AirVenture, Day 0.
The booth setup today was almost eerily uneventful – most of the heavy lifting was done in advance, so all we really had to do was install a few bits of software. Even Flight Simulator X was loaded, configured, and activated, sparing us the 6 minutes per PC of activating by phone. Beyond that, we needed to work out some speaker issues and beg for some controllers to sit in for the ones we shipped that haven’t found their way to us yet (thank you, once again, CH Products for filling in the gaps!).
Then there was the small matter of the two 42" plasma monitors that we need for our display that, technically, none of us forgot to arrange for, since none of us ever even gave it the slightest thought in the first place. Thanks to the miracle of modern cellular telephone technology, and the brute force of a Microsoft Corporate American Express card, this problem was solved when a company in Madison, WI, rented us the last two they had. They brought them straight to the booth and mounted and configured them for us. I haven’t seen the bill, and I’ve a feeling I’ll wish I never did, but the show must go on … the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd and all that.
The show has already renewed old friendships, and sparked a few new ones. Tomorrow, that process will accelerate dramatically, as more people arrive, and the gates officially open. There will be noise and action and rapid-fire conversations and things to see and questions to answer or deflect gracefully. A maelstrom of activity, paradoxically some of the greatest peace I know.
Tonight, though, was about finding something akin to quiet, about the closest I can come to the sort of contemplative relaxation that normal people find laying in silence on a beach. Far closer, perhaps, than the stolen title of this post suggests.
The afternoon and evening brought together a few of my very favorite things: a huge Midwestern sky with a great sunset, a golf cart full of good friends, miles of fully gawkable airplanes, and … someone who’d never been here before. I take a peculiar pleasure in being the person who has been some place amazing who can then, in turn, show it to someone else. It makes me feel like the drummer in That Thing You Do – "I led you here, sir, for I am Spartacus."
If any among the handful of pictures I took sum up a day-zero Oshkosh evening, I think it was this one. I’m resisting calling it the "picture o’ the day", because I can’t guarantee that there will be a picture tomorrow, or that there won’t be another one in the middle of the night tonight. I’m just not ready for that kind of commitment. I’m resisting that, in fact, almost as hard as I’ve fought off the phrase "calm before the storm" in tonight’s post, spraying my keyboard with Cliche’-be-Gone.
With that, then, here is the official "Picture of the Right Now, My Favorite of all of the Ones Inserted Here at the End, No Warranties Given or Implied".