Outside, airplanes appear rather graceful, glimmering and gliding through the air. Sleek metal birds. But their insides betray this grace. Inside, they’re endlessly noisy. This rattles, that trembles, these hiss. Metals clink and clank. Outside, the wings wobble and roar while exhaust farts behind us and stains the sky.

~ ~ ~

This morning, while waiting to board my flight at an NY airport, I was saddened to see two Port Authority police officers (and later, a third) confront a man, white, fifties, who was at the gate filming out the window.

They asked him for his ID, his name, his travel agenda, and of course, why he dared film the airplanes? The man said he’s a video producer and he does it as a hobby. They asked to see his phone and his camera.

You see, they explained in gentle tones, that it’s suspicious to film in an airport and that of course it’s their duty to investigate, you understand, of course. While they did not speak forcefully, I refuse to describe them as “polite.” You can’t gang up on a man, as a trio of armed officers politely. It’s incompatible with politeness.

It’s so astonishingly sad that someone filming airplanes is considered suspicious, because that logic doesn’t hold up against the simplest of scrutiny. It’s action movie logic.

The officers, after taking notes, eventually told the man to “have a nice day” and left him alone. He didn’t appear obviously, outwardly distressed, but I could see that he was. This rattled, that trembled. He zipped up his bags before disappearing, if I had to guess, to go throw up in a garbage can from the stress.

~ ~ ~

Birds on the other hand are graceful, from what I can tell. No bird need roar in flight. No bird need shitstain the sky while it flaps, flutters, and glides. But maybe it does hiss and clank and rattle inside a bird. Does it gurgle? does the heart drum like thunder?

Speed of Light