Communication is also very important. On my most recent flight, five minutes before we were to land, the pilot advised us that we were going to be circulating the airport for half an hour to burn fuel. But he didn’t explain why. Later at the gate, I asked someone about it and, if I understood correctly, when the runway is slick due to bad weather, it’s better to land with a lighter plane.
I, however, had come to the conclusion with my runaway imagination that the pilot was subtly letting us know that there might be a rough landing and if that was indeed the case, the less fuel that could potentially ignite, the better chance we had to survive. That visibility was zero as we circled around – usually you can see what looks like ants with headlights down below – “fuelled” my run-away (and runway) thoughts even further. Actually, I wasn’t too duly worried because the wheels had come down – which means we weren’t going to land on the plane’s belly, but I think the pilot should have communicated what us non-aviation types didn’t realize – it’s not such a big deal to burn fuel.
Obviously many of the other passengers had been a bit disconcerted by his announcement, because they broke into wild applause when we finally landed.
I actually love flying. I feel it is much safer than walking, especially when crossing the street. I do a lot of walking and after a few close calls, I now make a point of waving to drivers to make sure they see me before I put myself in front of the car. Too many are not looking in my direction, are on the phone, are talking to a passenger or are otherwise distracted.
Every Purim since 2008 is what I call my non-yahrzeit. That was the day in Flatbush when I crossed a small street (stop sign, no light) to get to the east side – after two cars had already moved on to go north and the intersection was empty. One of the drivers, however, must have changed his mind and decided to zoom in reverse back into the intersection as I was crossing.
With Hashem’s mercy, he stopped. Based on the extremely shocked look of a man on the other side of the street, I must have been saved by an inch.
I imagine that the nishamot of my younger, yet-to-be born grandchildren insisted that they too get to enjoy their wandering bubby and so here I am, passport in hand, literally up in the air about to see them again.