Stillness, at last

I am back in Los Angeles, this time for a rather longer haul (till late August). I have a rather alarming pile of half-finished posts to get to (so there may be a flurry of blog activity over the next day or so), as well as a backlog of book and movie reviews. That's right! I am reading again! And, after a horrible month of total Netflix stasis, watching as well!

But I had to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for this brief story:

I arrived in LA two days ago, on a flight that I had hoped would be fairly empty, given that it was a national holiday. In horrible fact, it was filled to the brim with children. Young children. Young, unhappy, not-accustomed-to-air-travel-and-its-myriad-discomforts children. In the first fifteen aisles of the aircraft, there were at least two passengers under the age of seven in every row. And quite a few of these were toddlers. Our six hour flight started auspiciously with a long delay: a tornado had been spotted less than ten miles from the airport, and air traffic control was feeling understandable edgy - a mood which soon spread amongst my wee flight companions. One burst into frustrated howls; within moments, three others made it a barber-shop quartet. Once we finally took off, the weather was so bad that the pilot refused to take off the "Fasten Seatbelt" sign for most of the flight, and the flight attendants enforced its glowing dictate unusually firmly. You can imagine how well that went over with the poor bedraggled parents of children who had been drinking juice for several hours. The child sharing my row moved on from reading his brother's manga to practicing kickboxing, providing me with the pleasant bouncing sensation of a rugged off-road vehicle excursion. The two worst behaved children on earth, four rows ahead of me, ran up and down the aisles (despite the flight attendants best efforts) screaming their father's name at the top of their lungs whenever his attention wandered from them for more than a second. The person behind me muttered, "I'm going to here those kids' voices in my sleep."

And then, at 10 p.m., we landed. Silence spread throughout the airplane. For there was Los Angeles, spread endlessly below, sparkling with hundreds of tiny fireworks, each the size of a fingernail. Every neighborhood with its own display, every house with a few rockets, shone and shimmered for as far as the eye could see. And every person on the plane, regardless of age, was glued to the windows.