Monday, March 20, 2017

Up, Up and Away

The plane casually taxied down the runway.  Even though the plane was ready, the number of checks and crosschecks prior to reaching this point was important (proper procedures) prior to takeoff.  James went over the passenger briefing to make sure I understood my role.  It was time.  Gently, the plane left the ground and a big grin was on my face as a single word, “cool,” escaped from my lips into the microphone… 

Is it a bird?  Is it…OK, you all know the rest of this saying.  As a child (all those long years ago), I remember being excited to go on a plane.  My first time was a school break in 1971 where we were going to visit my Uncle Ace who lived in Florida and go to Disney in Orlando.  At the time, the park was only a few years old and only Magic Kingdom existed.  Going on a plane - It was so exciting.  It was not like today, where visiting family, etc., is easy enough to hop on a plane and go.  The amount of travel (FIND OUT SOME STATS) was not as prevalent as today.  Even as I got older, I still was excited about flying, including still preferring to sit by the window and watch take offs and landings.  I know there is some serious science behind this phenomenon, but to me, it is still magic.  Choruses of Peter Pan singing, “We can fly” is still a fascination, to leave the earth and be airborne.

“Don’t tell me until after you go.”

“Really, he’s going to take you up in a plane?”

“Nice knowing you, don’t forget to say goodbye before you leave, in case I don’t see you again.”

Some nerve! These were some of the comments I heard when I said my friend James was taking me flying.  Good thing I stopped looking to others to determine my opinions for me a long time ago.  Thomas Edison stated, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Do we do the same with opportunities to engage in new experiences?  For the last few years, I have come to believe that we draw circles around ourselves, which define our personal comfort zones.  Some of the drawn circles were “gifted” to us by others, but most we draw around ourselves over time.  

What if, you had a chance to try something completely unique.  No strings attached…would you take the chance?  Two years ago, as Jim Kirk would say, I boldly stepped where no man has gone before.  OK, let us make that no Zeiler man…by willfully stepping out of a plane.  Meshuga (Yiddish for crazy)? Yes.  A great experience – absolutely.  What if a four seat Copper mini, could sprout wings and fly, would you willingly take a seat in it?

As I looked out my window, the tiny 4-seater had left the ground, backed around towards the right and headed towards the city.  It was a beautiful, clear day, and we were able to see the mountains miles to the north and the Port Philip heads miles to the south.  The flurry of activity to my left was James forever in motion while piloting the plane.  James took the time to point out the sites between turning dials and maneuvering the plane.  Around the coast, past the city then it was time to alight back where we started.  James landed the plane more gently than most commercial flights.  And, like that, the flight and my new experience were over.  I was open to new experiences, and glad that Mr. Edison’s opportunity showed up as an Aussie mate dressed in jeans.