April 13, 2005

Fly Like An Eagle.

The past couple of days I’ve found myself daydreaming about becoming a private pilot. I think it’s the spring in the air or something, but I’ve really had the urge to get myself into a flying school and get that pilot’s license I’ve dreamed of.

Flying is in my blood, I suppose. My grandfather is a pilot (or at least he was, now he’s content on his motorcycle at nearly 90 years old). My dad is a private pilot and is in the process of building his second airplane. When I was a teenager he restored a 1940 Piper J5-A (nothing bonds a family better than getting high on airplane glue together when we’re all reassembling dad’s airplane!). He later built an Acrosport, which he flies during the nice weather.

I just have these wonderful dreams of Earl and I jumping into our brand new Cessna Skyhawk and flying off to his dad’s house in half the time. Or for a fun-filled weekend getaway. Or heck, to a pancake breakfast at a little airport in the middle of nowhere.

We used to do that when I was a kid. Dad and I would jump into the J-5A and head off to a little airport in Weedsport on a summer Sunday morning for breakfast. Grandpa would go ahead of us in his faster, home-built Jungster.

Some of my fondest memories of growing up took place at the local airport, a less than a mile strip of mowed grass in the middle of nowhere, with a gravel pit at one end and a string of utility wires at the other. There’s several hangers at one end to make it all look official. That and the “16” and “34” on their respective ends of the runway. Whenever we heard a plane fly over the house, we’d always look up to see who was flying. We’d have picnics at the airport with the rest of the pilots association. Dad would give rides. Heck, I’ve even flown a couple of times.

Earl has never flown in a private plane before. I’d love to have the honor of giving him his virgin voyage.

I see a goal forming… to become a pilot before I’m 40.

Cell Phone Bully.

I did a mean thing today. I normally don’t try to go out and do mean things, but for some reason I just felt like I had to do something, so I chose mean.

Driving home from lunch this afternoon, I took one of our local expressways. It’s a three lane deal. The downtown exit uses two lanes, the rightmost lane exits in the right lane, the middle lane can either use the left lane of the exit or continue straight ahead on the expressway.

I started passing a Hummer while in the middle lane. It was your typical scene. The only thing bigger than the vehicle was the driver’s hair. She was yakking on her cell phone, which she was holding in her left hand and steering with her right hand. I could see her glancing to the left, looking to move to the middle lane, so she could presumably continue on the expressway. Since she was yakking on her phone, which is illegal in New York State by the way, she didn’t turn on her turn signal, she just kept trying to move to the left. Problem was, I was there. And I wasn’t moving.

Now, I know that I contributed to road rage and all that. I know that. And for what it’s worth, I think that the whole “driver can’t use a hand held cell phone” law is absolutely ridiculous, but in our society its about controlling the sheep as much as possible, not letting them make decisions on their own. But the thing was she didn’t signal to move over and the OCD in me kicked into gear. She wasn’t following the letter of the law. She wasn’t about to ding up her precious Hummer, so I wasn’t really concerned about an accident. So I herded her off the exit ramp.

I then gunned it and watched her do a U-turn back up the exit ramp to get back on the expressway. She couldn’t flip me off. She was too busy talking on her cell phone.

When did talking on the telephone become so damn important, anyways? If I hear one more blip, bleep, bloop or tinny rendition of the William Tell Overture in the middle of K-Mart, I’m going to lose my mind and flush the closest Motorola down the toilet. I mean really. Good manners? Forget it! It wasn’t a month ago that Earl and I had to listen to Miss One Tooth hold a custody battle with someone on the other end of her cell phone in the middle of Housewares at Target. “It’s YOUR turn to take the kids!”, she screamed, amongst the spittle. Why should the American public be subject to that?

“I want a large pie with pepperoni and sausage”, Mr. Yuppie demanded over his cell phone in the middle of the doctors office.

“Did you move your bowels yet?”, Mrs. Concerned asked of someone via cell phone in the middle of produce at Price Chopper.

How did we, the American People, survive without cell phones for so long? Why, we went over 200 years without cell phones and over 100 years with nothing but pay phones on a corner. What’s changed? I long for the days when our fingers would do the walking, in the privacy of our own home.

Now everyone’s fingers are walking on my last nerve. Hang up the fscking phone so I can mind my own business.