I'm always impressed when I realize that a fictional story or character is impacting my thinking even after I turn off the tube or close the book. So, while I thought this season of 24 was rather boring, I still consider myself an avid fan, and I suppose it should have come as no surprise to me when Jack and Chloe's way of seeing the world recently took over my thinking.
As I was sitting on the plane last week waiting to go to Palm Springs via LAX, the pilot announced that the flight would not be able to take off as scheduled as the radar was down at LAX and no planes could take off or land until that was fixed. It's never particularly fun sitting on a plane waiting for it to take off, but this was a reason I hadn't heard before.
The usual reasons, often involving mechanical problems, certainly give me pause. Do I really want to be on a plane when its computers weren't working until a mechanic came along and jiggled some wires? Or the landing equipment was just fixed? Or they needed to re-start the plane to see if they could get both of the engines or some other equipment to start up? At times like these, I get flashbacks to the Time/Life books I saw advertised on TV as a kid that talked about intuition or supernatural signs impacting people's life decisions and used the example of a man who decides at the last minute not to get on the plane that ended up crashing. The problem for me is that when I'm flying, I pretty much always get that feeling that tells me to get off the plane. I hope that when I'm really supposed to listen to that intuition it will be glaringly obvious.
But the radar delay got me thinking in an entirely different direction. Rather than raising concerns about the safety of my specific plane, instead I started thinking of all of the reasons "the bad guys" might knock out the radar at LAX (coincidentally the location of 24's CTU and where all of the show's action goes down). Obviously, post-9/11, safety related questions often lead the mind to thoughts of terrorism, but I think my specific line of thought could be traced more clearly to my loyal viewing of 24. Clearly Chole O'Brien would know that the radar was down so that "the bad guys" could stealthily fly some other "bad guys" in without being seen on radar. Or to blanket LA with some airborne toxins and go undetected.
After about an hour of my mind running through the different possible scenarios, we took off and landed uneventfully in LA. I was happy that the Jack Bauer scenarios continued to remain fictional.