Back again. My temporary departure from this space was marked by a defense of my decision to fly to San Francisco via the (for me) convenient and cheap National Airport rather than traveling, at high ground-transport cost and time consumption, to and from Dulles Airport.

Given the intensity of opposition by many local residents to National, the fallout from that column was surprisingly limited--but what mail arrived supported my pragmatic Nationalism by a ratio of about 2 to 1.

"Your sentiments are those of most of the people I know who live in the area and who fly out of National," wrote Constan G. Kanellos of Alexandria. "I have never heard real complaints about National but I have heard many about Dulles--primarily the distance . . . and the prohibitive costs" of ground transportation, he wrote. Under current conditions, he concluded, "National IS the airport."

One anonymous correspondent took the other side rather vividly. "You are selfish," the anti-National and pro-Dulles writer said, "because you live close to a Metro line . . . doesn't mean that everyone has that good fortune." True. But good fortune it was, with no apology offered: Although the traffic circle in front of National's main terminal was chaotic, I arrived home 90 minutes sooner than if I'd taken a comparable flight into Dulles.