Sometimes we all need to take a little time off to get our shit together, and no one feels this more than Bertha, the 326-foot, 7,000-ton drilling machine. She’s going on sabbatical.
According to Seattle Tunnel Partners, Bertha will not resume drilling until March of 2015, that science fiction time in the future that we’ve all dreamt about. This delay hurts me the most, especially because I’ve been sitting on top of the drill since it broke down in December, waiting for it to resume moving so that I could yell “Woohoo!” like Slim Pickens in “Dr. Strangelove.” Every few minutes I ask the crew if it’s going to start moving again, and they always say, “Soon, Chason. Soon.” I’ve been playing games on my phone to pass the time. My legs hurt.
Of course, we were all traumatized when Bertha went down in December. “Get up!” we all yelled, “Do you want this or not? We didn’t put down tax dollars so that you could lie on your ass like a bum!” Bertha just lay there, however, slumped and prostrate with an oil tear in her eye. Sometimes I like to anthropomorphize things. It’s just what I do.
Repairing the drill is complicated process. Apparently, crews will have to dig a pit similar to the launch pit so that they can repair the drill. But how will they dig that pit? They’ll probably have to get another massive drill, which will breakdown, and then we’ll have to keep building adjacent pits until all of Seattle is covered with a giant pile of dirt.
Perhaps that’s a ridiculous scenario. Let me ask you this, then: if we have the ability to dig a big pit with regular shovels and elbow grease, than why don’t we just dig the tunnel with those shovels? I don’t mean just one guy with a shovel. That would take too long, especially with all of the breaks that he’d be taking.
But if you’ve ever played the video game Lemmings, you know that if you get a bunch of people to shovel the same spot at once, they can progress very quickly. Then you put up some plywood, hang a few lights, and presto, you’ve got yourself a tunnel. Sure, it won’t look all cool and futuristic like a tunnel in George Lucas’ “THX 1138,” but it’ll get the job done.
The key, I suppose, is to not be standing in front of the drill when it starts spinning again, for the same reason that you don’t look into a hose when it’s not spraying. That thing could start up any minute! And then what would you do? You’d have to dig really quickly in front of you until you came out the other side, which would be an awful experience, as everyone would think that Bertha dug the tunnel, when it was actually you. And then you’d be just another unsung hero, like me. We should start a club or something.
Look, Seattle Department of Transportation, if Bertha broke at just 1,000 feet into its 1.7-mile journey, it’s safe to say that even with improvements, chances are it will break down again, and since it takes a year to repair, logic dictates we could still be trying to drill in the year 2746. You doubt my calculations? It’s simple: if X equals Y plus 1.7 miles, where X is time and Y comes before Z, you just add the sum together, carry the two (and this bag I need you to hold), and then you get 2746, which will be a good year for wine.
Maybe this is all for the better (I like meaningless expressions). That drill is the biggest underdog in Seattle, even more so than the Mariners (maybe they could shovel). It’s been laughed at and utterly humiliated for ages, and no one thinks that it has any chance of drilling again. But I believe. I believe in you, Bertha! We all believe in you!
Is it working? No? Oh, okay. I’ve seen a lot of movies so I thought that believe shit might work.