Writing

Inconceivable

  • November 7, 2017

When I was a child my father took me to see something incredible.  Something so amazing, inconceivable, and beyond any reasonable amount of comprehension for me to truly comprehend as an eight-year-old child.

Clearly, I remember my father taking me to see something he had been working on.  Something so amazing that I simply had to see it.  I couldn’t be sure what it was, and of course, at the time, he wouldn’t tell me.

After a long car ride, checking in with the front desk secretary, and having a visitor badge issued to me, my father and I walked down a series of long hallways until finally, we stopped at a set of large double doors, at which point my father simply said, “here it is”, as he slowly opened the door.

Then, all of a sudden, there it was.  A gigantic industrial art robot which used an oversized and automated gantry crane, a series of motors, hydraulically powered jaws to randomly lift and place 1-ton industrial cylinders filled with concrete.

The machine was massive in size and painted in a very high-gloss canary yellow.  My father told me the machine was programmed to always have the four spaces occupied with cylinders, but since there were only three cylinders for the four available spaces, it would constantly pick up and place any available cylinder at random to try and keep every space occupied.

The crane was controlled by a computer system the size of a refrigerator, its enclosure an identical color, adorned with a protective front metal grate which bore a distinctive high voltage sign.

I was eight years old, and fascinated by the impressive feat of modern engineering, almost as if simply by standing in front of something that big, at that moment I couldn’t see or think about anything else at all.

There is something captivating about moving machinery.  Machines are generally designed to perform a certain task, whether it be to produce a product, handle material in a certain way, or make daily life possible.  It was for the very first time in my life that I was observing a machine designed to captivate, astound, and fascinate.  Its massive size and complexity made me feel a multitude of emotions; everything from wonder, to amazement, and even a hit of anxiety when I wondered what might happen if, by some remote chance that there were to be a failure.  Anxiety that should something unexpected occur, one of these massive concrete cylinders might fall down and cause injury to someone.

Sensing my fear, my father assured me that everything was safe, and in that moment I decided to move closer to the machine to get a better sense of how it worked.  Standing just behind the safety fence, I observed the machine pick up a cylinder high above the others, move it a considerable distance, and then set it down.  The machine itself worked in surprisingly fast manner, and I remember being able to feel the shock from the poured concrete floor I was standing on every time a cylinder was placed.  The machine seemed to work tirelessly, repeatedly trying to fill the empty space with nearby cylinders, not realizing of course, that there was simply one too few to have all the spaces occupied.

It has been many years since that day.  My father realized that his time was fleeting, and in the months before my father passed away, I tried to document the tiny and seemingly insignificant details of childhood memories and experiences with his help.  But the years hadn’t been a friend to my father, and often times he would forget the details I was searching for, or to offer contradictions, as his memory tried to piece together events which happened decades ago.  Snapshots and memories of things that I remembered from my childhood that I hadn’t documented.

Colophon
The header image was created using Canva, and uses the font League Spartan.

Asides
Not Taking Enough Pictures Is Something I Regret | Copious Notes | My Fascination With Rolling Ball Sculptures | What Photography Has Taught Me About Life | A Letter To My 10 Year Old Self | Generation Gap | Poisoned By Fairy Tales

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10 Comments on Inconceivable

  • brainedet says:
    April 28, 2019 at 3:15 AM

    I’m just pleased with how your dad just wanted you to be very exposed. I’m sure you saw even more than what you are telling us. Will be doing do to my kids too.

    Reply

  • David Mureithi says:
    April 28, 2019 at 2:50 AM

    This is what we call father love. Everyone remembers his father for the tours he made with them. It’s good also to capture such memories with pictures, especially in this modern era.

    Reply

  • Danielle M says:
    April 27, 2019 at 10:48 PM

    This experiece that you sahred sounds very exciting, I cant imagine all what you feel when you saw the machine and got that close.

    Reply

  • Miaka Yuuki says:
    April 27, 2019 at 8:25 PM

    Thanks for sharing you and your fathers story. My dad is trap in this notion that he is just or concerned with providing. I guess you are just blessed that you have these memories of your father.

    Reply

  • Maury Cheskes says:
    April 27, 2019 at 12:29 PM

    Wow, great story. The buildup was excellent in describing your fascination with the robot. I can see how this memory would stick out and reflect a bonding period with your father.

    Reply

  • Obalade Damilola says:
    April 27, 2019 at 11:00 AM

    Your dad was a genius..those kind of people make life bearable for people like us..too bad you lost some of the details of the great things he did but that does not rule out the fact that he was a wonderful man

    Reply

  • roberachi says:
    April 27, 2019 at 10:09 AM

    Wow what an amazing story i enjoyed every bit of it thanks for sharing. Am sorry to hear about your father but am glad you enjoyed your time with when he was alive.

    Reply

  • Grace K says:
    April 27, 2019 at 8:49 AM

    Its great that you have such great memories of your early years with your father. Its one of those things that you hold dearly.

    Reply

  • jolly555 says:
    April 27, 2019 at 4:48 AM

    I think you and your dad really did created fascinated memories. I wish I did with my dad too. I love funfilled memories.

    Reply

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