Whereas I spent the day locked in a box watching stagnant water, The Mighty Weave took to the heavens. That bastard. Actually, I can't blame the guy. He was nothing but hunched over his newsroom computer the other day when The Assignment Guy laid the high-flying gig at his feet. I know; I watched the whole transaction from a cubicle away, barely suppressing the urge to scale the partition and the both of them with my Leatherman. I would have done it too, but my Leatherman was in the car and at the time I was writing under deadline. Besides, Weaver's probably the better choice join professional news lady Cindy farmer as she did loop-the-loops over Winston-Salem.
See, dude's a bit of an astronaut. We both came of age outside the same Air Force town, but I was never able to recite the specs of every swooping war-bird quite the way Chris did. When the two of us (separately) took up the lens years later, we worked our respective fancycams for entree into many a cockpit. Me, I favored hot air balloons, homegrown helicopters and a near hallucinogenic ride aboard the Goodyear Blimp. Weaver liked to go fast, strapped in, upside down if you let him. I suspect he's hoping he'll get to take over the controls himself one day - but only if he could figure out a way to capture the whole death-defying ordeal from every possible camera angle. He is a photog, after all.
But there's another reason Weaver's got the upper hand, one I don't broach easily. Flying - height in general, really - scares the shit out of me. What can I say, I got a fertile imagination and a vocabulary to match it. I've never let my mild phobia stop me from crawling aboard whatever aircraft that would take me. I've even jumped out of a semi-perfectly good plane, parachuting to the Earth while sporting a mullet straight out of 'Roadhouse'. If that doesn't take grapes, I don't know what does - even if I did freeze up a dozen years later after stumbling out of a Las Vegas elevator and onto the top floor of the Stratosphere. I still say that had more to do with blood alcohol content and sleep deprivation, but I understand if the likes of Portier weigh in to differ.
It's inconvenient, really. People - pilots included - assume the cameraman who shows up for the airplane ride to be pretty stoic. Usually I pull it off, though there have been a handful of times where I made deals with any deity listening while scrunched down in the co-pilot's seat: Get me down and I won't get back up. But I tell you is this: Despite a lifelong dread of falling to my death and a plate full of unedited Floyd retrospectives, I would have jumped at the chance to take Weaver's spot on that chase plane - if only to scratch another sphincter notch on my Sony. Still, the News Gods made the right choice, for if - God forbid - something were to go happen to the pilot in mid-flight Weaver would push the guy aside and request a vector, Victor. Me - I'd simultaneously soil myself while swearing in seven syllable soliloquies.
It's the only way to fly.