Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday is for random stories

This one time I was up at the San Diego County building in Kearny Mesa for something to do with work. Now, San Diego County is kind of a hotbed of aviation. Charles Lindbergh's plane was built here, and he trained for his cross Atlantic flight here. Since the weather is usually so nice, a lot of people still fly small private planes here, and plus, we have a huge military presence, so its not odd to look up in the sky and see an experimental Navy jet or a Cessna flying around.

But this one time in Kearny Mesa, I saw a weird convergence of the two: A pair of Marine or Navy jets were up there, doing the Top Gun thing where they're flying together, doing the same manuevers, looking like they might crash into each other at any second; and then also, up in the wild blue yonder, was this little red bi-plane, like the kind you see in old photographs with flappers dancing on the wings.

I was staring at it, and this parking lot attendant came over. She was an older woman, maybe in her 50s or 60s, really short and fairly squat, and she saw me looking at the planes and starts giving me the rundown on everything they have been doing for the last 20 minutes. "The jets were up there and then the bi-plane came in and it was following them for a while, then it hung back" etc., etc., etc. Not knowing a damn thing about aviation, and to be honest, not totally caring, I gave her a polite, "Yeah, it's pretty cool."

Then she tells me, "I live around here and I see the planes all the time and I love it. A lot of people complain about the noise but I tell them, 'That's the sound of freedom right there.'"

"Indeed," I told her.



red said...

Awww. That's kind of heartwarming!

Anonymous said...

What that lady hears isn't planes - it's voices in her head! :)

words...words...words... said...

Aw, I've never seen a biplane! That sounds cool. In the spirit of random Friday though, I do have a biplane story.

When I was in Boy Scouts we went whitewater rafting in West Virginia. The second day we hit the really rough stuff, so the younger kids weren't allowed to go. As an alternate activity, one of the dads took them to a local called "Five Dollar Frank". Five Dollar Frank was about a hundred and fifty years old and had a biplane left over from what I can only surmise was the Civil War. And for five bucks, he'd take you up one at a time for a ride. Everything turned out okay, but I kept wondering what the parents would think of it. "Taking a $5 ride in a rusty biplane with the guy from Up" wasn't exactly spelled out in the permission slips.