“I called them big metal birds the other day. While we queued for takeoff, our wee Embraer ERJ-130 taxied past a larger jet, our eyes about level with the larger bird's undercarriage. It was then I looked back at O'Hare, and its lights sparkling through the chemical deicing agent showed me an even larger bird: the grey shard of her sharply pointed nose looming over the big jet as it did us. But that was only a momentary avatar for this real mother metalbird, a highly engineered device for sustaining not only the human life from whence it sprang, but that of her highly engineered offspring. She sprawls into a set of terminal teats from which she feeds her metal babies, distorted for an efficient new purpose, like Kitsune in Schismatrix but without the benefit of real personhood behind the device. Meanwhile her tended, full babies queue to leave her embrace. In turn, like the others, we punctuate our new independence with a show of noise and speed, the ERJ-130 proving its brotherhood to the larger jets with a display of prowess. As we fly up from O'Hare, the lights below wink as the chemical deicing agent streams over my window, the artificial tear of the metal bird leaving its mother.
Transcribed by: markpasc