O Pilot, My Pilot!

My momentary flirtation with manning the controls in a flight simulator, besides making me seriously quavery in the moment, told me in no uncertain terms that I would be glad to continue leaving all such labors to the experts. When I was a lot younger I had fantasized about training as a pilot, but reality intervened in good time and I, never mind how humble my brain-power, was able to recognize that I had been saved from myself by a number of factors that conveniently nixed that old fantasy.

The adventures of modern TSA-enhanced travel further confirmed my gratitude that I didn’t opt for life as an air jockey. I’m more content than ever to let airline and airport professionals cope with all of the added red tape and hassles of bulked up security and its concomitant regulations. I am able, despite being far too young to remember it in minute detail, to revere even now the romantic notion of those days when airplane travel was glamorous and cool. And, yes, easy. Though I am better aware now than I was in my infatuated youth that the latter quality is, and always was, more easily achieved by those not in the pilot’s seat.

Those of you who like that work, I thank you. Brother Dennis and all of you fine souls willing to ship me on my various expeditions yon as well as hither, I thank you very much. I’ll just be back there in the thirtieth row with my earplugs screwed in and my pretend aviator scarf pulled over my eyes while I work diligently, with my nice nap, at forgetting I’m even in the air for hours on end. After all, I already put in my enormous effort at flying when I got into that simulator. Your turn now.digital illustration

The Early Bird Gets the Worm (But Don’t Waste Your Pity on the Late Bird)

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You mockin’ at ME?

That old saying has transcended life-directional, generational and international boundaries so widely and deeply that it’s practically accepted as the absolute Truth. Don’t get me wrong, for many it is indeed an operational reality. But as someone who not only loves to sleep in but craves, nay, needs large quantities of sleep regularly if not constantly, well, I have come to accept my own version of this truth, or one I think is a more completely accurate version.

Yes, the early bird gets that proverbial worm more often than not.

But every birdie that gets out there, raring to go, in the earlier hours of any given day is not inherently smarter or a better hunter or more wonderful than the one still tucked neatly into the nest, storing up strength for her own burst of action, no matter what either’s pace or style or M.O. happens to be. For one little thing, the Law of Unintended Consequences can indeed be a nasty spank on the flank to anyone not paying proper attention, but in other senses, it can also lend a lovely surprise ending, a positive twist unforeseen: the worm that the aforementioned early bird unceremoniously cheated out of another day’s orchard-munching left an untouched, pristine apple hanging there. This glorious apple would otherwise have been unavailable to Miss Sleepy-Cheepy, who has finally arisen, seen the sweet orb of the fruit eclipsing a late-morning sun and surrounded by its celestial aura with a sense of angel choirs bursting into cinematic soundtrack song, and eaten her fill of juicy, energy-producing (and doctor-evading, if we are to believe all old sayings while we’re in this groove) goodness. Hopefully, thanking in her heart her early rising cousin for rescuing a tidbit that she secretly prefers to eating boring old worms anyway.

This, of course, is one microscopic scenario in the universe of possibilities. Many of those alternate realities are terrible, many grand, and many, just as on the millions of days before them, unremarkable. Except as they are experienced by us quirky, crazy, individual beings. We have our own filters and will always know life’s ups and downs through those; even though our filters must change as we change-or-die in life, we will never cease to experience a filtered life as long as we do live. We find our own realities. We shape them and understand them as best we can, and we let our own compulsions and desires and beliefs keep pulling us into the new world of tomorrow, whether we get up at the blink of its dawn or lie somnolent well into the middle of the day.

I am no bird. But I can fly, too, despite my urge to sleep a very long time while nestled in my safe places, and despite my natural resistance to learning new and seemingly impossible things. And it doesn’t have to be before a certain hour of the clock for me to stretch my wings. Maybe I’m a bat. If so, that makes me the early one, I guess.

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Me, ‘flying’. Thanks to the filtered reality of a 777 flight simulator plus an *actual* pilot brother-in-law doing the real guidance while I attempt a second landing of it in ‘Memphis’. I didn’t crash it, but I do apologize about those blown tires; guess that’s just a consequence of my being such a latecomer to the whole flying thing. But it felt real, in its own way, and gave me a sense of both exhilarating and terrifying freedom and an even deeper appreciation for the people who make Flying Humans a reality in such amazing ways. Whoa, there! Gotta go lie down now.