Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Are We Cleared or Not

I found myself travel a lot lately, on business, day trips and overnight trips, short ones. Quickies. Trips that don't make you miss anyone, yet, if you don't already miss them.

I never really like flying, but I like to check out the pilots. Some pilots are better looking than others. But I always prefer the older, wiser and more experienced ones. White hair make me sing in this case.

I want to feel in good hands as far as flying goes.

Sometime you get more than that, when you have a pilot that is not only into flying a plane (I sincerely hope so), but also into doing talk shows. I was lucky last week during my business trip for encountering such an character.

We stayed to have dinner with clients. That means we can not make the Delta shuttle, the fast, punctual, business like, sleek Delta shuttle, from national airport. We had to go to Dulles for a normal United Airway express plane.

Dulles airport was badly designed. I had to take off my Fendi shoes with very thin heel to walk all the distance to our shuttle bus, which then took us to the old and grey terminal located in the middle of runways.

Customers were the mix of various small counties located in the eastern side of the Mississippi, their accent and dress code are equally weird to me.

By the time we board, we had to walk along a very long and narrow tube and passed several red signs that says: White Plain, Binghamton, etc. It looked like a train station, very 50s style. We found the sign that says LaGuardia. I looked outside, thank god it was not a propeller. I hate propellers. A fan-like thing carry me over the sky is a weird notion.

It was a small jet. We got on and settled down. Our flight was scheduled to leave around 9:39 pm.

We began to push back. Good. We were on time. I was relieved.

Suddenly the speaker beeped, our captain greeted us:

"Hello, everyone, good evening. Very happy to have to tonight. All along the northeast coast, there is rain. You know, whenever the weather is bad, arriving planes begin to get crowded. And there will be delays. We just got the delay instructions and our wheels will be up in 2 hours."

I don't like the notion of wheels up. That sounded dangerous.

He continued with a normal pace" But I figure since we alreay boarded, there is not need for us to de board. You will just wait in this Aluminum tube. And instead of waiting here at the gate, I figure we will push back and wait in the taxi way. "

2 hours in a small tube out there in a busy maze of runways and taxi ways sounded more dangerous to me.

People moaned. I felt more tired than ever.

We continued to taxi, even picking up some speed. 5 minutes later, Captain spoke again with a happy tune: I have good news to report. Actually we got cleared to go. So obviously there is no delay at LaGuardia. So we are on our way! Sorry about that confusion. "

Good news. I looked around. There are two young people sitting across the airle from me, we smiled at each other.

We were doing some serious taxing, as if we are really heading to the take off run way. I was happy. Just want to go home and go to bed.

But gradually we felt that we were heading toward a darker area of the airport. Something was not right. Right then, captain addressed us again: Now looks like we do have a delay. Could be in an hour. They just found the paper that said we had a delay. So we do have to wait. I will let you know more of what is going on."

Our small plane was traveling inside a huge airport with purpose and determination of leaving at some time that night.

Captain suddenly said from the speaker: "You know, this is a corporate jet, used to be. They had to take out the lounge chair and sofa to make it like what it is now. We need to move some people to balance the plane."

I think first half of the sentence is not necessary information.

"Operations people told us to move 2 people from front to the back".

One of the black girl smiling at me before moved across aisle by herself. She was in the front of me now. Two people moved toward the back. I hate small planes. I feel like sitting on a kite.

Capitan spoke again" Thanks for your patience. We just got the clearance to go, but that is 18 minutes pass the hour, meaning, we are going to take off in 18 minutes from now--No, I got the math wrong. It is 28 minutes from now, since we are now 10 to 10. So we are going to go sit in the corner for a while. I will shut off the engine". Great. So we did.

We sat in the dark, all quiet around us. I looked outside the plane, can not see a thing. I thought of the city I used to visit every year. National Gallery, streets at Georgetown.

Captain must have felt alone, he said" I am only as good as the information I have. And tonight I have not been good. I apologize. "

People waited. After a pause, he said: We do need to wait another 10 minutes before leaving. "

I suddenly liked him for sharing too much information, for making our mood up and down like a roller coaster. He cared and he was funny. He would rather speak out rather than remain silent and keep us in the dark. We were already in the dark, waiting.

After sometime, captain restarted the engine, our small plane was finally ready to go. I suddenly began to miss someone and I was worried that the plan might crash. That will be too bad. We were finally cleared to go. I pulled out my blackberry and began to write this little note.

"I am on a returning flight from Dulles to LaGuardia. It is a small jet. Out captain has changed our schedule like 5 times in the last hour, we are sitting on a dark corner of the airport waiting to be released. People have been moved across ariel to balance the plane. Captain said he is only as good as the information he has, and tonight, he has not been good. He is funny. That reminds me of you. When he said that there are rains across the northeast coast I felt this is truly home to me. We are taking off now. Hope you are well..."

I did not read his reply until next day: "I forgot you were in Washington. Hope your flight goes well." This man is short in words, or just love me too much.

I instantly responded: "The flight turned out to be good, a small jet gliding above the cloud with the view of a beautiful half moon in the night sky. I will write a post about it--the chatty captain is too funny. And my client meeting went really well. How have you been? Got some sleep?" I am too wordy and emotionally needy and expressive in any relationships. I am only woman.

And indeed once we took off, it was such a beautiful flight, a small plane in the dark blue night sky, quiet and elegantly flying, like in a Miyazaki movie. Even our captain was quiet. He must be staring at the moon like I did. He must be a sentimental man.

When we finally arrived, our captain, being him, spoke again: Welcome to New York city, everyone. If you happen to notice, we are right on time. "

He was proud. And he should be. He tried.

I think I am in love with my loving and chatty Pilot of the day.


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