The Other End of Sunset

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Not a Nightmare at 20,000 feet, more like a question at 36,000....

Well, I'm crafting this prose on a plane. That's not a surprise.

However, I decided to write this entry not because I am particularly inspired, but rather because I am particularly cold. There's a vent on full blast somewhere near me on this Boeing 737, and I'm really (really) cold. I have closed every single vent I could find, but I have apparently missed one. And man is it cold. It's so cold, I think my accent is going to freeze off. Which would be a good thing, now that I think about it.

Anyway, my PowerBook gets really warm. It is sitting on my lap, and will serve as a remarkably inefficient space heater. At this moment, I care less about the efficiency than the effectiveness. And it is a very effective heater.

Ahh, the lament of the American - don't worry about the wasted energy, just give me more space, power, and foot-pounds of torque. There are always more countries to invade in order to get the oil, right? (BTW, I drive cars that get terrible gas mileage. This paragraph is about me, too...)

I just looked out the window. We are cruising at 36,000 feet, over a light cloud layer that looks like white cotton candy. It's pretty, and not ominous looking. Almost like skiing across a fresh powder day, when you are the first off the lift, and the snow is so smooth, and has that matte finish on top. And makes that sound as you ski through it.

The thing that caught my eye isn't the clouds, or their poetic beauty. Rather, I notice that there is dirt on the wings of the plane.

I'm no Martha Stewart (or the cleaning equivalent). I'm not saying it's bad that there's dirt. I don't have a moral issue with the folks who are responsible for washing the planes, and I don't want to write somebody and complain about shoddy craftsmanship on the plane-cleaners.

No, I'm saying that I'm shocked because there is dirt. Really, shocked. Like as in, how does dirt stick to the wing? We must be going greater than 300 miles per hour. Why doesn't it fly off?

I mean, I used to wakeboard a lot. At like 25 miles per hour. It's not so easy to hang onto the rope behind the boat at that speed. How is the dirt hanging on to a largely smooth wing?

Or think about a motorcyclist, at 60 miles per hour. Your body is really getting buffeted. It doesn't feel so good. How the hell is that dirt not getting beaten off?

Maybe it's a Bernoulli effect on top of the wing? The low pressure above the wing keeps the dirt stuck to the wing? Hmm. What a conundrum. Perhaps it is just motivated dirt, trying to travel, and see rock relatives in the Pacific Northwest or so. "Grampa stone, I haven't seen you since I was a puddle" or something.

I am flying back north from San Diego. It is lovely there. If you haven't spent time there, I'd recommend it. It was in the mid 70's and sunny during my trip. But, then again, it's always in the mid 70's and sunny there. I spent some time in Pacific Beach, and some more in Solana Beach. I spent a fair chunk of time on the freeways. It's not LA, but it's close.

I took the dogs. They liked it. They like San Diego, it's where they were both born, and rescued. They don't get to play at Dog Beach (too many worms at the like) but they get to walk along the bay. They dug it.

What? I haven't talked about the dogs? Surely I have? I have a brown dog - he's a lab mixed with... well... something - and a Dalmatian. They are great dogs. My Dal comes to work with me sometimes, but not often enough! They have lived together for ~5 years.

She's the perfect outdoor dog, he's the perfect indoor dog. She gets along with all people, and almost all dogs - if your dog is easily confusable with a squirrel, keep it away from my Dal. She likes to hunt rats, and she may hunt your dog by mistake. However, she will eat ANYTHING she can reach in the house, so she stays in a large crate when nobody is around. The brown dog is terrible with other dogs, and is generally scared of children. Or adults. Or, well, pretty much anything that moves. He doesn't seem scared of rocks. They don't move fast. On the other hand, he will never touch anything that isn't his - he even waits to eat his dinner to make sure you really gave it to him. He's great indoors. She's great outdoors. They are different.

They got into a spat on the way down there. It is a long drive, probably like 8 hours or so - and they were stuck in the back seat together. It doesn't seem so surprising in hindsight. I mean, didn't you fight with your sister on long drives? They can't have verbal fights - "You're on my side!" - so sometimes they growl and bite each other. It usually lasts about a second. And occurs every 6 months or so. Naturally, this time was when I was in a car, at night, driving 80 miles per hour down a freeway.

I yelled "Shit! Stop that!" and started flailing my arms around like a drum major on crack. The band down the street started playing faster, my car careened across lanes of traffic, and ...

They didn't listen to me, and kept fighting.

It's a dominant theme of my life - screaming stop that, and being ignored. But let's ignore that, for now, shall we?

I ended up almost stopping on the freeway to get them separated and then pulling off to the side of the road to get them out of the car, and calmed down. Annoying. But everyone is ok. Brown has really thick fur, he doesn't have a scratch. The Dal has a scratch on her ear - her ears are always what gets marked. They are a little tense with each other. They'll get over it. And I didn't get in an accident on the freeway. Thank god it was a little late, and in the middle of nowhere just north of the Marine base.

So, what's the moral of today's posting? Planes are not angels with dirty faces, but may have personal hygiene issues that involve Bernoulli. Dogs have personalities, and sometimes they are inexplicable. And a PITA.

And I'm getting ready to get in a taxi, on the way home. Not to some random city, but to my own house, and my own bed, and the colors on the bedroom wall that I picked out. Nice, eh?

Hope you are safe and warm in your taxi...