I don’t believe that we educate and manufacture Engineers, some of us are just born this way. There is a strange desire deep inside of us to understand how things work and how to improve them and it never leaves us. Most children will try to open toys to see what happens inside don’t be too concerned this, of itself, doesn’t indicate an Engineer, the difference is that we don’t stop. The thing with Engineers is that we see the world differently to everyone else, everywhere we look there is an opportunity to change something.
It really never turns off, like a filter lens we just see an Engineer’s view of the world. Despite the pain from my wrists I could no more pass a screwdriver to somebody than I could eat sand. I have adjusted the way that I hold various tools to accommodate the necessary movements because tools are an extension of me, giving them up would be akin to amputation (and we know I beat that). I spent a few hours Saturday running a new CCTV feed for a friend and thoroughly enjoyed the task. This was not a major activity, we had already run the cable. just termination and fault-finding. The original installer had used nasty compression BNC connectors so I replaced with crimped but the replacements were too small so I had to solder the centre pin. Adapting from crimped to solder and successfully terminating all channels made me smile and now you can shake the connectors without disturbing the image.
Having tested the new camera locally I installed it and there was no image, voltage was present at the camera but no image. Some fault-finding revealed that the relatively short run didn’t need baluns, we used Cat 5, some more soldering resolved the issue. We are talking a few hours work, not heavily physical or even particularly taxing, but I enjoyed this because I changed something and that is what Engineering is about. It is 2 pm now as I write this and I am just starting to beat the pain that kept me awake last night and has crippled me all morning. That’s the thing with working with your hands it reminds you, and them, that things are not perfect. The great thing about an Engineering mind-set is that although I have struggled all morning and will remain in pain for a day or so yet the sense of achievement, of beating physical material, is sufficient reward.
In another example of the Engineer’s mind let me share with you the dinner that I cooked on Friday. I had purchased one of those ‘cook in packet’ pieces of fish, I love fish but hate the smell that lingers after cooking it. Everything went wrong when I read the instructions, apparently the pack would inflate and then ‘our special release valve will open’. I studied the packet but could find no evidence of any such special valve, where was it hidden? how did it work? Now those that know me will readily picture me sat in front of the microwave as if it was a cinema screen, I wasn’t missing this. As my potatoes boiled over I watched the packet inflate and knew it would be soon. There was, of course, no special vent the seam simply gave way and released the steam, I watched until the end but that was it, just a weakened seam.
To most people who would be the end of the issue but I was devastated. I had several theories as to how this complex steam release valve would work and none of them were correct, they had cheated me. I can genuinely say that my meal was not as enjoyable because I felt cheated by the delivery method, only an Engineer can eat a meal whilst distracted by the packet that it came in! I considered the options of purchasing more packets to see if this was a one-off or complaining that the packet was ‘not as described’ but, given the delivery driver experience, chose to sulk instead!