Early morning, when I'm nursing my darling stillwakesupfourtimesanight angel at o'dark thirty, is prime time for my mind to wander and compose blog posts...
This morning I was thinking about pilots and coworkers and how different their relationships are from mine. I've always worked in cubicle towns, the kind where you can prairie-dog your head up and know everyone's business in your area. And you are able to develop relationships with your coworkers whom you see nearly every day. In the mornings you can check in with Melanie about her hot date last night, chat with Mylene about her upcoming wedding, run over to Sandy to get some invaluable parenting advice, complain with Linda about our husband's foibles, or announce to the whole department "OH. MY. GOD. You won't believe what Kidzilla did yesterday." Friendships develop naturally over time and the people you don't mesh with so well, you can somewhat avoid.
A, on the other hand, has no choice about whom he is thrown into a small space with for three or four consecutive days. Could be someone great whom he gets along well with or it could be someone its a trial to work with. Usually it's someone he's never met before. With somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 pilots from his airline alone based where he is, it could be months or ever years before he flies with the same guy twice. Or it could be again on the next trip. But the options to avoid the people you don't like and hang out with the people you do are limited. And when you do climb into the cockpit, its a crash course in relationship building- "we've never met, but we've got 25 hours alone together with nothing to do but yap at each other. Who's going to start?" Occasionally the together time is puctuated by the presence of the flight attendant, but for the most part its just the two of them. And its only if they happen to be in the crew room at the same time that he gets to follow up with someone he flew with previously and ask "hey, how did that thing we talked about work out?"
I'm not sure if I have the personality to put myself in that situation. Usually I'm shy, slow to warm up and private- traits not really conductive to quick relationship building. Luckily A is not- he's outgoing, the life of the party and can talk to anyone about anything. He could give a one hour discourse on flat paint vs eggshell vs gloss when painting a dresser. Or one on obscure pop hits of the 80's. Or evaluate your cell phone plan and recommend a new one. Or anything else that might come up. Sometimes I have to remind him to engage the "see it, think it, say it" filter when I need a bit of peace from his can't-stand-the-silence chatter. But these traits probably work to his favor in the relationship building area and as a pilot in particular. It's nice to think of something that A does that occasionally annoys the the heck out of me can also make his work life easier for him.