Letters to the Editor

Jet noise annoying, but vital to Whidbey Island | Letters


“What? . . . Can you hear me? . . . Hello?”

This was how my telephone conversation with a client went on Monday afternoon. The jets seemed to be following me around like the rain cloud followed Eeyore.

At first it’s embarrassing, like I run my business out of some kind of funhouse.

Then it’s irritating, because the interruptions cause my two-minute conversation to take three times as long. Then, however, I sigh, because if it were not for the base, the people and the airplanes, I would not have this client.

The truth of the matter is that the planes, which keep interrupting us, are the reason why we ended up on the phone together. As embarrassing or irritating as they are, I cannot imagine life without them here.

We can try to convince ourselves that tourists provide enough business to keep our economy afloat, but that would be dishonest.

Without the military families and the people who visit them from around the world, we would be a dwindling speck on a map.

We would barely have enough people to staff our businesses, much less keep them profitable.

They would fade away like the fog over Deception Pass on a hot summer morning. Until one day our local economy completely evaporates.

All of our property values plummet and the rich and unconcerned snag it up to create “The Hamptons II” in the Pacific Northwest.

They will be unimpressed by our cows, horses, chickens or food crops.

They will find roadside flower sales quaint but unworthy of their time. What is left of our local eateries will be too smelly, sticky and uncivilized.

Soon, the smell of these rural “smallities” will become a nuisance to this new population. They will use their inexhaustible resources to zone these things out the way we are trying to zone out the noise.

What will be left from the battle we’re fighting today? Nothing but grand houses with beautiful views that we used to enjoy over ice-cold pitchers of beer.

But, they will not know the feeling of a lazy summer afternoon when we could enjoy a cold drink on the porch and feel the rumble grow into a roar as a plane passes through to the horizon.

Sidney Thomas
Oak Harbor


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