The planes kept me up all weekend. Usually they don't bother me much, but this weekend I've been sensitive to the sound of their deceleration.
We've lived under the flight path for five years now. Three different apartments, three different locations just under the path of landing planes. The first few weeks after moving to this neighborhood, I didn't think I would make it. Every thought became punctuated by the noise. Dreams and conversations rudely interrupted, halted abruptly by the shriek of a Delta flying in from Cincinatti or a British Airway from New York. As months passed, I figured out the ways around these disturbances: stereo speakers hooked up to the TV and placed near the couch, radio on at night, telephone conversations in the closet behind a closed door.
San Diego's Lindberg Field, the international airport serving the U.S.'s sixth (some say seventh) largest city, sits next to downtown, surrounded on all sides by thriving neighborhoods. This means that anyone on either side of its single runway suffers from a daily routine of immense concentration, an effort sometimes beyond human to block out the distraction of planes leaving and departing an always busy tourist destination. Some days the task is easy. One gets caught up in the routines of reading or watching baseball or blaring a CD and the planes' noise is hardly noticeable. One might sit in a favorite La-Z-Boy watching the 11 o'clock news and remark that the air traffic seemed rather light today, when in fact it has been just like every other day, save 9-11- & 12-01 when the silence was overwhelming.
Today with the head splitting from lack of solid sleep and too much coffee without food, I've been unable to do anything but hear the planes. Every two or three minutes, another one streaks low across the palm tree tops, cutting a trail of noise and then nothingness. Then it's wait until the next one. Better yet, it's wait until the headache goes away and the noise is nothing but background to a normal day.