There's a classic frenetic montage sequence in Scorsese's GoodFellas, wherein Ray Liotta's character is constantly watching the skies for law enforcement helicopters who are tracking his every move - "All day long the poor guy's been watching helicopters and tomato sauce."
Our recent trip back to my pre-OK stomping grounds in So Cal had me chopper scanning as well.
It was a lovely spring day in Century City. The daytime temps were in the low-70's, traffic was light (we were heading west at 10 a.m. when most commuters were heading east), and the smog level was just light enough to make locals sound convincing when they stated, "that's not smog, that's low lying haze..."
The family unit and I were visiting my B-i-L at his office in the Die Hard Building aka the Nakatomi Building, in reality known as the Fox Plaza. After a quick tour around the building we jumped into a golf cart and trucked on over to the Fox Studios lot for lunch at the lot cafe, aptly named Moe's Grill.
The inside dining area was abuzz with studio folk watching one of the dozen or so giant wall mounted monitors spewing forth any number of Fox channels, Fox programs, Fox movies, or Fox commercials for Fox channels, Fox programs and Fox movies.
We chose to eat outside.
As the girls snarffed on their grilled cheese sandwiches, danced around the grassy areas, and begged us to go exploring among the back lot buildings and fake street facades, B-i-L, S and I had a pleasant lunch.
Until the choppers came. Three of them. Circling our position like turkey buzzards over a family of freshly roadkilled opossums on a county road.
While we spouted out guesses for the myriad of reasons so many helicopters would be converging on such a small chunk of flyover real estate (one vote for high speed pursuit, one vote for bank robbery, one vote for nearby filming -- after all, we were on a movie lot) the girls excitedly watched the whirlybirds pass over head, probably wondering where the tractor accident was that caused the mediflight chopper to come into town to take the wounded Farmer to the hospital in the city.
Okay, I'm theorizing on that last part, but since the only helicopters the girls get to see in the skies above our small town are usually one-way flights to the OU medical center with some unfortunate victim of a heinous tractor accident onboard, you can see why my mind drifted in that direction.
The choppers finally left, we finished our lunch, the girls got to peek inside a few sound stages and act out imaginary scenes on the backlot, while S and I counted about 358 Prius hybrids in the parking lot.
Our next encounter with a flight of choppers occurred during an early evening patio dinner atop the Mount Washington home of some good friends. Same scenario. We're eating, talking, drinking, and theorizing why a bevy of the rotored beasts are circling overhead.
Home invasion robbery, chasing a suspect through a neighborhood, high speed pursuit ending, Keanu Reeves sighting at the Baskin Robbins. Take your pick.
During the week the girls became pretty good at spotting the whoop-whoop-whooping copters overhead. Once at the cemetary, once at Disneyland, once at Knott's, and several times over my Mom's San Gabriel valley based condo.
Who knew there were so many tractor accidents in LA.