Sunday, October 7, 2012

Last flight to Lamesville

Today it was still dark when I woke up. I had slept fitfully and was hoping it was about 5 a.m. I was shocked to see it was almost 7 a.m. which was disturbing news as I had an appointment in Lamesville.



I'm beginning to get a feeling I willingly accept assignments that everyone else turns down and this may have been the case with the radio controlled World War One model aeroplane show.

A few days ago I recklessly told some organizer type I would cover it on Sunday. So I am spending Saturday night in my usual high living genre of party style living ie. in extreme sampling mode at Harris Teeter when the aforementioned organizer type calls me. He tells me it's going to rain on Sunday and all of the pilots (they are called pilots even though they control planes from the ground) are packing up and leaving on Saturday night or early Sunday.

It probably won't even be worth going along at all, unless I can get there by 8 a.m. to get a few of the last of the diehards putting their models in their SUVs.

This causes me a conundrum as I need the fairly paltry sum the job will pay to feed my extreme sampling habit. But it's 8 a.m. and when I look at the map it's so far on the far side of Virginia Beach that if you went any further east you'd be supping Guinness and getting all bleary eyed about the old country.

Even so I find myself leaving at half light and walking into a tone of greyness that I haven't seen for a long time. There's a chill in the air that's not altogether unpleasant and makes me think of London parks and the crunch of brown leaves on the days that close in around us.

After driving for about 45 minutes I reach a desultory airfield and there are a few people packing up their planes. I comfort myself by reminding myself it's just another lame chapter in an ongoing life of general lameness. Thirty minutes later and the story would have been packed away altogether and driven to Pittsburgh. Obliquely I start to wish I had missed them. It would have rounded off a bleak morning in a more appropriately forlorn fashion. The warning from the cop about the brake light almost succeeded in doing this but it would have required a fine equal to the freelance payment to have totally succeeded.

I digress but will say it's hard to get enthusiastic about the hobby that takes middle aged men to far flung airfields in all weathers. It's difficult to ask informed questions. For some strange reason I found myself thinking I would rather have been here.



And how it's been so long since I have last been to Positano, or Italy generally. And how I'll probably never get back there unless I request someone scatters my ashes on the seven hills or Rome and even then they'll probably not bother and shove me in a garbage skip at the back of McDonald's.

Still I asked the inane questions and went through the motions.And I didn't tell them that long ago, seemingly in another life I wanted to hover high above the trenches with the sun on my wings because a lonely impulse of delight, drove to this tumult in the clouds.

I didn't ask much about that. I just asked about names, ages and dimensions. The usual thing.

But at least they were pleased to see me.....

16 comments:

  1. Hahaha yeah reading this was like reading my LIFE.

    We ARE the same person, right?

    Just remember when you cover stories like this one that people actually do read them. Seriously. These human interest stories keep people entertained. And with stories like this one, I think you're able to have more fun with it. Be creative with the story, right? I think that's why I don't mind attending events like this one for the paper...

    This actually reminds me of an article I read four or five years ago about how the New York Times discovered that their "fluff" stories (about crap like this WWI air show) were the most read stories on their website. And after this discovery, all the best reporters at the Times were fighting each other to cover these stupid events. I thought it was hysterical.

    But yeah, I'd rather be in Italy too. :)

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    1. Yes Jen I fear we are. taking crappy jobs for a pittance. I was fairly pleased with how I wrote it, though - yay fo fluff :)

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  2. I bet you made it into an interesting story. Although it may not have been a lot of fun to write, I agree with Jennifer above that human interest type stories like this are probably what people enjoy the most. It gives them a break from all the political mess and stories about how many murders were committed in the city that day and other such stuff.

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    1. you are so right re the political stuff Daisy - what a yawn...

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  3. Ouch! Getting up that early in that weather does not sound like fun. Especially on a weekend. Did you get a decent article out of it at least? I think I should take some wiring classes sometimes but I'm not quite sure where I'd fit it in right now.

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    1. I know what you mean Emm - worth the time to do it if you can though

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  4. I'd rather read about these model plane dudes than the constant political bashing that's going on.

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  5. I plan on doing some traveling soon. If you'll get me your ashes I'll be more than happy to spread them for you. lol

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    1. Oh go on then Anna - just not the dumpster behind McDonalds - go upmarket and try Olive Garden - thx

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  6. In Spain they have newspapers and news programs entirely dedicated to this kind of stories, and the sordid the better. Must suck being s journalist and not finding another job.

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    1. well it's sorta fun but I'm only a part time journo now, Starla

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  7. Getting up at 7am on a Sunday morning is criminal. Doing it for a WWI airplane model show, well...that's just weird. Ah, the things we do for our sampling habits...
    ;-)

    Mina's Resurrection Blogfest!

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    1. I know Mina - I am plain weird and can't say no to a job that everybody else said no to probably

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  8. brilliant story, david!

    people actually stories like this, focused on the human element, often more emotional than other stories..


    getting up that early on a sunday morning does not sound like fun. but (apart from the writing talent) that's what makes a good journalist, right?

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