Putting a Face to the Flight

Driving west on Ocean Blvd to downtown Long Beach

Photo taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

I am going to file this under the category of “oh, california” when really it should be under “oh, serendipity”….
This weekend is the annual Long Beach Grand Prix, of which I had forgotten about until this morning when I went to walk the dogs and could hear the sound of screaming engines 7 or so miles away across the Long Beach bay.
Mid-morning I got a call from my brother Joe, asking if I would pick him and his girlfriend, Christine, up and drop them off in downtown Long Beach so that they could go to the Grand Prix. Sure, I said. Off I went, picked them up and dropped them off in front of the Convention Center on Ocean Ave so they could buy tickets.
About 7:20pm, this evening, I got a call asking if I could pick them back up. This evening’s pick up was a bit more elaborate as all of downtown was one big party zone, with streets blocked off and cops re-routing traffic. When I was finally able to get to Pine & 1st Street it was in the wrong direction from our pick up point and I had to yell out the open window of my car to Joe & Christine who were talking to another couple.
Luckily the light was red and they all ran across Pine Ave to jump in my car. All four of them. I was introduced to the other couple who needed a ride down to 2nd Street, which was on the way. The man of the couple was sitting in the middle and he looked vaguely familiar, when he spoke his voice was also familiar.
As we drove east on Ocean Ave down to 2nd Street, it came out that my passenger was a pilot for one of my favorite airlines and not just any pilot, but he flies two of the most prestigious routes LAX to Tokyo and LAX to LHR.
Yep, LAX to London-town, my favorite non-stop. I then asked, “Do you fly the flight that goes out of LAX at ____ and departs LHR at ______?”
He said, “That’s my plane.” He then went on to tell me various bits and ask when was the last time I flew that route, and yes he was the pilot on many of the flights that I have been on the last few years. We also agreed that the long-long haul flights should all have wifi and where he thought that flying economy was rough, I disagreed because I am short and if the airlines has a power port in economy, then I am happy, though I would be happier with wifi. etc.
I dropped him and his companion off at 2nd Street and said goodbye. As my brother, Christine, and I drove home, I geeked out and giggled a bit.
My brother, “Why are you so happy?”
Me, “Well, I love to fly to London. Love it. I love that flight and it is so nice to now have a person and a face to the faceless people behind the locked door flying the plane.”
My brother, “Oh.”
Me, “And best yet, it is much better to find out that one of your badass Glamis friends is my pilot on my favorite flight than some boring suburban dude, as he will most likely know exactly what to do in the case of an emergency.”
My brother laughed at this.
No really, I love traveling but after 9-11 flying has gotten very un-fun, so it was delightful to meet a pilot who flies my favorite route between LAX and London who is a friend of the family and is a really nice, cool guy. A guy that was at the Grand Prix, a guy who is a part of my brother’s Glamis pack of friends, a guy who pilots planes between LA and London and LA and Tokyo.
This makes me happy.

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