and went to two art museums and the new Native American Museum. Around five o’clock, when Washington usually starts to close up, I called our boss. He and his management team had arrived in town by then, on a more convenient, later flight. He seemed a little annoyed with us, as if he had expected us to at least pretend to be working.
I recount this story because it is illustrative of how engineers behave and it is more interesting to the general public, then what engineers normally do. Of the five of us that landed that morning, four of us stayed together for the afternoon. The fifth member of our party, had family in town to visit. The other three engineers had not been to Washington D.C. before, so I became the tour guide. I explained how the Metro is ridden and I navigated our group to the Mall and back. So, with the myriad of things to see and do in Washington, visiting the Air and Space Museum seems all too appropriate, for a bunch of engineers.
We held our meeting the following morning and were done by noon. We thought about trying to catch the one o’clock flight, but decided we could not make it. Instead, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch, during which, a thunder storm swept through town. After lunch and with nothing more to do, we headed to the airport, intending to wait around for our six o’clock flight. The storm had snarled air traffic and I began to wonder if our flight would be on time. After an hour of sitting around, for some reason, I got up to walk around. I discovered just a few gates down from ours, a previously unscheduled flight boarding for Saint Louis. It was the one o’clock flight. The plane had been damaged by the storm, but now was ready to fly again. I asked if there were seats and there were. I went back to where the rest of the engineers were decamped and gave them the good news. We hurried down to the new gate and were soon boarded. I was the hero of the moment, for getting us all home, at least three hours early. Of course, the rest of the passengers were crabby, for having to wait an extra two hours.