Quick Post (Or Does Anybody Know Any Personal Assistants Who Work For The Kicks?)
I wrote "Nine One One" from the perspective of a man who worked in the Twin Towers but had a day off. While watching the horrific scene unfold on his television, he begins to ponder his life. As a single, not very popular guy, he has no-one to share the experience with and as he sees people leaping from the windows to escape the heat, he realizes that it could've been him up there. Still, no-one calls to check on him and it puts the man into a numb sense of reality.
That's just how my mind works, I guess. My story on September 11th, 2001 was altogether different. I was single, but my phone rang off the hook all morning with friends and family checking in. Seems like a very long time ago.
Fear Of What?
Though you might not guess it, I have a mild fear of flying. Perhaps it's better to call it a fear of falling. As evidenced by my wild rollercoaster adventures, I tend to place myself into situations where falling happens at regular intervals. Still, it's the safety of the moment that keeps me from freaking out too much and 9/11 suddenly called into question the safety of any of us flying. In time, that fear thinned out and became even less gripping when I decided to eschew airlines for the life of a RVer. I know there are far more accidents on the road than there are in the air, but at least you have the sense that your life is in your hands-on-the-wheel and that, if diligent, you can outwit the nitwits who populate the roadways and create all manner of havoc.
Still, I'd rather drive than fly. Commercially, anyway.
My brother-in-law was the late, great Fred Cabanas, who took me up in his Pitts S2C one morning and tried his best to rattle my cage. Not only did I withstand 8 g's and not pass out, but I didn't even come close to hurling and kept telling him to do wilder stuff.
So, when my wife, Jae, got me an anniversary gift of a First Landings Aviation Disney Discovery Flight, I was tickled purple and couldn't wait to go (she's not a fan of small planes, so she opted not to join me.) With my busy schedule, it took all summer to clear a space in time to make the trip.
That space fell to this week. I looked at the calendar and thought; "9/11. Yep. That's the day. I'm gonna reclaim that day in the love of flying and banish the fear forever."
So, I met up with pilot Jim Shoemaker at 8 am this morning and we got into the Tecnam P2004 Bravo single-engine plane and headed south towards Disney. This is the smallest plane I've ever been in, yet I had no worries and simply sat back and enjoyed the journey, the views and the company. After circling Walt Disney World and headed back north to Apopka, Jim asked me "do you want to fly it?"
Oh boy, did I.
There's no other feeling like it in the world and I can now see why Freddie and Jim and so many other people are just nuts about taking off and soaring into the wild blue. I compared it to getting folks interested in mountain dulcimer. Once you get their hands on the instrument and show them a few things, they're usually hooked and come back for what turns out to be a lifelong affection for all things long and sort of violin shaped. Well, getting my hands on that stick proved to be a real eye-opener, because I did spend at least a few minutes perusing the company's website regarding obtaining a sport pilot's license. It may be a few years before I have the time and funds to pursue that dream, but it won't be hardly that long before I'm sitting in another cockpit having a go at being bird-like.
Oh, wait a minute. I see what they did there.
Milestones Are A Beautiful Thing
As of last night, the first goal milestone on Patreon was met, thanks to you all who pledged! In fact, we've already flown past (pun intended - gotta stick with the theme) the $50 per upload goal and are now cruising at the $60 mark (as of 6:28 ET.) Thank you, so much, to everyone who has contributed thus far!
Tomorrow, I'll be driving to Rising Sun Imports to drop Rita off with specialists who I believe will have her fixed up right as rain. Please, keep your fingers crossed for a mellow repair. She is, after all, still running and not having to be towed like before. That has to count for something, right?
I've been socking away cash all summer with an eye towards getting her fixed up, so here's to hoping that that will do it. If not, your pledges will help and, again, I'm very, very appreciative of that. Wherever I go, people comment on Rita and what a fine, rare bird she is (okay, that was unintentional - I think) and I know that. That's why I'm trying to hold on to her for as long as I can. Send some good fix-it vibes out to Ocala. This place came highly recommended by a wrecker technician who towed Rita, Jae and I home on New Year's Day a little over nine months ago, so I'm just going to put it out into the universe.
Everything's gonna be alright.