It comes as a surprise to no one that our kid is pretty obsessed with all things mechanical. After all, it could be said that I am mildly mechanically inclined (if I do say so m’self – after all, I know “lefty-loosey, righty tighty”), and BG…Well, lets just say that’s his main superpower. Whenever I make the mistake of asking him how a repair is going, I usually get something like, “Well, there’s a flyrod that’s attached to a flange, which allows the piston…” At this point, I mostly hear a loud buzzing noise, but the point is, BG can instantly and easily visualize how something works, down to the last nut, so to speak. Its like having X-RAY vision, without the Peeping-Tom part. We’re still trying to figure out a way to exploit this power of his – sort of like having a numbers-blessed savant with you in a casino. If only there was a way to win a million dollars by being able to diagram something (TO SCALE!) in your head.
Anyhoo, LG is obsessed with trains, excited by cars/trucks, and pretty interested in airplanes. In fact, its a point of pride with my husband that LG can identify if a plane has a propeller or a jet engine by its sound. So it seemed a logical thing to go to the Annual Big Airshow. Armed with naught but a Radio Flyer wagon, Bunny Grahams, and about an inch-thick layer of sunscreen, off we went.
This air show is no ordinary show, I’m told – its “a big one”. This would account for us losing our car…but more on that later. Its held at a historic aircraft museum – which in these parts, means a small hanger with lots of pictures and a few airplanes attached to a
cleared field airstrip. A REALLY big one.
Sidenote: This is the same airshow I took my Dad to years ago, during which he almost was carried away by hurricane force winds while trying to “save” a 2,000 lb. airplane from turning over. That’s my Dad, the engineer – had I asked, I’m sure I would have had a perfectly logical, physics-backed explanation as to why he would NOT have been flipped into the air like a pancake if the wind had decided to take the plane with it. But I didn’t ask. Besides, I’m pretty sure Dad loved every second of it, and because the wind ended up deciding against going all Dorothy on us, he was the ONLY thing that saved that plane that day, by gosh.
Getting back to our day at the airshow:
Who looks more excited? Tough call…
LG was pretty amused by it all – not sputtering with excitement, but most certainly entertained. BG, on the other hand, was pulling us (literally) from plane to plane, excitedly pointing out to LG all the design differences, introducing him to the pilots, putting him up on his shoulders for a better look. From that, LG mostly just remembers the plane with the teeth.
LG, for his part, was very into the one lonely helicopter there; the pilot offered the driver’s seat (wrong term, I know, but clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about) to all the little boys that wanted a look. A bigger kid, maybe 6 or 7, balked; but my normally stranger-shy boy immediately lifted his arms up to the guy, clearly giving the order “I go IN there!”
(I’m not being sexist about offering the seat to little boys, just stating the obvious. Girls were scarce, especially asking to sit in the driver’s seat. Maybe because we call it the driver’s seat. OK, THAT was probably sexist.)
After an ugly, low-blood sugar induced episode, (both me AND LG, quickly rectified by awful but so timely airshow burgers), we pressed on. The giant cargo plane was getting ready to take off…or do something….
(One of the annoying features of airshows for me is there’s so much PREPARATION. I mean, we watched this thing get ready for 3o minutes before it even started its engines, and then another 30 before it even moved. Oh, wait! They’re moving the chucks! Maybe…no. Wait! I think I see the pilot! Um….No. But wait! Guys in flight suits are telling us to move back – they must REALLY be ready now! OK, Buddy, watch this! Oh….no.
Maybe I’m exaggerating just a tad, maybe I was getting a little tired by then, maybe it was the jet fuel. I know its a thorough process, etc etc. All I knew by then is both LG and I were getting pretty gosh darn impatient.)
This thing was big and it was loud…the sort of loud that you know you probably shouldn’t be listening to. LG was having none of that, and administered safety procedures accordingly.
After we finally saw the thing lumber down the
field runway, and we could hear each other, LG proclaimed, “TIME TO GO”.
I’ve never heard these words out of my boy’s mouth. Ever. Especially in light of the diversions in store. But he was pooped. All morning in the sun + running to every destination + sheer, stuttering awe + hamburgers + an hour or so after naptime = TIME TO GO.
But there was a problem. The F-14 (or F-16, F-18 – honesty, I didn’t really care at that point) was supposed to do its thing in 30 minutes. BG was trying to stall, and even suggested we shop(!) for a t-shirt for the little guy. You know he had to be desperate to kill some time to suggest such blasphemy. But alas, LG was firm – WE GO.
As we made our way to where the “parking lot” was, I began to get kind of a sinking feeling – the kind you get when you knew you should have been paying attention to something important. To wit: we had no idea, not one iota, or even an inkling, where our car was. The three or four rows of cars had become 10 +, two or three deep. (We weren’t that early – really.)
Worse still, we noticed there were people, tribes of families, wandering around like desert nomads in search of water. Family after family clambered by us, craning their necks in search of that familiar glimpse of roof rack, sticker, Mickey Mouse antenna cover. We joined in, convinced that we were in no such position – we were right over there. Yes, I’m sure of it – there’s the white RV we passed where the people were laying on top getting hammered….you know, next to the black Ford…
A half hour and several white RV’s later, I may have been getting a little testy, possibly directly in proportion to LG’s lack of amusement. I remember muttering something about BG’s special spatial superpower; where was it now – its ALWAYS his job to remember where we park…
And then, there it was…the sea of cars parted, and a single shaft of sunlight beamed down on our dusty green subaru. I heard the Hallelujah chorus in my head (another benefit of growing up with bad 70s-80s sitcoms – built in sound effects and laugh tracks at just the right moments). No sooner was LG strapped in when BG casually glanced at the clock – why, there’s only 7 minutes until the super-cool jet arrives! Whaddya know!
(While I don’t think he lost our car on purpose, it was just a little too pat in retrospect. My BG isn’t that underhanded, and my passive aggressive radar didn’t sound. STILL…)
The jet screamed overhead, dipped and looped and did its thing for about 15 minutes. BG stood outside the car, craning his neck to see what would happen next. Needless to say, LG and I sat in the car. In the air-conditioning. And quite happily, I might add.
A few mintues later, we pulled out, and BG dabbed the drool from the corners of his mouth and let out a satisfied sigh, as if he’d just eaten a large meal. Moments later, LG’s head bobbed and weaved, his pacifier fell out, and he was out cold.
My boys were tired, a little sunburned, and satisfied. Life is good.