Thursday, October 09, 2008
This is Fleet Week in San Francisco. The main event is performances Saturday and Sunday by the Blue Angels, the US Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron, executing utterly amazing maneuvers with their warplanes.
They begin to practice two days before, which means that we are treated to constant ear-splitting, heart-stopping noise for about six hours today and tomorrow, longer on the weekend. It sounds as if we are under siege.
It transports me to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 as I imagine how the people in those buildings must have felt. I also think about cities being bombed during World War II, Honolulu, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, London, Dresden, and about Iraq, Afghanistan, and Darfur, all the many human habitats destroyed to make a point, to subject one people to the will of another.
It gets old.
I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder without having been bombed in any of those places because I feel a cellular connection to people everywhere.
With all respect to our brave service men and women and nothing but the greatest admiration for the fliers who put on these fantastic shows, I wonder how much the fuel costs to astonish people around the country nearly every day of the year. It seems like a flagrant waste of money that could be spent on something more beneficial, like health and education.
Two years ago, we went to the show and I admit that I was thrilled to be there.
Last year, we took our frightened cat in the car and drove considerably south of the city, out of the airplane traffic patterns, and walked on the beach. I feel for all the petrified cats and dogs and babies who are subjected to four days of fighter planes roaring close to the ground, causing structures to tremble and windows to rattle, with no conception of what is happening.
I'm thinking we'll go back to that beach which does not require a passport or even a full tank of gas and ride it out until Sunday night.