The purpose of my third trip to Kandahar was to make my first trip home. Little did I know that it also meant my third trip to Bagram. Like most steps on the way home it was a stuttering step. At my 2200 briefing I was told to come back at 0045 to sign in for the flight. Most of the people on these flights are in the military, not civilians, so the civilians are forced to comply with the military mantra of hurry up and wait.
To be honest, I don't even recall what time we left. The 0045 brief included walking down to the Outpassenger Terminal (why did I start my trip in the Inbound? Because it's what you do) for a 0115 brief. This was followed by a wait, then our names were called to go upstairs into the waiting rooms (as compared to the waiting tents we were in previously) where we were told anywhere from 2 to 3 hours later the plane would take off.
It wasn't that long, but whatever time it was we finally were able to get loaded onto a C-17 for the flight to Bagram and Kuwait. The C-17 is not the largest plane in the air, and not even the largest plane in the American fleet, but it is pretty damn big. This was my first flight on one and I was impressed with everything except the lack of windows, a point which foreshadowed all but the last leg of my journey.
Everyone finds a way to cope with airline travel. Some love it, some hate it, some take it as a necessary evil, some medicate, some sleep, but everyone who does it has to figure out how they feel most comfortable in a huge pressurized metal tube hurtling thousands of feet to several miles above the ever-present and waiting ground at hundreds of miles an hour. Never forget that in over 100 years of aviation history not one time have they ever left a plane up there (This is a part of the Trouble With Travel).
One of the most common ways to cope with flight is to drown it out with earphones. A most recent development I have seen in the past few months is a trend towards wearing Beats by Dre headphones. I don't know if it's a Asian thing or if these headphones are big everywhere. For this reason the next observation shouldn't strike me as oddly as it did. Typically one would expect the younger generation to be the one most affected by the desire to drown the outside world out with headphones, particularly a set designed by a pop music name such as Dr. Dre (admittedly he's more Hip Hop than Pop, but he's also not the most in the forefront of the industry either anymore). So it really shouldn't strike me as odd when I saw a platinum haired gentleman who appeared old enough to be my father's contemporary wearing a pair of red Beats on his head.
I suppose it is just a matter of the pulse of the theater.