So my dad has flown his last flight as captain on the Boeing 777, and I got to be on it. I now find myself wanting to write deep, personal sentiments about his career and retirement in general, but mostly I just want to say that I'm proud of him. And it was a hell of a trip.
I think I was eight when my family took our first trip to Germany. We did a driving tour of the Rhine Valley. There were ruins of old castles and beautiful rolling green hills. I don't remember much of it because I had a bag full of books and a notepad of ... what's that paper called with all the squares ... graph paper. I loved making dorky pictures out of that stuff. And then there was the time the old guy who jumped into the driver's seat of the rental car with my mom and me. My dad and brother were inside an inn looking for a room. Next thing I knew, his buddy was in the backseat with me. My mom looked positively frightened. We couldn't understand a word they were saying. And then I just started yelling at the guy next to me: "Get off my Care Bear!"
Dad was promoted to the 777 as a check-airman several years ago. In the main cabin of the plane, there are 9 seats in a row. Two aisles divide the seats into sections of 2, 5, and 2. And if you're special enough, you can recline your seat in business or first class, which have fewer seats across and more leg room (first class looks like it's from the space age). I focus on the interior of the monster in my description because that's the part I know. If my dad were to describe it to you, there would be more words that contained numbers, and he would probably give you a little physics lesson, too. It's a very large plane and is used almost exclusively for international flights. American Airlines flies it to Bogota, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Osaka, and London. Airlines are all about seniority, so international flights are a privilege and tend to exhibit more experienced crews.
We were in Frankfurt for a full 24 hours. Night lasted four hours on the plane, and we arrived at 8 am Central European Time. We had a plastic cup of guten morgen wine on the bus to the hotel. Oh, I've missed European beds. It's a little bit like scooting Lucy and Ricky Ricardo's beds back together and having square pillows instead of rectangular ones. I sprawled out face down with my shoes still on, and Daniel flipped on the television. No, no Lucy. But we did watch a cheesy German soap opera for 30 minutes while our parents changed to go explore the town. The main character was a girl who had just broken up with her piano-playing boyfriend, and they apparently each wrote the exact same song while separated. She realized this when she showed up for a competition and heard him playing the same song... "How stupid!" I thought. Then I realized I had been following a cheesy German soap opera. :)
The stairwell sign read "Das Treppenhaus." Literally, the "House Where the Stairs Live."
Man, I love German.
to be continued...