21 April, 2007

Out of Place

Saw the strangest thing in a local restaurant two evenings ago... a man in a flight suit.

Well it wasn't the flight suit that was strange, it was the fact that it was topped off with an Air Force "soft cover" in this decidedly Navy-USMC town. As far as I know, I live quite a distance from the nearest Air Force installation.

He was accompanied by his wife, and two children whom I estimated to be maybe 9 and 6 years old. The line of restaurant patrons stretched outside the door and I had plenty of time to observe them in front of me, but he was too far away for me to see his patches clearly (one seemed to have a B-2 outline on it). However, I could see his wings and watch the family dynamics. His wife's face displayed a strange combination of relief and anxiety, and his children spent most of their time grinning, an expression which was returned everytime they caught their father's eyes.

Of course, my mind strove to explain this odd appearance; what would an Airman in uniform be doing with his family here? I managed to fashion a scenario: surely he must be just-now returned from deployment and his family had arranged to meet him here for a vacation in Sunny SoCal. I like to think my hypothesis was confirmed when he walked past me and the calf-level pockets on his flight suit were still bulging with their contents. Talk about being "just off the plane..."

As much as my curiosity was piqued and I wanted to walk up and ask what an Airman was doing in these parts (and perhaps welcome him home), I figured that if I was right, the last thing I wanted to do was interrupt. So I behaved myself... and nearly expired from the curiosity of it all!