Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Particular to pilots

Someday's "You Know Your Husband Is a Pilot When" List:

  • You leave TO DO Flows, not lists
  • Text messages begin with "Be advised"
  • You receive random text messages encoded with airport call letters which mean nothing to you because you don't have the codes memorized for every possible airport he could fly to
  • Calls are interrupted with "Stand by" and resume with "Go ahead"
  • You are frequently told "Disregard" instead of "never mind"
  • Your assessment of the weather (ie. "it's hot") is always countered with the exact temperature and visibility
  • At every intersection you give the "clear right" challenge and response
  • You are occasionally critiqued by being told "you are driving just like a first officer flying on autopilot and not paying attention to the controls"- (BTW, this is not a good use of Crew Resource Management in a marriage, despite how well it might work in a cockpit)
  • Plans like "well, I'll just fly from Jax to Atlanta to Tallahassee, take a cab to the apartment, pick up my car and drive back to Jax. Should be home around 3pm" seem not only plausible, but actually the best option.
Pilots have not only their own lexicon, which is infiltrating our family, but also a peculiar way of thinking sometimes.

The other day, I dropped A off at the airport, in uniform, to head to work. For some reason, this time it felt like a lot of people were watching us. Admittedly, it was a busy day at the airport, but I know I saw a few heads swivel and stare. At first I wondered why but then I realized that most people never see uniformed pilots outside of an airport or plane. It's like they are robots that are put away in some magic airport closet at night. So it appears out of context to see a travel dirty car with a kid asleep in the back seat pull up, a pilot hop out, his very pregnant wife hop out, give him a peck on the lips, a slap on the ass and a "have a good trip, see ya in a few" and then leave him on the curb as she goes tearing off to make dinner with her friends. People probably expect something much more romantic than that. If they only knew that the car ride to the airport was probably spent arguing about the dishes that didn't get done or the uniform shirt that needs to be picked up from the cleaners... I guess this does happen in other professions too. If I saw my pediatrician telling her kid "no you can't have a candy bar" and watched him throw a fit on aisle three of the local Publix, I would probably feel out of sorts too.

And finally, the posterity pictures. Every pilot wife I know has at least one picture of her husband in the cockpit, standing next to his plane, or doing some other piloty thing. I admit, I have one on my nightstand. Is it a proof thing- yes he really is a pilot and really does exist? A pride thing? I racked my brain trying to come up with other professions that do this as well: Firefighters, police and some military with their accouterments- probably. UPS drivers next to their big brown trucks- possibly. Accountants, computer programmers, salesmen beaming proudly from their cubicles- probably not. I can't recall ever having a picture of husband #1 kicked back in his roller chair at work.

And with those thoughts in mind, I'm back to the grindstone as I finish my last week of classes EVER for my graduate degree.