Imagine an airplane, flying through the inky night. Down below, the children play, crouching amidst the outstretched arms of flowering magnolia. Through the branches they spy the jet, creeping across the starless sky. It glows, phosphoresces, shines, crawling toward the western treeline. Its light is modest but eternal, invincible, transcendent. This is the 5-289282.
One of the problems with conventional lightbulbs is the filament. Most lightbulbs use a filament and the lifetime of filament is limited; filament will always burn out and the lightbulb will need to be replaced. This is a nuisance for airplane maintenance, because changing the bulb on a 747 is not as easy as changing the bulb in your reading lamp. The advent of High Intensity Discharge (HID) technology, also known as Metal Halide Lamp technology, makes what used to be a difficult task a lot less difficult. HID lamps have no filament. They do not burn out.
The children know nothing of this. They play their breathless games and dream of candy. Life is hard in this small village, but the children are happy. For now, anything is possible; for now, everything is cause for celebration. As long as the airplanes spill their radiance amidst the dark clouds, there is a light that never goes out, a light infinitely brighter than the amarillo sun which dries our land, skin, and hearts.
An airline uses headlights when taking off and landing; pilots are required to turn them on when descending below 15,000 feet. Typically, a standard filament-oriented bulb for a commercial jetliner will cost about $25, and will last between fifty and a hundred hours. Each time the lamp is changed, it costs the airline one man-hour—maybe $120—in addition to the cost of the bulb itself. Airlines, in an effort (now more than ever before) to trim costs, are looking to HID lamps to save money. Though they cost more initially—$300—the savings in the long run—even the short run—are significant. The HID lamps are currently being test-flown on Boeing jets based in Arizona. They will also be standard on the Joint Strike Fighter, being developed as the go-to combat plane for all NATO allies.
The grandmother cares not for NATO. To her, the Joint Strike Fighter is less than nothing. The politicians have given her nothing, and they never will. What does a Joint Strike Fighter know of our hills, our wind, our people? How can it fight the battle raging in our souls, a battle we can never win and cannot bear to lose? Let the children play; let them play while they can. Let them believe that there is a light that never goes out. They will know the truth all too soon. All lights go out, even the brightest—especially the brightest. The longer they hold on, the darker the darkness when they die.
If we do the math here, that’s an ordinary bulb for $25 for about seventy-five hours, plus $120 of labor for each change. Over a thousand hours, that’s approximately $332 in bulb costs, plus $1600 towards manpower—$1932. For the HID, initial cost is $300, plus maybe $90 for installation, plus…—plus nothing. That’s it. This is a light that never goes out.
¡Ay! Mis hermanos—
Este lugar, este mundo,
Todo soy nada,
Nada en el cielo.
El dia nunca vivía.
La luz está muerta.