Friday, May 2, 2008

Lookin to the Skies

Driving back from a big Cinco de Mayo shindig at my mom's middle school tonight I looked up into the sky to see the enormous belly of a Fedex plane about to Land at Seatac airport.
Growing up next to an international airport, plane watching has almost become a sport for us. We've come to know the schedule of certain airlines almost by heart. For example Korean Air leaves at around 7:45 in the morning, China Air at 11am and then British Airways flys in at 4:30 and leaves again at 6:30. These flights interspersed along with hundreds of Alaksa Air, United,Southwest, Northwest and Hawaiian airlines flights, and now added to the group are Air France and Virgin AMerica.
At a church just down the road from my house you can sit in thier back parking lot and have a complete view of both runways. Often as I'm driving home from school I'll look over and see a mailman sitting in his truck taking an afternoon break watching the planes and I'm halfway tempted to join him. There's something magical in those big steal beasts to me. They represent opportunity and adventure. Everytime I see a plane take off I find myself wishing I was one it (especially one of the international flights) or even the ones landing because it means I would be coming back from somewhere fantastic (assuming).
Living next to an airport isn't all magic and glamour though. Sometimes it's annoying, like in the summer when I'm trying to talk on the phone outside and a noisy jet revs it's engines or a small plane flies overhead (we sold our airspace to the Port of Seattle to get free soundproof windows), and sometimes it's even scarey. I can remember one day when I was 12, it was snowing that night and everyone on the street was out playing in the snow when we heard a plane louder than ever before and looked up to see a jet (it was a monster plane, not just your little 20 seater) barely clearing the trees, or at least that's what it felt like. It turned out that a plane coming in from Russia missed the runway and tried to land on our houses instead. You'd think that since they're from Russia that they'd be used to snow.
In less than a month now I will be boarding a plane again to take me halfway around the world. Halfway around the world from my friends, my family and everything that's familiar. It's exhilirating and terrifying at the same time. I can't wait to board my big steal monster but I'm sure gonna miss everything I leave behind.

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