Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I miss my ink

I caught myself staring at a blank page. I had something to say and then my mind wondered.

I was talking to some other city engineers and topic of other engineers came up. In the city there are two types of engineers, the ones who have their jobs because of what they know and those who have their jobs because of who they know. We started talking about how things are changing, about the good old days. Part of what came up was the use of CAD (computer aided drawning). It was interesting to me that when I first started to work for the city I had CAD experience. The city however, did not. All the plans where draw by hand, first in pencil then, once construction was complete, in ink.

Some folks don’t know this but ink, when drawn on mylar, is completely erasable. If you do it right, the fix cannot be noticed, but you need skills, skills and spit. I miss the ink. I can actually draw faster in ink than on AutoCad. AutoCad is trying to verbally tell someone how to dance, drawing by hand is the actual dancing itself, an art form soon to be lost, already lost, those who do it are a dying breed, already dead.

I was mentioning to one of my fellow engineers, that I miss drawing in ink, he said we’re dinosaurs, you’re a young dinosaur but a dinosaur none the less. I’m not going to see extinction, I can adapt but a part of me, as with the ink, is gone, dead, finished. I actually keep a bottle on ink on my desk for the old days.

I made the rounds while I was there, three different stops to four different engineers. The message I got, the city is in trouble, keep the faith, there is no hope without faith.

I’ve been with the city for around eight years, most of the others have been here twenty – thirty years. I’m always impressed, I’m treated as equal, a confidant, the old guard.

Thanks guys.

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