The harrowing trip involved a stopover in Ujung Pandang (aka Makassar), where we managed to land at a severe angle and on only two wheels. Taking time to change into clean underwear in the terminal, we reboarded. As we screamed down the runway, just before liftoff the pilot slammed on the brakes and reversed engines before we hit the end of the pavement. He then informed the ashen-faced passengers we had a mechanical problem of some sort.
As we returned to a spot near the terminal, we looked out the window and saw an airline “mechanic” shuffling across the tarmac towards the plane carrying a large wrench. He was wearing flip-flops, short soccer shorts, an ancient and torn Rolling Stones tour T-shirt, and had a clove cigarette dangling from his mouth. The aerodynamics genius then climbed up on the wing, and mightily smacked something — absolutely vital to flight, we presumed — with the wrench about five times. He then hopped down and gave the pilot the thumbs-up sign. Ready to go! Hardly comforted, we endured the next takeoff with eyes firmly closed.
This wasn’t an isolated incident. One of P&J’s colleagues told us that while taking the same route, the flight she was on was so terrifying she stuck her passport down her boot, figuring that if the plane crashed, they could at least identify her body.
Fly the friendly skies, indeed.
In last week’s column, P&J mentioned where one could send nominations for the Red Bandana Award, a public service distinction in honor of the late educator/activist/author, Richard Walton, who passed away in December of 2012 at the age of 84. And there is yet another remembrance of Richard coming up that you should know about.
On March 23 from 2 to 3 pm in the Student Union Ballroom of Rhode Island College (where Richard taught for many years), RIC President Nancy Carriuolo and Herb “Mr. Pawtucket” Weiss, the Economic and Cultural Affairs Officer for the City of Pawtucket, will be reading from an ebook they produced from emails Walton wrote to friends, acquaintances, and newspapers. (There may be a few electronic missives to P&J here, as Richard was a close friend and confidant for many years.)
The book, Selected E-Mail Correspondence of Richard Walton, will be available at this event for a suggested donation of $10, and the money will go toward the cost of furniture, equipment, and a plaque in a room to be named for Walton at RIC. The fundraising goal is $5000. Individuals and organizations interested in sponsoring the event should call Paul Brooks at RIC at 401.456.8810.
Just stop it
How can we miss you if you won’t go away? If you don’t leave us alone, we’ll find somebody who will.
Those words are directed to Hillary Clinton. P&J are already sick of hearing about Hill’s hopes for the presidency, with the 2016 election still over two years away. By spring of 2016 we’ll be putting our heads in the oven to end the madness.