Flying with Trojans

I am in the middle of a 36-hour journey back to Australia, currently waiting at LAX for the 11:30 p.m. flight to Sydney. I arrive in Brisbane at 6 am on Tuesday. First, however, my trip began at 6:30 a.m. Sunday when I checked out of my hotel in Savannah. My friend Yuki and I then drove four hours to Atlanta. I returned my rental car to Enterprise (luckily, they didn’t notice the damage inflicted on the car by a homeless man with a wheelbarrow in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood where we had dinner on Tuesday), and flew to Chicago. I made some calls to my family there and received some sad news about my aunt, whom I will write about later. I grew even sadder as I thought about the great distance that I will soon be from my family once more. At the gate for the flight to LA I noticed a large number of USC Trojan fans, including members of the marching band, were waiting to board. I went to grad school at USC, and was affiliated with the university for nine years, but I haven’t kept up with its football team. This weekend, I quickly learned, was the classic USC-Notre Dame game, and yesterday these fans had watched the Trojans crush the Fighting Irish on their home field.

As our plane pulled away from the gate and the safety video started to play, I was happily surprised to watch at least half the passengers (i.e., the Trojan students and other fans) begin to interact synchronously with what was going on on the screen. I don’t know how it was organized, or whether this is some new cultural phenomenon based on a recent movie, but everybody really did the same thing at the same moment. For example, when the narrator mentioned that the seatbelts should be fastened, a steady clicking noise started to swell as all the passengers clicked their belts. When the video showed the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling, people made a loud blowing noise throughout the plane. When the exits were identified in the video, dozens of hands started to make waving gestures towards to the various doors. And when the film finished, everyone clapped. It was perfect. It was a bit like going to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" back in college, in fact.

I feel especially happy to be an American tonight... and a (lapsed) Trojan!

P.S. This is my 100th post!!