Monday, September 28, 2009

In Thin Air

I sometimes feel just like this. For example, some years ago I was sent on assignment to a silicon wafer facility south of Salem. I was completely over my head. That's how that turned out. It still would have been okay had I been given a supervisor who actually knew his job. We were doing the process piping hook up design. They gave us a plumber as a supervisor rather than a design engineer. That meant I needed about ten years of experience as a designer in high tech in order to do the job. I had no support from above and that meant I had to operate at the higher level. I failed. The whole time I struggled and kept surviving, I felt exactly like this. I could feel the gravity but I didn't fall. The wedgie was uncomfortable.

Then something happened. I had a small part to play in it but the main thing was the business maneuvers that were going on. I was fired summarily and basically escorted off the job. They packed me up after I was gone. I was fired to protect a future contract that was in process. This had never happened to me before, hasn't happened since. The fingers holding me in thin air opened and I fell hard. I was ten years into working for the company that assigned me to the work, had been laid off and was back working on contract. I have never worked for them again, knew then I would not ever work for them again. This was my sobriety job, working for this company. It was the first job I got after I got sober and gave me stability in the first ten years of my sobriety.

The rest of that story is that I have been blessed by being released from that company, but it was a painful and embarassing separation. There is are many reasons to commend the separation. It might even be this could be called a divine intervention to get me out of there. If so, God sometimes plays pretty rough.

In Thin Air

It's me in thin air
without the necessary
wings, relying solely on
you to hold me here.
Amazing. I don't
float, nor do I fly.
Hanging in your pinched fingers,
I will not look down.

Don't look down, that's what you said.

February 14, 2009 4:14 PM


  1. I can so relate to this feeling.

    Early recovery for me was like this 24/7 for a long long time.....I just didn't 'get it'....I hung on anyway, or something did.

    I feel the same feeling now, but I hope I have a bit more faith these days.....

    Oh, and you read it right both times you know, more especially the first :)


  2. Great text, I completelly relate to the felling the character has, till it is dismissed, thank god, from the company. I think anyway we live all our lives walking on thin air, and slowly we loose the fear to fly, that is how we survive.

  3. Yeah, Michelle, I didn't go into that but my first two years of sobriety were done "against my better judgement". I was sure that something would happen to shove me out the door. I woke up sometime after two years sober and realized I could relax a little.

    I am sad that someone has pushed you away.

    Mariana, I guess part of maturity is knowing how little support one actually has. Thanks for coming by.

  4. Uncomfortable wedgie indeed. Feeling your pain and hurt here, but also the silver lining on the otherside. I also relate, immediately, to hanging from pinched fingers. Instead of fear, I am trying to enjoy the dangle. Lost a shoe in the process....ya know...

  5. Once I ran from the cops and lost a boot in the process of getting away. I did get away. :)

  6. Ghost, that is what I am doing as we gather here, creating yet more piping tangles so that the new oil sprayer can be installed at the end of the Ritz crackers oven line. It will put a fine mist of oil on the cracker for flavor and to protect the cracker from moisture when the customer opens the packages. We are replacing an older style with a newer style oil sprayer.

  7. is there no limit to American know-how? amazing!

  8. Well, Ghost, American know how in this case applies know how in other places of the world. The primary milk processing technology is French. The primary industrial baking technology is British. Things have changed over time, but the first machine I reworked at the Nabisco Bakery when I came to work here was a British made machine that we rebuilt entirely to incorporate some minor changes. That machine was the cookie stamper (rotary molder) for the Oreo biscuits (as they are called, not cookies). It turns out from a technical point of view that biscuits can be sweet, especially for the British, and the name has more to do with the dough characteristics than the sweetness. That machine was a British made machine originally, though now it is substantially American and also substantially mine. It works fine by the way, especially since years later we made yet another modest change.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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