When I hear helicopters flying overhead in a westerly direction I assume they are heading back to base. Coming from the west they are probably leaving said base. Circling the area may mean a news helicopter looking at an accident or other catastrophe so that we earthlings will have a head start on knowing how to feel about it when someone in some booth cuts back to the camera in the studio.
The scariest helicopters are the ones flying back and forth, side to side, up and down as though looking for something. At night the lights focused down at the ground tell us they are indeed looking for something – or rather, someone – who is armed and dangerous and an escaped ax murderer, or perhaps a newly arisen zombie. We don’t have many of those in the area yet, but the numbers are increasing. Thanks to a totally accurate TV show we all know how to destroy them provided we know they are coming. I guess that means the helicopters are an advance warning system, giving us time to turn off our lights, lock our doors, and grab our weapon of choice. Maybe in the reverse order would be best.
One year my family worked up an emergency zombie attack plan. All the young ones had a variety of escape routes planned and a couple of different meeting places in case one had been taken over. The old bed-ridden one had a lighter, a torch and a violin to fiddle while the zombie burned. We even had my next door neighbor play the part of a zombie to give everyone the chance to practice their actions to help keep them from freezing up in the event of an “actual emergency.”
My neighbor made one huge mistake. He decided to wear ugly make-up and a ripped plaid shirt. My children were terrified. Thinking this was an actual emergency, they fended off Pseudo-Zombie with what weapons they had handy, including a rake, a bread knife and a toaster, and ran to our meeting place shrieking and cheering. My neighbor recovered after months in a catatonic state, but has never spoken to nor looked at us again.
My favorite kind of helicopter is the one I can see from my bed or recliner. They show up in the summer dancing and bobbing and hovering and darting. When they are playing in the front yard their shape, maneuvers, grace and speed provide days of delight for my eyes. My mother called them dragonflies. To my grandmother they were darning needles. I call them wonderful.
I’ve heard a story from a source who shall remain unnamed, Corbin, of two idiots — delete idiots — young men who took two dragonflies captive. Though the men were unable to get their prisoners to talk, they were able to carefully tie strings to them and fly them like kites. When through playing, the helicopters were released, physically unharmed. The good-twin-me was appropriately shocked and horrified. The flip side couldn’t stop howling with laughter.
Every summer when I see a dragonfly I also remember that story, and I can’t help wondering. Which of us (the helicopters, the young guys or me) could be most helped by therapy?