I am such a nerd for the Blue Angels.
I realize that they’re not as cool for some people as they used to be – folks and animals don’t like the noise, don’t understand or care for the Blues as a recruiting tool, think we should be spending the money for them (or even the entire military budget) elsewhere, etc. – but I can’t help myself. The precision with which they fly is pretty astounding.
As a kid, the Blue Angels used to come to the air show at Paine Field in Everett sometimes and in the fifth or sixth grade, my dad took me there (it seemed like a very long way from home at the time) and I was completely awestruck. We were someplace where we could see the planes all lined up perfectly on the tarmac and watched the pilots walk out *in formation*, get into their aircraft, fire up, and taxi out. That moment still sticks with me.
“They were all perfectly synchronized, as they turned out of their spots and taxied out – it was incredible!” I exclaimed to my school friends on Monday.
“Sink-what? What does that mean?!”
“It’s when you do something all matched up together, at the same time,” was my explanation.
“Well, why didn’t you say so!” And we all went back to building tunnels for our play cars in the sand pile. They clearly weren’t as impressed as I was, either with the precision flying or my description of it, but I was in love.
Driving an electric car these days, I am no longer as impressed with throaty car engines, especially when drivers rev them up on neighborhood streets just to impress people. But I still run out of the house to see if I can catch a glimpse of the Blues when I hear them scream over during Seafair. And I head over to my mother’s when there is an opportunity to watch them from afar in the hot sun on her deck.
All during the time I took for lunch on Thursday, they were practicing, so I looked and even tried (mostly unsuccessfully this time – still trying to get used to finding/capturing them from that location) to get some photos. I know I looked like a total dweeb to the people in the conference room next to me. And I don’t care. I saw an entire rooftop of people dweebing out just as much a couple of buildings over.
Yesterday, I was catching up with my dad a bit, who was himself a Marine Corps fighter pilot quite a few years ago now. I mentioned it was Seafair so we were hoping to still catch the Blues out by us even though they’ve changed the show box in ways I still don’t have fully mapped out. He shared that the Air Force had arranged a small flyover of their own over his small town, but in typical fashion, their version of “formation” was “same direction, same day” – we agreed that the Blue Angels were head and shoulders beyond anyone else by comparison.
“Yeah, they’re still my North Star,” was all that I could think of to say in that moment, somehow rather uncharacteristically at a loss for more descriptive words.
“Mine too, kid. Mine too.”
I guess I know where I get it from.