So, today The Wife and I got back on a plane for the first time since the pandemic started. This was no small task given that we binge-watched twelve seasons of Mayday and Air Disasters during the pandemic and both swore we would never get on a plane again. But as I mentioned in a prior post, if the GSB team has any chance of making it to Italy in September, we have to get back on the horse and see if we can still ride.
So, we are in the security line, and I’m unloading my computer bag, my belt, my shoes and emptying my pockets in the plastic bins on the security belt and couldn’t remember whether I had to remove my watch. After all, it had been 15 months since I had done this. So, I held up my arm with my watch on it for one of the TSA’s finest to see, gesturing. In response, he says, “Did I say remove your watch? On second thought, is that a Rolex?” Mildly funny. I retort, “Well I’ve been felt up so many times on the other side of the scanner, I just assumed you’d want me to take it off also.”
I then make my way through the porno scanner, and Seinfeld’s partner pulls me aside and gives me the pat down. And, he was good, real good. He caught me with some chapstick and a microfiber cloth to clean my glasses in my pockets. Not exactly a box-cutter or a shoe bomb, but we can all fly safer now knowing people with chapped lips and dirty glasses will not be able to get past our nation’s first line of terrorism defense.
Notwithstanding this poor start to our trip, I was still optimistic. While standing at the gate ready to board, the pilot walks up and the gate attendant says to the pilot, “Are you going to depart on time?” The pilot says, “I don’t know. Are you going to get them boarded on time.” This is not the sort of interaction and teamwork that inspires confidence in those of us who are getting ready to be jammed into a tin can and shoved through the air at 500 miles per hour, but I shrug it off. I just figure the TSA and the flight crew are still a little rusty as a result of the pandemic.
When I get on the plane, I see Eric Gordon is sitting behind me. If you don’t know, Eric Gordon plays for the NBA’s Houston Rockets. How good is he? Well, the Rockets paid him $17M this year. So, we chat a little because I am from Bloomington, Indiana and played basketball in college, and Eric played college ball in Bloomington at Indiana University. We chat about his restaurant in Bloomington, Bobby Knight, and Kelvin Sampson.
Now, I consider myself a realist. I recognize bad things sometimes happen to good people, and I accept that probably I and everyone else on this plane is expendable. But knowing Eric Gordon is on the plane, I’m thinking “There is no way the good Lord is going to let this plane go down with the Rocket’s only shooting guard on it.” So, I relax a little and begin reading some Chesterton on my iPad (The New Jerusalem, if you are interested).
I’m still reading when the plane takes off, and while we are climbing the engine outside my window is making an odd sound. I try to ignore it. But about ten minutes later we are leveled out instead of climbing, and the Captain announces we have “a mechanical issue with the engine” that “its probably a sensor,” but we will need to return to the airport in Houston. I look around and no one else seems worried, but they don’t know what The Wife and I know from 100 plus episodes of Mayday and Air Disasters—that this is how it all starts! Fortunately, we made it back to Houston, were transferred to a new plane, and after waiting for a new pilot and first officer, we made it to Indianapolis at 3:30 a.m.
Now, I am not sure what any of this has to do with the kingdom of God, and Kingdom issues are the raison de’tre of this blog. I will mention that I did pray during the events described above, I didn’t get frustrated with the delays that followed, and I did get back on the new plane. Maybe I am making progress. GS