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April 24, 2016 / thackersam

The Little Red Helicopter

Red Hel4/19/16 – You know what’s a really creepy sound? A helicopter hovering.

A couple of months ago an agreement was reached to cut back on the number and frequency of tourist helicopters that leave from the downtown NYC heliport. It never bothered me. In fact I like it, but then I don’t work from home where the helicopters come buzzing around frequently. If you were ever to get me in a helicopter and I didn’t live here, I would want to see this area from up high. And I am up pretty high, so once in a while it’ll look like a helicopter may be coming a bit too close. It’s just an illusion though. Not to worry.

I do however work on the other side of the southern tip of the Island and my office window catches a sliver of the heliport itself on the East River. Once upon a time I had the office two doors down that had a better view of the heliport with a church in Brooklyn in the background. But that’s another story about sexism in the workplace and guys named Dick. (breathe) I found watching the helicopters take off and land quite calming and would often swing my chair to the left, put my feet up on the radiator or whatever we want to call that thing that runs from office to office giving out hot air in the summer and cold in the winter, and just watch the helicopters come and go. I am, as we know from my frequent tangents, easily distracted, and pretty much happy to be so.

The red helicopter soon became my favorite, which amused some of my friends at work. In fact, on a weekend three years ago, when a red helicopter carrying a family of Swedes lost power in one of its engines and went down onto the Hudson, I was home watching it on the news. Everyone was safe and dry as the 21 year old pilot managed to successfully use the pontoons to land the helicopter smoothly into the water. A reporter came up to the visibly shaken young man and asked how he felt being a hero. “I was just doing my job,” he responded. I love that story. But the red helicopter… it was going to have to go away for a while and hopefully recover. I knew this was one of my helicopters, my red helicopter, until I realized it had too much white on it and was indeed the smaller red helicopter that I would also see. My favorite is the more solid red and is your basic standard-sized copter.

The following Monday at work, a couple of coworkers called me to pay their condolences over the loss of my helicopter, having seen the event on the news as well, and were glad for me when told it wasn’t the one that I’m anxious to see during the week. Still, the loss of the little red helicopter saddened me, and I was pleased to see it return a few months later. I have to admit that in those three years the number of different helicopter has grown (there are now four red helicopter amongst the others) and people were getting annoyed. As I said, the noise does not bother me in the least. In fact, I jump up and run to the window to watch the army copters go by in formation.

But, the sound of a helicopter buzzing in place, as this one has been  doing for more than an hour now as I write this, means that something is going on. That does bother me. It gives me such an uneasy feeling and really creeps me out. It happens now and then, yet I’ve never found out why. I don’t mean to minimalize any other crime or threat that may have happened to someone else, but so far it’s nothing that has been catastrophic. I guess it comes with the territory, the City and the neighborhood. I said when I moved in to my apartment that as soon as the Freedom Tower was finished, I would leave. But we see that that’s just not happening right now. I have to work, I have to have insurance, and I have to be rid of this cancer thing. And then, who knows.

BTW – My friends roll their eyes, which I can feel through phones and read into texts, whenever I say “tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1999.” A bit outdated, but a great line and song. I was never a Prince fan, per se. It’s kind of like that Madonna thing for me. A mixture of annoyance and respect, disliking some things about them, but appreciating when they don’t take themselves too seriously, and getting portions of their songs stuck in my head. On Thursday, the new guy at work came into my office. I had already heard the news, but I think he, being a big Prince fan, needed to share with someone, and I, being in his age group and having an appreciation for all things music, was glad he chose me to talk to. The radio was on as usual, and as we spoke he identified the Prince song that was playing. “Dirty Minds.” Sorry, I didn’t know the song, and was not impressed that he did. As a Prince fan, he should.

I told him of my favorite Prince moment that happened a few years ago when he came out to present the award for best song at the Grammys. He opened the envelope and said, “I love this song,” and announced the winner as Gotye’s song, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Gotye and Timbre took the stage, ecstatic not just that they had won, but because as it turned out, they are huge Prince fans and that made the award that much more worth winning. Hey, people win awards all the time, but when it’s presented by one of your idols who announces to millions that he loves your song, what a freakin’ kick that must be. So goodbye to Prince. And thank you.

My kitchen reeks of curry and I haven’t even cooked since last weekend. On behalf of the cauliflower and myself, thanks J.

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