Is it safe to come out…?
I have been out of pocket for almost two months. Here is a quick update, training went relatively well. I still have a couple more events but have completed all of the big stuff and I am waiting on flying to be scheduled. Way back in February, when I met my sim partner we had a very brief discussion about what it would be like. Chris is a really good dude who worked his tail off during training. But he is a single seat, zipper suited, sun god whose vast experience mostly included dropping bombs on the sand people. At the time; I don’t think he believed me I told him that it would be one of the most painful and humiliating experiences in his professional life but if he agreed not to judge me, I promised not to judge him. Today, I promise you he is a believer.
I was asked by a friend to describe why training is so hard. The closest thing I could come up with is to think of your family doctor. I am sure they are wonderful, competent and a highly skilled general physician with many years of experience. Send that same person back to medical school in China. It is the same human body with the same organs but totally different language and procedures. After thirteen years of working with my company, and twenty-six years of flying, I still found this training cycle to be a real kick in the pants.
I have been thinking about buying a sports car after I finished training. I was thinking that I had earned it and that I was probably responsible enough to safely and legally operate it. All that changed this past Monday night. I was driving the second fastest production car in existence on a round trip finishing up a short three-day training cycle. You might be wondering what the second fastest production car is so let me break it down. It is the economy class rental car from Enterprise. By the way, the fastest production car in existence is your friend’s economy class rental car. Crossing the state line into West Virginia, I was pulled over for going 82 in a 65. The officer told me that the speed limit dropped when I crossed over from Kentucky but that he would have still pulled me over for 82 in a 70. I didn’t tell him that I knew the speed limit would drop and I had just slowed down five miles an hour. Yes, it is a fact that I am not mature enough for a Corvette.
Which leads me to today which is my birthday. I have been racking my brain in the few free moments on suggestions for presents from my wife and kids. Last week they settled on the gift that keeps giving. Yard treatment from a local yard care company. My wife decided that I finally needed to have the best-looking yard in the neighborhood. To say that I was psyched would be an understatement. Thick, luscious, green grass that is free of weeds and needs to be mowed every three days is exactly what I have been dreaming of since I was twelve. My Dad had that kind of yard and when he made me mow it, I did my best to make it look bad so he would fire me from that chore. The good news is that she had not signed the contract so when I told her I got a speeding ticket, she said that she was canceling the yard treatment and I would be paying the ticket as my birthday present. I want to thank Officer Kennedy, the City of Kenova and the State of West Virginia for getting me out of that. Happy Birthday to me!
Finally, tonight I have to head back to training and tempt fate. The last time I was in airplane on my birthday was April 6, 2003 in Iraq. On that birthday, I used up three of my nine lives on one flight and I promised myself that I would never fly on my birthday again as my present to myself. Well, I have to climb on board that airplane but since I am ridding in the back, I am going to use pilot reasoning to trick myself that I am not breaking my promise to myself. I am going to include the links to the set of stories about that night. I wrote them in mid-April 2013, so they are new reading for many of our newer friends. I hope you enjoy. By the way, my heart still starts racing when I think of what happened that night.
I am going to spend the rest of the day watching the crab grass grow and thanking my lucky stars that Officer Kennedy gave me that ticket.
Until next time, keep on rockin!