Today was almost a perfect day. Perfect? Yes, almost. I’ll tell you what a simpleton I am…how little it takes to make me happy.
The Boss wanted me to fly him from Home Base down to a jobsite in Gulfport, Mississippi. It’s about an hour-and-ten minute flight. Pickup time was set for just after lunch, so I strolled out of the house around ten-thirty a.m. to go to the airport. It was a cool, dry, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky, see-forever day where you get up in the air and go, “DAMN, I’m lucky to be a pilot!” We stayed low, sightseeing and chatting as we made our way to the southwest.
He needs to come back home tomorrow (Thursday) evening. The plan was for the helicopter to stay at the jobsite, and I would stay in a motel. They’d already rented me a car. “Say, if you want to go over and stay the night in New Orleans, you can do that,” the Boss offered. New Orleans is about an hour-and-a-half to the west. On the other hand, home is just two hours to the east. “I think I’m just going to go home,” I said. And that’s what I did. I’d rather sleep in my own bed than a motel bed any day.
So I take off in the rental Kia, headed eastbound on I-10 at a high rate of speed. It’s a trip I used to make weekly for nearly thirteen years when I worked for Petroleum Helicopters in Louisiana. So there was an odd sense of déjà vu about the whole thing. And I realized something: I didn’t miss the old job so much as I missed commuting back and forth on the Interstate. See, I like driving. I can relax, turn the radio up as loud as I want (and I do like it loud) and just listen to music in peace and solitude. Fortunately, this little Kia had a pretty good radio. (Auto makers are savvy. They know that their car can be a total piece of crap, but we Americans won’t care as long as it has a kick-ass stereo. This particular Kia was and did.)
There is a radio station in Mobile, Alabama, 92.1 WZEW. It’s about the only station that’s worth a damn anymore. They actually play a lot of new music. But it’s aimed at adults, not teenagers. Trouble is, their transmitter range is tiny. I can’t pick them up at home in Pensacola (luckily they stream), nor were they coming in very well as I started eastbound this afternoon.
As I neared Mobile the station was coming in weak but getting stronger. Suddenly, for some reason the static faded and the signal burst into full strength. Just as it did, the d.j. came back from a commercial break and announced some of the music he’d be playing in the next set. Then he goes, “…And here’s the Traveling Wilburys.” Sure enough, “Handle With Care” starts up, clear as a bell. Man, I was in heaven.
So there I was, loving life on a beautiful day. I’d gotten to fly a little, and now I was cruising along at 80 mph, jamming to some damn fine music as I rode back home. I leaned back and thought, life is good! Like I said, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.
And at the same time, the thought is troubling. Maybe there should be more to life?