Friday, April 15, 2011

Popcorn Popping

My lovely wife got us a one night stay at the Alaskan Inn up Ogden Canyon to celebrate the last day of classes for me...FOREVER! It was so much fun.

That night we were in laying in bed watching a movie when she turned and batted her puppy dog eyes at me. In a baby voice she said, "Can Bwocky get me some popcorn?"

I found myself walking into the front office, where there was a microwave and bags of popcorn by the front desk. I set the timer for 2 minutes and 45 seconds, then struck up a conversation with an older woman who works the graveyard shift.

"My wife and I are leaving in about a week, so we wanted to have one more night at our favorite bed and breakfast," I said.

"Where are you going?"

"Washington D.C."

"That sounds so much fun," she replied. "To just get out and see the world."

"You should too! Where is a place you would like to go?"

"I want to go to Alaska."

But you work at the Alaskan Inn, I thought, where every room has the Northern Lights hanging over the bathroom door.

"I want to take my daughter there. It's where she's always wanted to go, so my plan is to surprise her for her twenty-first birthday."

"Well you are a great mom," I said. "You must be saving up."

"Yup, I have about a thousand dollars saved right now, and I've got two years to save the rest."

It made me wonder how long it took her to save that thousand dollars. She must be working a lot of graveyard shifts. Have you ever wanted to make someone's day so bad it hurt? At that moment, I wished I was rich so I could buy her and her daughter an airplane ticket to Alaska. I wished I was an airplane pilot so I could say, "How about I fly you and your daughter there?" But I'm neither rich nor a pilot, so I did the only thing I could do. I encouraged her.

Tonight, before you lay your head down on your fluffy pillow and pull your blanket up to your chin, say a little prayer for the woman forgoing sleep to save enough money to take her daughter to Alaska.

She's doing it one hour, $7.50, at a time.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Real Life Ironman

I met a guy who is an electrical engineering/physics major in a line at the market. Listen to his reason why:

"When I was a kid, I used to play a video game called 'Megaman.'

The character had the coolest weapon--he could shoot pulses of electricity through his hand. I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen, and I pretended I could shoot pulses of electricity through my hand as a weapon!

"Finally I decided that I wanted to figure out how to do this for a living. So I looked for engineering companies that were trying to do it. I found one in Utah that shoots a laser through the air at a target. The laser ionizes the particles in the air, and creates a pathway. You then sent a pulse of electricity to the target on this ionized "street" your laser created. I called them up, and they told me what I needed to do to work there."

All I could think of was how much easier it would have been for me to pick a major if Ironman had come out two years before it did.