January 23, 2009
A view from lane 4.
It’s always striking when I leave the island I live on that dangles off the West coast, and spend time on the island that I was born and raised on, floating off the East coast. The latter is half the size of the former, but… well… only in terms of square miles. As for infrastructure, population, and 24/7 access to pizza slices that drip with a mysterious orange oil found nowhere else on the planet: fuggedaboutit.
Adding to the contrast are trips like this last one, in which I stay for several days right in the heart of Times Square. I think scientists should use me as a lab rat and examine my feeble brain as it attempts to instantly adjust from gazing up at a wide open sky beating down on green space and cute furry animals, to, hours later, gazing up from the bottom of a steel-lined abyss so tightly canyoned that it changes the weather system. Seriously: my room was on the 35th floor. One morning it was snowing ardently outside my window, and the impressive view across the Boeing jet fuselage-infused Hudson River to New Jersey was thwarted by whiteout blizzard conditions. But when I got downstairs to the street, it was merely a light dusting. Snowflakes are no match for this town, baby.
It’s indeed a miracle, what happened on the Hudson that day when the captain pretended he was piloting a little 7-seat seaplane and glided gracefully down onto, rather than into, the frigid water. I happened to be hurling myself through the air on a similar aircraft when all this was occurring. I must say, there’s nothing like watching a potential commercial airliner disaster as it unfolds live on CNN, from the comfort of a commercial airliner. Maybe they should rethink those nifty TV sets in front of all our seats…
In a week I’ll head back to yet another long-time home: Los Angeles. I’d like to avoid a water landing if at all possible, but if it must occur I’d appreciate it if the pilot could plop down somewhere close to Malibu’s Paradise Cove, so I can get a nice view of my old ‘hood.
Meanwhile, I’m very happy for my pong to have pinged me here in the San Juans once again. Above is a snapshot of what it looked like yesterday at 10:30 a.m. in Anacortes, as I waited to board the ferry. At about 11,000 feet, Mt. Baker is my kind of skyscraper, and having spent so much time in the air recently, I wasn’t all that unhappy to be viewing it from sea level– on asphalt.