Arrival at Portland International.
A writer is a writer. You don’t have to write a novel. Or get a magazine article published. It’s the way you think. That’s what makes a writer a writer. It’s the way you fly.
I remember a story about the humorist James Thurber. James is sitting at a supper table with his wife and some friends. James is not eating and he is not conversing. Wife looks over at James and sees his lips moving. “James,” she says, nudging him, “Stop writing.”
That’s a real writer for you. Always composing.
Taking notes, writing actually, filled up much of our flight to Oregon. It’s a little crazy, I suppose. But this is how I fly. Somehow this info may regurgitate into something special. Maybe no more than a line in an entire book I may write someday.
A label-maker has written “Oregon 2016,” and I have stuck it to the cover of a skinny 4″ x 8″ reporter’s notebook. I number the inside pages in red ink, upper right corner. I am ready to begin.
I started Day 1 of our journey with the date and a little drawing. It is a circle with little lines radiating from it. Everyone knows that means sunshine, which is the state of the weather right now in Phoenix.
It is Saturday, Sky Harbor Airport. I have paid a Yellow Cab driver $15.25 for delivering us from the house. In truth, I fling a $20 bill at him and say, “Keep it.”
Saturday afternoons are slow at airports generally. It sure was today. We checked bags, got boarding passes and sailed through security in all of 30 minutes. We arrived at Gate C-1 at 2:32. A screen behind the Southwest Airlines counter says it is sunny and 75 in Portland. Very good news. This is all in my notebook.
We lift off at 4:12. Forgot to note the time the plane pushed away from the gate. I usually do that. Two and a half hours to PLX, which is airlines shorthand for Portland International.
Hours and some sleep time later, just as I see the snowy top of Mount Hood west of Portland, a huge mountain emerges on the port side of the plane. It is so close to the plane that it fills up most of the window. I later ask the lead stewardess, “Do you know what mountain that was?”
“No,” she said. “You’ll have to ask the pilot. We’re not allowed to look out the windows.” Really? Now that’s valuable stuff.
This stew is pretty silly. I hear one of the passengers across from me, a tall, long-legged blonde in shorts, call this “a party flight.”
At one point, this middle-aged stew asks us to sing “Happy Birthday,” to 6-year-old Ryan who is sitting near the front of the plane. Not only that but we are asked to make candles for an imaginary cake. Everyone turns on their overhead lights. Soon, Ryan is requested to blow out the candles. And so off go the lights, or most of them anyway. Ryan will no doubt treasure this moment forever.
Touchdown at PDX at 6:31. Arrive at Gate, 6:33.
And suddenly we are in the airport proper, heading for baggage claim. Welcome to Portland! Our escape to Oregon has begun.
These are valuable notes. Anyone can see that. Should you read a book someday and notice any of the above information in them, I hope you will give me a call. I’m not against suing someone for stealing my notes.