Monday, March 12, 2007

Pleasantville, by air!

There's a movie I come across now and then as I traverse the wide open plains of high cable, armed only with a beer, a bag of chips, and my trusty remote control. The movie is called Pleasantville, starring Mr. Peter "Seabiscuit" Parker himself, Toby Maguire. It was nominated for three Oscars, but because it didn't actually win any, I can tolerate it. It's an interesting movie in the context of this posting because for some deep philosophical reason that I refuse to contemplate, (that would make me artsy, and I am NOT artsy!) it starts with everything being in black & white. The town of Pleasantville is completely isolated from the rest of the world, everything is always perfect (the basketball team not only never loses, they never miss a single shot and always win by shut-out, the only function of the fire department is to rescue cats from trees, it never rains, etc.) So, while living solidly ensconced in their comfortable Pleasantville cocoon, the town's residents have no passion. Their entire World view is a bland black & white.

Eventually, a disruptive force is introduced to their closed community, and that disruption results in various characters discovering inner passions one-by-one. As each character finds their inner emotional core, they start appearing in color. Eventually the entire town and all of its residents are in color. This comes at a cost, of course, and that cost is that the fire department now fights actual fires, the basketball team loses a game now and then, and it rains.

So, why am I telling you about this movie? Well, it's because I am emerging from what feels like a two month black & white spell. Yesterday, with the blue skies, moderate temperatures, above average visibility, easily managed winds, and most importantly, no snow blocking my hangar door, I went flying! While the sky promised full-living-color flight, the ground maintained its stolid refusal to get with the theme by remaining a dark and dismal brown.

That was no problem at all - its transformation to the more palatable varied shades of green and the dark, virile brown of freshly plowed fields is inevitable. I'm in the stage of the movie where the transformation to full color is well under way, and not even the fire & brimstone evangelists preaching against it can stop it.

Is that all a bit dramatic? Well, yes, but that's as may be: it really isn't far off at all from what I felt yesterday as I lifted off of the runway and pointed the nose of my trusty bird towards the West, albeit a little later than I had planned as I had forgotten to account for the shift from EST (Eastern Standard Time) to CDT (Congressional Dipshittery Time). It was like a veil had been lifted from my mood, if that metaphor makes any sense. Over the last couple of non-flying months, I had lapsed into a drudge-like routine of work/school/couch-sitting without really realizing how much duller my life was without flying.

The destination was one of my regulars: Darke Co./Versailles, an airport responsible for many of my most, uh, memorable landings, including one in the Tampico where I struggled mightily with a surly direct 25 knot crosswind until I was able to wrestle the plane onto the ground. Even under normal conditions, though, I find that I have trouble getting a smooth touchdown there. Yesterday, though, with what little wind there was coming out of the North, unfettered by the normal disruptions from the stand of trees just South of the landing zone on runway 27, I was able to actually make a pretty decent landing. Say, was that hangar always that color?

After a nice visit with my folks at their horse farm and a chance to sit in my brother's new NASCAR Modified that he's building in his shop, I enjoyed a smooth ride home at 5,500' and 155 knots (resulting from a nice tailwind!) and planted another greaser back at Bolton.

On the drive home, I simply couldn't help noticing how colorful everything seemed in Pleasantville all of a sudden.


  1. Hey! I know where that is!

    I flew in to the Darke Co. airport once, when I was a teenager and my grandfather was taking us to the Darke County fair. He was a private pilot and this would have been sometime in the late 70's. He had a grass runway on his farm as well as a berth at the airport in Winchester, IN. Cessna 152 and, later a 172, I think.

    Used to have relatives in Versailles ("Ver-Sales"), too.

  2. I know where that is too. Near Greenville I believe. A place where you can spend a pleasant hour or so at the Pleasantville Bob Evans bantering with a comely waitress. I enjoyed being an auditor to your raillery and your Monday blog.