Monday, October 12, 2009

A Bird? A Plane? No, a Blue Angel.

The explosions from outside reverberated through my lonely apartment. For a few seconds I watched my laptop rattle on its wobbly table and a goblet of water teeter unsteadily then downright panic set in. I sprang from my desk chair and nearly crammed myself into a door jam, preparing for the Apocalypse (or an earthquake at the very least), when I remembered the Blue Angels were in town.

From what I’d heard, the pilots swoop in and fly around for an hour, practically crashing into their wingmen while performing miraculous tricks that leave the audience reminiscing of Maverick and Goose and humming the soundtrack to Top Gun. Naturally, this what I expected last Saturday when the Blue Angels were set to invade San Francisco. The only other time I’d seen these fighter jets in action was three years ago in Portland, Oregon, when Maijken and I spent our summer working on a rooftop for a friend’s dad’s company. That’s right, we were roofers. We wore ragged old t-shirts and shorts to work and came home every day with deeper farmer’s tans than we’d flaunted the previous day. Paint stuck permanently to our fingers and arms, and we constantly were scampering from the wasps that had built multiple nests smack in the middle of where we’d been instructed to work.(After emptying countless cans of insect-killer with no luck of depleting the wasp population, I made peace with the fact that they’d be there until all hell froze over.) But by the time the Blue Angels had flown to Portland, Maijken had already skipped town for San Francisco, and I was left to fend for myself and watch the air show alone. When I finally heard the planes whirr overhead, I took a seat on the edge of the two-story building and watched in awe while melting in the Oregon sun.

Anyway, I don’t remember much from that experience, and everything’s always more extravagant in San Francisco (isn’t it?), so I was looking forward to last Saturday’s show. Thinking it would be some sort of life-altering spectacle, Darren and I dragged ourselves off the couch in the middle of the Oregon Ducks football game (if you know Darren, your mouth is probably hanging open in shock, but this is no joke) to change into sweatshirts, jeans and thick socks. Our pal David was throwing a rooftop party in honor of the event, where I imagined everyone would crowd around a keg or two and “Ooo” and “Ahhh” at the jets as they soared low in the sky.

One hour and a case of beer later, we stood on David’s roof waiting for the show to start. The jets were sixty minutes late. Sixty minutes! Where was the swooping I’d heard so much about? And the tricks? Where were the planes that had caused my utter panic yesterday afternoon? I'd thought I was in the midst of World War III for jeez’s sake. And now? Nothing.

“Hey, man, I don’t need an excuse to drink beer on top of a roof!” Darren slurred gleefully, which cheered David up a bit. Hundreds of young people gathered on rooftops as far as we could see, and they all waited for this show that didn’t look like it would happen. I’m guessing the stupid fog (or “low ceiling,” as they so obnoxiously call it on the news) had something to do with it. But the party went on, and apparently no one else needed a reason to whoop it up on the roof, either.

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