Having received an unexpected two week break from things in Washington, yesterday I hopped on a plane back to my native Los Angeles for some rest, relaxation, and visiting friends and family. Despite once more having to raise my hands over my head as if I were some criminal during the body-scanner, the trip through the TSA security checkpoint was far less annoying than it had been in recent trips of mine, thanks in part due to the few people traveling. I napped between Cleveland and Chicago, reread Bastiat's The Law
between Chicago and Las Vegas, and tuned in to my iPod. In Vegas I did not switch planes; we just dumped off most of the rest of the passengers and took in a few more. Having chatted off-and-on with the crew during the flight and while waiting on the runway, they gave me a complimentary beer and some extra crackers. The plane was mostly empty when we pulled away from the gate, and I had the row to myself; a relief to these lanky legs of mine that constantly yearn for some stretching room. A woman and her two boys filled in the row behind me, and as we took off began to argue with each other over who would get to sit by the window.
Once up in the air, I glanced over my should at the two of them gawking out the tiny window at the wide world below us, a look of wonder on their faces. I myself glanced outside my own window at the red desert, rocks, and mountains, flying between clear blue sky and some large white clouds. It was the first time in a few years that I had really been unable to draw my eyes away from this view, and reminded me of this wonderful invention of human flight. Here I was, sitting on a chair in the sky with a beer in hand and music in my ears, in apparent defiance of that earthly umbilical cord that is gravity, seeing as far away as untold billions in history have only been able to dream of seeing. When less than an hour later the plane landed on the runway at Burbank airport, I had traveled thousands of miles in just a few hours. What a wonderful and often-underappreciated thing is flying.