Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Little Black Bug

I departed from Aguadilla PR this morning bright and early. I had a window seat just in front of the wing, so the engine nacelle was right next to me. As we started to taxi, I noticed a little black droplet on the white paint of the engine. No. It was not a liquid--it was a bug. The shape was the same as that of a lady bug, but it was maybe half as big and totally black.

I didn't exactly see that it was a bug: I figured out that it must be a bug by the way it moved across the surface of the engine. It traveled up to a seam between metal sections and then would back-away or follow the junction until it could find a way across. I watched this little bug and had two trains of thought: 1. I wondered how fast we could go before the wind blew it off. 2. I had metaphysical thoughts about the situation.

To me, insects are more like things than beings in that I don't think they are aware of their own existence. (Not counting a certain cockroach) Certainly to a bug, an average human such as myself is beyond comprehension. In terms of a meaningful existence, one could say that this bug accomplished more by being observed than the whole rest of its, quite possibly short, life. This lead me to thinking about God. By extension, wouldn't his thoughts about each of us, with his incomprehensible consciousness contain more meaning for him than our own existences are for us? A little mind-blowing! But if there is a god, it almost certainly has to be true--or not. I'm just a bug crawling around propelled by forces I don't understand.

Our little black hero held-on for the length of our take-off roll. Only when the plane began to rotate did it fly off. I was amazed that it held on so long; we must have been going at least 150 mph by the time of rotation. The bug was on the upper half of the engine nacelle and so when the plane nosed-up, this would have created a vacuum (or at least lower pressure) on the top of the nacelle. This essentially sucked the little black bug off the surface.


Trooper York said...

See if it was me I would have reinacted the William Shatner scene in "The Twilight Zone" where he screams that a monster is ripping off pieces of the wing.

That's why they make me take the train.

dbp said...

I was sitting next to a couple of older Puerto Ricans and they would have thought I was just some crazy yanque.