Sometimes when you least expect it a woman sneaks up on you, stealing your heart and becoming a part of your soul. Without notice, the truth dawns upon you. Like an intoxicating drug, you yearn, savoring every moment together, wishing for more. All the while she remains just out of reach, so tantalizing, beckoning, calling like a siren song. I have a new mistress, and her name is Los Angeles.
A few years ago I was at a marketing training class in Orange County directly across from the John Wayne Orange County Airport. The sound of planes taking off was alluring, calling me. I found a flight school on the field and an instructor and set an appointment to fly a Cessna 172 on Friday after the class and long before my red-eye back home.
After waiting for a couple of Southwest 737s to land we took off and flew to the shoreline, flew along the ocean and landed at Long Beach, skirting the airspace for Los Alamitos Army Airfield. Taxi back and a take-off from Long Beach then over to Compton Airport. The sun was low on the horizon with nary a cloud in the sky. The sky was starting to turn colors, a tint of purple, a tint of orange against the clear blue above.
A couple of landings and taxi-backs at Compton. Then I took off into the twilight sky as the sun was just below the horizon and the view was intoxicating. Orange on the horizon, changing to light then deep blue, and finally purple and dark above.
I turned to the instructor and said, “I’m good.” We turned and headed east back to John Wayne and the entire LA basin was lit up below me like diamonds in the night. It was intoxicating. We landed and shut down, stowed everything and I paid the bill.
Driving to LAX in the night I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. I’ve had some great flights before, but this was number one on the list. LA became my mistress that night. I miss her.