It was after midnight, and I was watching TV with the headphones on, trying to finish the latest “Avengers” movie before the next one comes out. The action was nonstop, and the sounds of carnage deafening, but because I have been married for 30 years, I heard the creak of the steps that said my wife was coming downstairs.
Married men know the drill: Where am I wrong, and how quickly can I not be wrong anymore? Imagine my relief when she wearily made a simple request:
“Could we do something about the planes?”
“I think you had a dream where I am the head of the FAA,” I replied.
“They’re not stopping. It’s one after the other, and it’s after midnight. They’re not supposed to do that. There’s a curfew.”
“What do you want me to do? I can order a bazooka from Amazon, but it’ll take a while, and they’d probably trace it to us.”
“Complain,” she demanded. “Write an angry e-mail.”
It was telling that she told me to send a note to one person at the airport as opposed to complaining in a newspaper column read by people all over the state, and I was about to say something — but then the house shook as another plane came over.
I said I would write a letter if she wanted, but let’s be serious, what are they going to do? Someone in public relations is rousted out of bed because their e-mail app is set to go off like a tornado siren?
“Dear Airport, it is Sunday after midnight, technically Monday I guess, and there are too many planes overhead. Please stop them. Thank you.”
What’s the guy going to do? Call the control tower? “Hello, Harvey? I just got this e-mail. Have you had any planes tonight?”
“I don’t know, Bob, let me check. Anyone seen any planes? You have? That’s what I thought they were, too. Yeah, Bob — whoa, here comes another one. Man, it’s always something on this job.”
“I got a complaint from someone who found themselves living under the approach — mystery how that happens — and they’re hearing planes. Isn’t there a curfew?”
“Technically, no; there are guidelines, not laws. But let me see what I can do.” He keys the mic: “Hello DIY One-Niner, this is MSP. Over.”
“Yes, MSP, we were meaning to call you. Nice to hear from you. Over.”
“We have a citizen who says the planes are coming in and wonders if you could divert to Indianapolis. Over.”
“That’s a negative. We have three engines flamed out and are running on just one. Over.”
“Understood, but could you throttle back your one remaining engine, because it’s possible this citizen has a meeting early in the morning. Over.”
“Roger that, MSP. Switching to glide, requesting passengers keep the screams down.”
As it turned out, there was a nationwide computer problem that had led to flight delays, and that’s why the planes were coming in late. But I couldn’t tell my wife that I can’t complain to the airport, because they’re always sending e-mails about my snoring disturbing passengers who are asleep on the planes that pass overhead, and I’ve set them all to go to “junk mail.”
(Note: Yes, I ran this column past my wife. Married 30 years, and I’d like to make 31.)