A bird flew into the left engine of my plane. While we rose higher into the night sky, the cabin circulated an air saturated with a scent of smoke. Nobody panicked as the noise escalated. We glanced over at our neighbor, eyeing them to verify that yes, the plane is having an unusual take off and no, this is not normal. Within ten minutes, the noise, the shaking, it is all still there when the pilot buzzes in, “well, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me, but it appears that the left engine has gone out and we’re going to have to turn back around and land back in Dallas. We expect to be back on the ground in about 15 minutes and we will determine then if we need to evacuate. We will be looking for an extra plane, but we may have to stay the night in Dallas tonight. Sorry for the inconvenience. We will know more soon.” Don’t fly American Airlines, apparently birds frequent their engines and engine failure isn’t much of a rarity. Happy flying.
Here’s a story that came to me while I ate a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie and black coffee in the Sea-Tac airport. Tully’s was out of plain old chocolate chip and O’Hare just seemed like a more predictable/busy airport for an old lady wearing paisley…
Never Trust Paisley
The shriveled elderly woman seemed out of place in her paisley patterned sun dress meandering through O’Hare in the wintertime. She didn’t march like the other ants who followed invisible arrows directing and controlling their formation. She didn’t weave in and out of this bodied traffic jam, she just stood there, solid still, forcing the anxious travelers to move around her flesh and bone traffic divide. With the sight of her my book grew significantly less interesting than real life and this was, of course, a serious rarity. There I was, just sitting there, staring through the window of a crammed airport lounge mesmerized by this spectacle. I couldn’t tell if she was lost, confused or if maybe she even had a purpose in her stance. For a brief moment I released myself from this view, peered back into the crevice of A Long Way Down and, once I looked up again, she had vanished into the swarm of hustled bodies, marching one by one. She had no idea that if she would have stood still for but only a moment longer she could have been free. Free to roam wild, from the constraining pressure hovering over us all. If only she didn’t fall into the trap of humanity, the one that guides your spirit along the designated identical path of 5.9 billion. I thought just maybe she was one of us, the unlucky million that saw through it all. Greed. Power. Status. Freedom. Slavery. All the ants go marching, one by one.