Monday, June 2, 2008

Some random thoughts on pilots

Found these two quotes while reading "Pilots of the Line" by Sky Masterson ( a collection of fictional short stories about flying).

This one about where a pilot feels most at home-

For a pilot, home is not a building with four walls and a roof, neither is it wherever his hat is laid; it is that area in closest proximity to his plane... It is the only place where an aviator knows for sure he belongs, the only place he knows what day it is- exact Zulu time for that matter. Home is Chicago, San Juan, Tokyo, and Berlin, all at once, so long as jets rumble his hotel room window there. Home is walking the beach in Tampa with shiny black Florsheims, sandals in Milwaukee in January, paying twelve dollars (US) for a hamburger at the hotel restaurant, and administering parental advice over the telephone from a thousand miles away. Home is sharing dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Mexico with four people you met four hours before. Home is the Ramada in Buffalo on Christmas morning.

This one about those spectacular women aviators call their wives, written about pilots-

They recognize how command changed their personality over time, forced them to believe that though they must accept input from others, they are the ultimate decision makers, because they are ultimately responsible. And since they must maintain control in all cases in flight, only a superman can turn off this trait on the ground, on a whim, a trait that only a super wife can live with for every long- only a super wife could command the house for a few days while her commuter was gone and relinquish command to "the captain" when he returned. They recognize this. They also recognize the implausibility of finding such a flesh and blood woman in a lifetime.

There is a new Kenny Chesney song out (say what you will, the guy is good looking!)- Better as a Memory. In the first verse, near the end, is a line "My only friends are pirates" that for the longest time I thought was "my only friends are pilots". I was convinced of it because pilots just seemed to fit. It was only after searching the lyrics and listening to the song very loudly that A was able to convince me that it was an R, not an L that I was hearing. Even then it took a while. I still think it should be pilots there. The imagery and suggestion of the song- leaving before becoming committed- lends itself well to the pilot image of always moving on, a girl in every port, dropping in and out unexpectedly. But pirates? The image of plunder and pillage just doesn't seem to fit. Maybe I'm biased.

We have a friend, I'll call him Mavrick, who totally fits the pilot image. He's the nicest guy, always friendly and outgoing, almost always with a cute girl by his side. Tall, handsome in his uniform, still in his twenties. Usually can be found flying off to new and exciting places when he isn't flying for the company. Dad is also a big time pilot as a major so he's got an "in". But strangely, when I think about it, he's the only pilot I can think of who fits the bill. All of the other pilots we know are settled, in relationships, some have kids, some have dogs, some have expensive morgages. I guess it's easier to keep the public perception of that handsome, rakish pilot (and more fun for the pilots) than it is to present the reality of the life.

Sometimes I don't relish facing the reality of my life either.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No way!! I thought the song said pilots too! I'll always sing pilots! haha