Friday, June 06, 2008

Red Eye and Early Bird Flights

Every night about 11:00 p.m., the Red Eye takes off from PDX headed for the East Coast where it is 2:00 a.m. When there is a crosswind blowing, the planes use a runway that sends them straight over my house. Usually that is right about the time I am settling down in bed, and I think about the people on that plane. What business venture or family crisis causes them to travel through the dark sky to arrive in the wee hours at cities still asleep? PDX bustles during the day but I have never been there at night. I imagine the shops and stores are closed with the big iron gates across their entrances. I imagine the food selections are limited. I imagine security officers stand around looking bored.

When I start to wake up in the morning, I can tell what time it is by the sound of planes flying over. A bevy of flights leaves between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. Business people headed to other states or vacationers off to Mexico or Hawaii. If I wake to silence, I know it is either too early to get up or I am going to be late to work. Sometimes I try to count the planes, but I always get distracted by the morning routines. I’m not much of a morning person and I am always curious about who gets up before dawn to start their trip.

Living near a major metropolitan airport provides a way to keep track of time without looking at a clock. Of course, now that airlines are struggling and fares are going up, there may be changes. Then I'll have to buy an alarm clock.


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