The year's first named storm has strengthened into a hurricane.
Alex is now a category 2 storm, and is expected to make landfall sometime this evening.
Though we are too far away for any real storm activity, I can see clouds outside my window. They are hurricane clouds. One can't grow up on the Gulf Coast without recognizing hurricane clouds when one sees them.
Today at work, my group leader Rod walked up to me and said, "I need you. Come with me." About half way down the aisle, Rod turned to me and said, "You're going to hate me, but I need you to [work in this other area]. I'm going to owe you huge for this one." He took me where he wanted me to work, and showed me what I was supposed to be doing. I was grumbling and fussing the whole time, and he was just going, "yeah, I know."
Well, he didn't have the right tool for what I was supposed to do, so he said, "I'm just going to Afro-engineer* this."
"Ummmm!" I said. "You're not supposed to say that!"
"I can, because I'm black," was Rod's reply. "But if you were to say that, you'd get into trouble."
"Yeah, if I said it, it'd be a racist thing. But it's ok for you to say stuff like that, and that is so not fair!"
Not that I want to be saying racist things, but hey, a racial slur is a racial slur, no matter who says it. But that's the topic for another discussion.
So, Rod got me set up and as he was walking away, I quipped, "This is number 5387 on the list of things you owe me for."
At that point, Opie** butted in to a conversation he was not a part of and said, "Excuse me, but don't we pay you for this?"
"No," I rejoined. "You pay me to braze." He's lucky that's all I said to him. You don't know who you're dealing with, baby engineer.
There I was, finally set up and ready to start working when Mary runs up to Rod and tells him that if he wants a chance of going home at 3:00, he needed to get another helium tester. One of the ones that normally did it had gone home. Well, guess who got the nod for that. Now, I don't really like helium testing, but it sure beats screwing on access panels.
I'd been down there helium testing for about an hour, when I looked up and saw Rod watching me. I gave him one of those "I'm going to smile at you but pretend I'm trying not to smile at you" smiles. He smiled back and all was right with the world again.
*The first time I heard Rod use that phrase was right after I'd gotten moved to his line. When I told him he wasn't supposed to say that, he looked at me and said, "You're lucky I didn't say something else."
**Opie is the student co-op from one of the local universities. He's pretending to be the shift supervisor this week. Honestly, I think he should stick to engineering. He doesn't have the people skills to be a boss. That's not his real name, by the way. We just call him that because of his bright red hair.