February 1st, 2007

Contractor

Adminspotting

When I lived in a little apartment community in Maple Shade, New Jersey, my wife and I used to walk around the grounds each evening, holding hands and telling each other of our day. My job was to install a software suite on J210's running 9.05 (and later 10.20) and train US Navy personnel on its operation. Two weeks out of the month I was deployed to a different aircraft carrier, and one week out of the month I was on second-level helpdesk to support the ships.

Nextel had just released their first-gen "push-to-talk" phones and Space and Naval Warfare Command had passed them out to us. These were the models before today's "Alert" function which allow you to accept an incoming transmission. Remember those? Anyone could press their walkie-talkie button and begin speaking out of your phone.

As it turns out, I spent most of my day that day in the server room, so my phone was turned all the way up. My wife and I were walking, it was a bright, still evening and the weather was perfect. Now, had the Stennis or Kitty Hawk had a problem, I'd have been ok. But no. We were directly in front of a large family enjoying a cookout at one of the nearby pavilions when the Nextel announces at full volume, "ERIC, THERE'S A PROBLEM ON THE USS ENTERPRISE, PLEASE REPORT IN."

Yeah, the entire pavilion went quiet and they all stared at me.

They thought I was playing Star Trek.