2/23/15

6 "Miracles" of Air Travel . . .

I had the distinct pleasure of flying - coach - yesterday. I say this without any tongue in my cheek or resentment in my (under)tone.

I truly love to fly.

I mean I HATE to fly (I'm a fat man . . . if you want to know the fear of other people - be the fat man walking down the center aisle of a jet and make eye contact with people if only to feel their relief when you walk by them and they know you won't be sharing an arm rest) but I LOVE to fly. Why? Miracles happen - every. time. we. fly.

Don't believe me? Here are six miracles and gifts worth considering (of the dozens and dozens) . . .

  1. Physics - Let's dispense with this one immediately. There are, including the vessel, the people, the luggage, and the peanut butter M&Ms tucked in to carry-on bags, about 987,000 pounds (yes - 50 TONS) atop the wheels of a Boeing 747 and yet it can get from sagged at the gate to airborne in less than three miles of runway. That is truly fantastic, right? Yes. I'm right.
  2. Orientation - A plane, once in the air, can rise to as high as 45,000 feet and stay at that height for hours at a time. It can climb and descend through clouds, fog, precipitation, blinding sun, and in space shared by billions of birds, insects, trees, other planes, etc. and then - at the end - find another three mile strip of asphalt to set itself down up. Amazing.
  3. Order - Have you ever seen a herd of cattle in a field or a "school" of fish in deep water? How about a flock of birds in the sky? We marvel at how they move and rest and fold as a group and in unison. Now picture thousands of people in an airport all milling about to, in time, file on to a plane to sit - shoulder to shoulder - for hours at a time. It really is a wonder we don't have more incidents of people just losing their sh*t in an airport or on a plane. Millions of Americans fly every year with, statistically, more order and less incident than any flock of geese heading south for the winter.
  4. Fashion Choices - You can observe so much fashion at the airport. You've got the active duty military members in uniform (I always try to say "Thank you for your service." and feel like we should always let them sit in empty first class seats) all the way far, far down the ladder to those idiots who are leaving Wichita in February but, since they will eventually land in Orlando or St. Tropical Island they feel they MUST wear their shorts and horrible "camp" shirts. Can I make a request, people? Respect yourself as you head off to the airport? Jeans and sneakers? Maybe. Sweat/yoga pants and flip flops? Unacceptable. 
  5. People Watching - It goes without saying that people are their best and worst at the airport. I saw a "Make a Wish" kid yesterday about to take his first flight so super, super excited to get on a jet. Three chairs down in the waiting area was a woman bitching and complaining about a 20 minute delay to due to weather. It is funny how we view "time" and how people behave. 
  6. Hugs - I have talked about this so many times on this blog but, for me, there is nothing better than the security line at the airport. It is where people say their tearful "good-byes" and where people say their tearful "welcome homes". I will seriously sit and watch people come and go and just luxuriate in the human experience that can be found among the polyester uniforms of TSA agents.