There and Back Again: a Bush Pilots Tale
How we get to work, what we do there and how we get home defines my generation. Oddly enough this strongly parallels my interpretation of a first date.
I walk to work. James bikes in, and Matt has been testing out the new kayak. I love my walk to work. Downhill the whole way, it gives me the time and space to get my head right and ready for the day. Just like a good workout you get the blood pumping and the bursa fluid moving before the heavy lifting begins. James also has a downhill ride and Matt usually has the traditional southwest wind to help push him to our dock. How many first dates start out this easy or with such good intentions. All of them do.
We are there and the body of work begins. Walk around the airplanes, check fuel and oil levels, read the weather, try to decipher the schedule (why we use Sanskrit is a real mystery around here), and ready ourselves. Sounds a lot like shower, manly musk scent application, and figuring out what to do and what to say for the evening. The parallels continue.
During the day we really get going. Student training, charters to cities and lakes, always trips out to Henry’s for fish and chips. You just get lost in the flow and vibe of the day. Funny thing is we are all human and we need breaks too. Sharpness and focus must be maintained at all times. Regular bathroom breaks will get you this during the date and the work day, but your dance partner may begin to question your continence.
We are near the end of the day. Stay frosty, stay ready. You can blow a trip at the end of it. Nice take-off, witty banter, smooth landing are all good, but if you mess up the docking then you may have ruined a very concentrated effort. Yeah, the awkward kiss/no kiss/hug/handshake/back pat/ high five will either pave the way for a return engagement or risk losing the contact forever.
Luckily enough for me, Nicole sat behind me for two and half years in college. We were good friends and enjoyed each other’s company. She knew enough about me, and my “not always as mature as a future floatplane airline operator as I should have been” that any mishaps on the first date after we graduated could and should have been overlooked. She knew I caught up on much needed valuable sleep during history of aviation class (sorry Mr Whiteside). She provided me with the details of the lesson and even proofread my work from time to time. She will probably proof read this.
Soooooo, using the mulligan for my first date and applying it to marriage, babies and what not has worked out for me. But you still have to get home. I noticed that Matt drove to work today with tight shoulders. Matt is in his early thirties. James plans his route home to avoid the insane hill that I live on. He takes the leisurely route through downtown. He is young.
I can’t stand that hill. I look desperately for a ride home. I am very close to forty.