Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nothing Else Compares

I look over at Dave. He's nodding off. His head bobbles, sways. The chin drops, snaps back up, then drops again. This routine goes on for several minutes before the chin becomes pinned, permanently it seems, against his slowly heaving chest. He's not supposed to be doing that. Perhaps he's praying. That's not prohibited, so I'll give Dave the benefit of the doubt. He brought his girlfriend with him for our long Roman layover, which we just concluded, so I presume he has much to be prayerful for. Me? I'm just gazing out over the wonderfully blue North Atlantic―a prayerful sight itself.

Now that we've left radar contact and entered oceanic airspace, we no longer have to monitor the radio. If they want to call us a chime will ring. Then we'll turn up our HF volume and answer them. If you ever crossed the ocean constantly listening to the hissing, squealing cacophany of raw HF radios, you know what a magnificent invention SELCAL is. Much better than sliced bread.

When your co-pilot is indisposed, prayerfully or otherwise, things get really quiet in the cockpit. The gently hissing slipstream tries to lure me into nodsville. Can't let that happen. Listening to music is verboten, but at times like this it keeps me alert. It raises my awareness.

The sky and water are beautiful. The ride is glassy smooth. In moments like this I'm given over to idyllic ponderings. The 767 slips along like a galactic cruiser. Destination: somewhere way out yonder. I put on my headset and look for a selection from my Android's music library. Too many to choose from. I flick the slider with my finger and let it glide. What ever it stops on, I'll hear.

It stops on Cold Play's Clocks.” My eyes water up when I see it. I start it and resume my gaze across the horizon.

I always will remember Clocks as “Keavy's song.” It was playing on the speakers on my porch one evening when she was hanging out logging some porch time with us. She stopped talking in mid-sentence and cocked an ear toward the speakers. “What's that song?” she asked. “Wow, I love that song!” Little did I know Keavy's days among us were short. (Read “Ode to Keavy” if you haven't.)

...a tiger's waiting to be tamed.

No wonder she liked that song. Taming a tiger was on her agenda.

And I sit, in the nose of this big flying tiger watching a blue world go by, listening to Keavy's song, remembering her, thinking of her mom.

...gonna come back and take you home.

Some die young at the hands of this compelling passion we call flying. Others are left to grow old and reflect on why they lasted so long. Here I am really living out a dream―the sarcastic jokes about that phrase aside. Masses of people by the billions would want to do this, and yet here I am. The significance of that is not lost on me. And it never will be. 

Nothing else compares. No, nothing else compares.
―Cold Play, “Clocks”


Giulia said...

...I like to think that it was her way of saying "hi"...


Beautiful post. Thanks

capnaux said...

Love SELCAL. Wish our airline would get it back!

Love "Clocks." Could listen to it for hours. Now I'll simply call it, "Keavy's Song."

Through your eulogy, love her too.

Thanks for sharing such profound memories.