Greetings from Boston. The spirit of true patriotism has captured my heart yet again, as I've spent the evening walking the same cobblestone streets once trodden by such American heroes as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere's horse, just to name a few. I didn't get to spend much time downtown yet, as I'm spending most of my days in class at Boston University, alma mater of the right reverend Nathan Robinson, yet another true American hero in my book.
I haven't yet been able to enjoy the dulcet tones of the New England accent, as I spent two consecutive hours with my head a mere 16 inches from a live jet engine. I've heard that these engines produce about 140 decibels at a distance of 100'. Now I'm no acoustical scientist, but I'm guessing that since my head was a mere foot-and-a-half from said jet engine, and, given the nominal amount of sound insulation in the wall of the fuselage, I was probably subjected to about 10,000 db of continuous noise (rounding down). I also was forced to watch an episode of "The Wire" (S4E5), to distract myself from my discomfort with the notion that I'm in a 20 ton tube of steel that uses "lift" to get itself and its passengers (more on that later) about 7.5 miles from the ground. Given my proximity to the engine and the fact that I can't understand a word the black characters on "The Wire" say, I was forced to listen to it at full volume. I would assume that this added another 1,300 or so decibels to the equation, but only for 1 of the two hours. For those of you following along at home, that's 11,300 decibels for a full hour and another hour at 10,000. To put this into perspective, according to most sources I've found, permanent hearing loss is probable at a sustained 90-95 decibels. I may never get to hear anyone say "che-owdah."
I do have to commend the airplane that brought me here. I would say that it had to work about 15-20% harder than other planes its size, given the enormity of many of its passengers. My flight left Chicago at 8:45am, and I got to the gate around 7:30. In the hour that I sat and waited a 20-something couple arrived, with a combined weight of about 550-600 lbs. Upon arrival the husband (I saw rings of gold) consumed two Starbucks muffins. "Hmm... eating healthy," I thought to myself. That is, until I wandered off, only to come back with a couple Egg McMuffins. (If you think I'm kidding, I will punch you next time I see you.) In the course of about 45 minutes, I would estimate that this man consumed about 1200 calories. UGH! Let me be clear: I am NOT making fun of fat people. I'm not the slimmest dude myself. But I am commenting on the sheer number of obese people that were on my flight. One lady had to take about three wind-up attempts before completing a stand-up out of her seat. So congratulations are in order for American Airlines flight 1718 from O'Hare to Boston Aug. 3rd. You really did an excellent job lifting us off of the earth.
Note: I did bring my camera, and I DO have some pictures, but I don't have the proper cable-age to transfer my pics to my sweet Apple iBook. So patience will certainly pay off when you do finlly get to see my travel photos.