The very next day after that last post I find myself sitting in first class next to an interesting character. I have to set the stage.
Nice guy, pretty good sized black kid, late teens, with all-new clothes. The tags were still on. He was wearing a Pittsburg black-and-yellow theme, from the “P” ball cap to the new white shoes with black-and-yellow trim. He didn’t know how to find his seat, which was a clue he was pretty new to flying. He’s headed to see family in Dallas, flying through Atlanta, and the first plane he ever rides is an hour and a half late taking off.
Okey-dokey. He’s a bit nervous. We have a chat about flying. The flight attendant had to explain that he not only had to stop texting, he had to turn his phone off – both of them. I had to explain after we were taxiing to the runway that no, he could not get off the plane, it was too late to do that. He was fairly convinced it was time to die. I explained that was not going to happen.
Takeoff was uneventful, except that he was clinging for dear life to anything he could grab. I explained all of the noises and so on. When we got some altitude and he relaxed a bit, he asked how fast we were going. I told him probably pretty close to 500 mph. He was all, “No Way!” and I was all, “Uh-huh – WAY!” and showed him the plane specs in the magazine.
As I peeked out the window, I saw we were coming up on a cloud layer, so I told him to check it out and warned we’d feel a couple bumps in the cloud. When we went through the clouds, you would be able to see how fast we were really going.
Well, it was late evening, and we were headed almost due south with the sun coming from the other side of the plane. We zipped through the layer and the view was absolutely stunning. It got a “wow” from both of us – him because he’d never seen anything like that, and me because it was a reverse view of the dream I described in the last post.
He was much more relaxed after that, as he figured out that the sun was shining on top of all the nasty weather, and no matter how ugly it was below, it was beautiful above. I’m not waxing poetic, by the way, he actually said that. It’s a good idea to get yourself a fresh viewpoint now and then. After we landed, he was pretty sold on this whole “flying” thing.
Just for jollies, since I was home, and he was really late for his connection in the busiest airport in the world, I took him to the connecting gate. His connection was also late, and he got on his flight to Dallas.