Cacophony In The Sky? Or The Sound Of Freedom.
There are two kinds of people who live near a Naval air station.
Those who loathe jet noise. And those who've learned to love it. (Perhaps because they've partially lost their hearing.)
I’m in the latter camp. Once, I was in the former.
When my kids were infants - during Operation Desert Storm - we lived in Shadowlawn. I loved everything about that Beach neighborhood except its apparent proximity to a busy Oceana runway.
During the build up to hostilities in the Gulf the F-14 Tomcats thundered overhead day and night. Our windows rattled. Our babies cried. We learned sign language.
Then we moved.
Once ensconced in a dilapidated 1930s North End money pit I enjoyed the quiet. For a while. Until the ear-splitting F/A-18 Hornets flew into town. And the Navy began to buzz my new house with them.
Suddenly, I was wistful for the gentle purrs of the Tomcats.
Then came September 11, 2001. For a couple of days the skies were blue, empty and silent. No commercial air traffic. No Navy jets.
It was eerie.
That’s when it hit me that those booming supersonic aircraft and the pilots who flew them had just one goal: To keep my young family and others like ours safe.
I pledged in a newspaper column to never again complain about jet noise. And I haven’t. Publicly, anyway. Although there have been a few nights when the clamor drowned out the TV and I started to cuss.
Hey, no one could hear me over the racket.
To be honest, I barely notice daytime jet noise. In fact, a few years ago I was sitting on the beach with my visiting sister-in-law when she looked up from her book, shielded her eyes and stared at the sky.
“I don’t know how you stand it!” she shouted.
“Stand what?” I shouted back.
“That NOISE!” she yelled, amazed that I didn’t seem to hear the Hornets screaming overhead..
This week has been especially noisy. The jets are blaring as I write this and it's nearly midnight.
With the arrival of warm weather, we've started eating dinner on our screened porch. On Tuesday every bite was punctuated by the piercing sound of jet engines.
My 2-year-old granddaughter - who used to cover her ears in fear - has a new way of reacting to the din. I like to think I had something to do with it.
Apologies for the overacting.