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Lj Idol: The Greatest Joy I've Known? Taking To The Skies - AS IT HAPPENS

Tue, Mar. 27th, 2007

05:22 pm - Lj Idol: The Greatest Joy I've Known? Taking To The Skies

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"Ya'll boys ready" my mom asked my cousin and me as we piled the last of our toiletries into huge suitcases and rolled them out into the living room. I was nervous and giddy at the same time, it felt like nothing I had ever known before. I was on my way across the country, from Charlotte to Los Angeles.

The year was 1990. Outside, the weather was warm and pleasant, just the way it should be at the beginning of May.

We piled into the car and headed over to the airport. We sang songs the entire time, I think as a means of energy release so that we wouldn't drive my poor mom crazy. At McDonald's, I purchased a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, but was simply unable to eat a bite.

We got to the lots, my mom had practiced finding the US Air Terminal a couple of days ago so that it wouldn't be so difficult for us on this morning. Starting to tear up a little, she brought us just inside of the doors and left us with the adult chaperones who would be accompanying us on our journey. "I'm gonna pray from the time you take off until you land" she said, then she turned and left.

Once inside, we were paired off with different airport volunteers. There were six of us in all and every one of us was blind, in fact the whole purpose of this trip was to go and compete in something called the Braille Institute Olympics.

"So, you're going to Mexico?" my helper asked, sounding quite serious. "No, I'm supposed to go to Los Angeles" I replied. "Oh yeah? Well I've been told to put you on a plane to Mexico." Nearly starting to cry, I tried to get away from this madman, but he just started laughing and guided me forward. Why are adults so cruel to kids sometimes?

I remember the thrill of anticipation as I sat in that huge machine, seatbelt tight on my waiste, wondering what it would feel like to race off into the sky. I was alarmed though when they started reading off all the emergency preparation stuff because no one had told me to be expecting this. "Use my seat cushion as a flotation device?" I thought. "I didn't know we would be landing in the water!"

Finally, we got ready to takeoff. To this day, I don't think there are many feelings like it for some reason. All that power, yet a sense of freeing oneself from the ground at the same time. Then I was even more amazed when we hit cruising altitude and the feeling of motion almost ceased. "Are we still moving?" I asked the lady sitting next to me. "Yes, very fast in fact."

I got even more laughs because someone had told me that I would have to pay the flight attendant when he served my food. In the way that only a habitually broke person could understand, I tried to give him my little $2. "Nah, keep that man" he said as I tore into my cheese crapes (what the heck are those!)

I could go on and on about that flight, it really made me excited about travel even to this day. I know which movie they showed "Steel Magnolias", and what we ate just before landing at LAX, some kind of weird tasting circular ice cream sandwiches.

Airline travel is no longer as romantic or comfortable as it was even in the early 1990's, see headlines of planes parked on the tarmac for hours. But the joy that I experienced on that day has not yet diminished for me. Check back with me in a few years, and we'll see how much that has changed.

Comments:

From:1jodie
Date:March 27th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
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i enjoy flying! reading your entry makes me remember that. i still get excited just before the plane takes off and during take off. my favorite part of the flight.

my first flight (that i remember... not the one when i was flown from Korea to the US) wasn't until i was a senior in high school and we were going to this competition/event in Washington, DC.
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 27th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, there is something fascinating about takeoff. I heard that on those new a-380 super jumbo jets, they have a camera in the nose and you can watch the plane takeoff on a monitor in the seat in front of you. They said it looked real cool! Too bad no US airlines have bought one of those planes yet.
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From:see_anotherside
Date:March 27th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
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Cute post! I remember how excited I was, too, the first time I travelled in a plane.
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 27th, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. Yeah, it could be quite exciting.
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 27th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
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Hey! Thanks.
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From:skiesclear
Date:March 27th, 2007 10:36 pm (UTC)
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I know what it is to love flight. The first time I flew, I was one of the many passengers on a southwest flight to Los Angeles, and the moment I sat down, I knew I was in the wrong seat.

I havent flown (as pilot) in several years now.. I miss it terribly.
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 27th, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
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Haha, interesting way to have your desired career revealed to you. I think if I could, I would love flying planes. I guess I just have to enjoy the ride, though.
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From:skiesclear
Date:March 27th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
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You and me both! I'm only a passenger again for the foreseeable future unless I win some kind of lottery. I do have a goal to buy a share in a single-engine airplane and start flying again sometime before I'm 40.

Your post brought back all the magic for me again. Thank you :)
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 27th, 2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
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You're welcome, this is what I love to capture.
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From:anamacha
Date:March 28th, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
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I don't remember the first time I travelled, but this makes me feel it again. Thanks! I'll be writing my entry shortly.
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 28th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
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Thank ya!
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From:rnb_capricorn
Date:March 28th, 2007 02:39 am (UTC)
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It amazes me how a few words can make an experience that might seem trivial to some suddenly take on a whole new life. In other words, I enjoyed that, and I'm serious when I say I never knew someone could write about flying and make it seem so exciting.
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 28th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
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Haha, well glad you enjoyed it! That was exciting to me at the time, so I hope a little of that came through.
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 28th, 2007 09:20 pm (UTC)
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I've never flown in the rain, and don't have a particular desire to do so either. I was trying to travel on my birthday, but it got washed out by a continuous rainfall so I had to do it the next. Of course, this did not make me happy.
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From:oceansedge
Date:March 28th, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC)
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As an airline dispatcher, I get to hear a lot of stories like this. They never cease to inspire me.

I went into aviation because I love to fly, it's a never ending thrill for me. As a dispatcher I don't get to see much of the 'flying public', but the stories remind me constantly of how important what we do is, and how important it is we do it well. :)

Thank you for this post.
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 28th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I think that's a cool job! I wanna find something to do in an airport someday, I just like being in the environment.
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From:imafarmgirl
Date:March 28th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)
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Great post. Boy, they really picked on you!
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 28th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)
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Thanks.

Haha yeah, I think they got some kind of twisted pleasure out of it, oh well!
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From:nonabloch
Date:March 28th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
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Great LJ Idol post!

You know, clauderainsrm is pimping you out over there in the Green Room! Maybe you'll get more attention this week, although I've felt that your entries every week have been good.

So, what happened at the Braille Olympics? The flying story is good, but now I want to know what happened next!
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 28th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, and yeah I saw that comment. lol

Well, we were way slower than everybody else, because we were a bunch of amateurs going up against mostly professional runners. We worked hard to get there though, months of training by running up and down the street, on high school race tracks and in brutal weather conditions from extreme cold to near stroke inducing heat. I think that's where the value lay in that anyway, learning to work hard at something and actually achieve it.
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From:spydielives
Date:March 29th, 2007 02:35 am (UTC)
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I remember my first flight - reading your entry brought a sad smile to my face. I shall have to think about that time in my life, and see if I can not pull some writing from then.

When I saw your name on your profile page, I was compelled to add you to my "Struggles and Successes" list (what the mundane refer to as a friends list). J is my elder son's name. A is my younger son's name.
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From:johnmill79
Date:March 29th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
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Oh? Well you're certainly welcome to add me! I love getting to knew new folks, and especially those who are good at writing. I'm trying to get myself to the next level using things like this competition.
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