Love, Hate, and the Blue Angels

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It's Fleet Week around San Francisco Bay and soon the aerial acrobatics of the Blue Angels will be thrilling some and infuriating others, or maybe both. Linda Gebroe has this Perspective.

I am one person with two opinions on one topic.

I can't stand the Blue Angels. They are ear-splittingly loud. They pollute the skies in ways I can only imagine. With huge crowds pouring into San Francisco to see their so-called sky-jinx, the Blue Angels cause traffic jams of epic proportion here on the ground. They're military and militaristic, hawks in crisp uniforms here to sell us a bill of patriotic goods. Meanwhile, we the taxpayers are footing the actual bill. Each of those jets is priced at well over $20 million. That's $300 million dollars that could be sheltering, feeding and educating a lot of people.

Yet -- and I really hate to admit this -- there's a part of me that kind of loves the Blue Angels. Those planes fly within 18 inches of each other. 18 inches! Like the very best ballet dancers, their elegant maneuvers become brilliant art. Unlike the dancers, the pilots' lives can be lost with a single misstep, and that notion thrills the audience even more.

What I like best is how the Blue Angels bring the community together. From a San Francisco hilltop, you can see sailboats clustered on the Bay, throngs of fans gathered on the waterfront and neighbors congregating on the city's street corners, hoping to get a good look at the airborne troubadours. The collective anticipation is palpable, and the cheers that follow can be deafening. Like the Blue Angels themselves, dammit.


So I hate the Blue Angels and I love them, too. How can that be?

How can it not be? Loving and hating the same thing happens a lot, if you think about it. The things in life that stir our passion are often multi-dimensional. Some parts we love, others we hate. Every year, the Blue Angels remind me of the risks we take when we love. We get close to each other. We make ourselves vulnerable and our hearts get all tangled up. Sometimes we get hurt real bad. And sometimes we are thrilled.

This weekend I will batten down the hatches and curse the Blue Angels as they roar over my house. And then I will look to the skies, hoping to get a glimpse.

With a Perspective, I'm Linda Gebroe.

Linda Gebroe stays firmly and securely attached to the ground in San Francisco.