Saturday, August 14, 2010

the antiheroes of voteblue flight 2010

VoteBlue Flight 2010 from Washington DC had arrived at its destination safely on Wednesday, having yet again successfully carried its passengers through a serious storm, this time the unexpected but dangerous Hurricane Stateaid.  As usual, of course, no one credited the captain and the crew, whose expertise had weathered the buffeting blowhard winds and nasty deceiving tricks of the storm; rather, this was one more success added to a seemingly endless pile of such successes that had been building for the eighteen months the crew had worked together, a pile that--no matter how mountainous--remained oddly invisible to the masses.
VoteBlue's captain remained imperturbable in the face of this idiosyncratic behavior.  He knew that, if the previous captain had had a tenth of the success in his eight years of piloting the craft as he'd already garnered in eighteen months, he'd have been hailed a hero, bigger than Sully (who after all had only managed not to crash one plane, whereas he--the captain--had managed not to crash not only his own plane but the entire interconnected network of aviation, despite the mess his predecessor had left it in).  Instead, though, everyone only looked at the flaws in his accomplishments.
    And there were flaws, to be sure.  To do what he had already done, he had to ease off on some of his key principles.  Some of the things that he had told the airline and its shareholders were most near and dear to him were things he had placed on hold; with others he had achieved success where no one ever had before but at the price of key aspects of his goals, as in when he made the first successful nonstop HealthCare flight, but only after having jettisoned the Public Option from the cargo hold over the Pacific Ocean.  Still, he felt, this was a thing he could recover later, now that he had achieved what some had believed to be impossible.  
    "Do something impossible every day"; that was his motto.  And the captain tried to accomplish it.  And if that meant a bit of compromise, or even a bit of delay, so be it.  And though it did bother him that people seemed oblivious to his great achievements, he still showed nothing but his trademark outward calm.
    It was the crew that cracked first.
First Officer Rahm, who frankly had never seemed all that stable to begin with and, some felt, should never have been promoted above beverage boy, began to show the fault lines early on.  But it wasn't until a full meltdown by the generally reliable Senior Flight Attendant Gibbs that the captain--and everyone else--began to understand that the crew had begun to lose it.
Maybe it was the fact that the flights were getting longer and harder.  The competition had upped the ante early in their run by introducing the Filly Booster Engine, a frightening and powerful new power source that allowed only a few of the competitor's airplanes to wipe out entire routes planned by VoteBlue.  Far too much time and energy had to be devoted to "breaking" the Filly Booster, an action that involved high levels of negotiation with officers on opposing crews, bargaining with them so they would not use their weapon.  Often it left the VoteBlue crew broken and exhausted, yet they battled on.  
They got through the HealthCare run.  They unloaded the outrageously expensive TARP routes that BushCo, their predecessor, had left them with when they had bought them out.  They managed to stop what might have become The Great Crash, though things were still far from normal.  Somehow they had even managed to do some good for other unrelated people, as if the old discredited Trickle Down theory actually worked, but not in economics--no--rather, in sheer good will.  And Detroit was coming back.  And, though it was indeed a slow process, lost rights were being restored.  And though the rest of the world saw this and credited the captain and the crew and felt good about VoteBlue and about America for the first time in the new century, the people here couldn't see it.
They saw only the dilapidated Gitmo Airport that was still open despite a promise to close it.  They saw the discrimination still unresolved against gays--left over, to be sure, from previous crews--and blamed the captain for not waving a magic wand and making it go away.  They saw the wealthiest stockholders continue to grow wealthier and the poorer ones still struggling to get by and wondered why the captain couldn't find a way to resolve that horrific discrepancy in his first eighteen months on the job.  They saw far too many of the company's employees deployed overseas in dangerous engagements begun by BushCo and wondered why the captain had not brought them home.  
Senior Flight Attendant Gibbs made a point each day to give passengers a recap of the great things the captain had done, but more and more all he heard were the complaints.  And finally, on Wednesday, he snapped.  He had been struck in the head once too often by stray insinuations that some traveler tossed around like so much loose luggage from an overhead bin.  Gibbs demanded an apology from the passenger, but the passenger refused and they began to argue.  Suddenly, the passenger told a stunned Gibbs to “f— off."
At this point, according to virtually all who were in attendance, Gibbs took the flight microphone and started talking to all of the passengers, beginning by directing that same insult directly at the passenger: "To the person who just told me to f--- off, F--- OFF!"  
Gibbs continued speaking on the PA system, saying that he could not understand why "all of you m--f--s on the professional left" couldn't understand that the captain had been doing his very best and couldn't see what he had already accomplished.  He opined that they "must all be on drugs or something."   The people on the right side of the plane, it was later reported, were very confused.  A couple of hippie types sitting on the left side applauded.
Saying "I've been in this business 28 years.  I've had it.  That's it," Gibbs then activated the plane’s inflatable emergency slide, grabbed two beers from the galley, slid down the chute, and disappeared into the terminal.
A spokesman for VoteBlue later indicated that Gibbs had never before had any instance of such behavior.  However, the spokesman said, "Perhaps it might be indicative of the pent-up frustration Mr. Gibbs might have felt knowing that, in a few short months, the captain could be taking orders from John Boehner and no one really seems to get it."

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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

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