Flying through the air…

26 May, 2009

The last thing I remember, I was flying across the room. Manny, my user, had mumbled some expletives and with no warning tossed me into the air with great force. I could feel the breeze blowing through my grill. I thought to myself, this must be how it feels to be a football. I have no recollection of the impact, nor the ride in the brown delivery truck to the repair center. The next thing I knew, I was awakened at the radio repair center. I found myself sitting upright in a bright yellow tub, in line with numerous other radios awaiting surgery. I had heard about this place, but had never been here. Manny had broken my antenna and dislocated a few components when he tossed me onto the concrete floor of the warehouse.

As I began to get my bearings and look around the room, I saw the walkie to my right was named Fred. He could not speak, but I knew his name from reading what was scrawled on his front housing by someone with a yellow parts marker. He was from an automotive recycling center, and smelled strongly of automotive fluids. His antenna was bent and weather cracked. His battery was removed and laying in the yellow bin. If he’d been a human, he would of had grey hair. He was old. His user must have still had need of him, since he was at the repair center.

I could not see the radio to my left, as he was laying down in the bin. From time to time I could hear his low battery beep, and knew someone had left him turned on for the ride to the repair center. He did not have enough power left to transmit, only the faint and dying beep of the failing battery.

I waited patiently in line and listened to the Tech whistle and say audio-audio into each of the radios which came before me. After a while, it nearly sang me to sleep. Just as I was about to doze, wahoo, he picked up my bin. I was next! He swiftly popped off my battery door, and stripped me of my broken antenna. Faster than I could think, I was hooked up and powered by his equipment. My battery was placed on the analyzer, and I was being ran through rigorous tests. (I’d tell you he put me on a treadmill and did a stress test, but you’d never believe me. Thou it felt like it.) He turned me off and on several times, plugged and unplugged items from my audio jacks, tested my antenna port. Then without any warning, he quickly stripped me of my shell. My housing was gone… I felt so exposed… totally naked. Yikes!

Here I was all exposed for the world to see. Well, I guess for the technician and the other radio soldiers lined up to see. I tend to get a little dramatic here, but you get the picture. His whistle tickled as it spun air through my uncovered speaker. The words audio-audio were now coming through me like a song being sung by the technician. After he discerned the situation, the tech skillfully and painlessly replaced several of my key components. His soldering iron was hot, but I felt no pain on my green component board. He tweeked and aligned my electronics, and I was thinking and feeling better than ever. He pressed my PTT and I was so quick to respond. “Wow” I thought to myself, “It is great to be alive”.

Just a quickly as he had disrobed me, he put a new exterior housing and antenna on me, then reunited me with my battery and I was carried to the “waiting to invoice” shelf. I was fixed. Good as new. I could hear the invoice clerk on the phone talking about me to Manny. From hearing only one side of the conversation, it sounded like Manny was happy I would be coming home. He had missed me and I had missed home too.

Soon I was whisked away to the shipping department, where they carefully placed me in a box full of soft packing peanuts for the ride home. Before I left, I did see old Fred one more time. He was on the shelf where I had waited for them to call Manny. The invoice clerk was explaining to Fred’s master that Fred had been patched up one more time, but didn’t know how many more repairs Fred had in him. Fred was getting to go home too!

Then I was homeward bound, riding in my little cardboard box, nestled in the packing, bouncing up and down in the brown truck, happy to be going home to Manny.

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