Just Plane Cool

Just felt like plane old writing today. I live in close proximity to a major airport. The usual incoming traffic pattern brings the jets in view one by one outside of my living room window. In the wintertime when I am curled up on the corner of my couch on dark evenings with my notebook, I watch them. There are so many, starting out as small lights in the distance, then piercing the dark, getting bigger as they grow near.   In the summertime they are close and powerful overhead. I like that. Most head in via straight lines, yet some approach at such angles that I think the pilot and copilot must be engaged in some sort of a bet with one another or the control tower folks and that the passengers must be on top of each other sideways.

Whatever the situation, my overall thought when I watch them is how amazing it is that these instruments of wonder are transporting loved ones to loved ones all over the world in very short bursts of time. How cool is that. Make a decision to visit, click a few clicks, pick a date, head to the airport jump on board and you’re there. Nice. Even if your purpose is for business and less for fun, you’re benefiting your life by earning money through the convenience of getting from city to city quickly. No matter that many get aggravated by the inconvenience of long lines, delays and security.

During my lifetime I have been both fascinated by and phobic about traveling by plane. A few years ago my family and I took a trip (by car) to North Carolina where I insisted on visiting the place where the historic first flight took place. Risking nerdiness, I walked the path that the Wright brothers’ unstable airplane took, still feeling the energy and their excitement of the moment. It brought me chills, and gave me satisfaction as does every instance where someone has an “impossible” idea, becomes fixated on it, gets laughs at and bullied about it until they make it work. What an example of how the human potential is underestimated and underutilized. If we can take one small “hmmmmmm” and some canvas and wood and run with it (literally down a field) combine it with a few more thoughts and will to make it work and turn it into what air travel is today, just think of what else we can do.

For this most part we take air travel for granted these days until occasional tragic accidents happen and the media brings them to our attention. That did happen here a few years back and two miles from my house when a commuter plane crashed with all on board losing their lives. Those are events that bring about grief, awareness to policies ways to improve other lives. Devastation sometimes brings good.

Through time I have become friendly and comfortable with air travel, taking pleasure in the serenity of the cramped space and quiet time, now always seeking a window seat, even if it is near a wing. That way I can be on the lookout for the moon or special sunrise or sunset (no longer the hairy monster of the movies that I used to see). So line them up, plane by plane by plane big and small down from the sky and onto the runways and back up again. It’s a constant cycle of people meeting, corporate partners shaking hands and making deals, relationships being established, reunited and restored. Even if one is traveling to a funeral, without the need to focus on the drive, potential thought-provoking time is able to take place to process grief, consider amends or happy memory therapy if need be. Watching them from my house makes me smile, understanding that these are no longer just the giant hunks of suspended metal that I watched overhead in my youth, but family connectors.