Saturday, March 20, 2010

Highway to the DangerZone

Today I flew a plane. Like a real airplane that goes into the sky and has people in it.

My instructor, David, looks like Jude Law's less balding but more Russian killy-like younger brother. Except I couldn't pinpoint exactly who it was that he resembled, so I spent the entire briefing (which, by the way, was done with a plastic airplane toy and a map. Like.. thanks. No one is safe.) trying to figure it out. When he notices I am not paying attention, he politely stops and stares until I bring myself back. But then he goes on talk about yolks! I haven't eaten one thing today and I'm starving, so now the only thing I can concentrate on is a goat cheese/portobello omelette.

So when he stands up and asks if we are ready, my only two choices are:

1. Reveal that I'm sorry but I've already forgotten every single word that he said and look like an idiot. Is this even an option? Please.

2. Pretend like I just learned how to fly a plane by looking at a plastic toy moving around a map and risk everyone's lives.

Obviously I choose the latter, because it's just me, Marty and Jude Jr. and I don't even know that guy. Plus, I had made arrangements for someone to check on Taiko if we hadn't returned by afternoon. I'm very diligent.

Right away I know I'm in over my head when Jude says, "Okay, here is the fire extinguisher. I'll assume you both know how to use a fire extinguisher and I don't have to go over it with you?" I nod, but the minute he turns around my nod becomes a frantic negative head shake at Marty, who rolls his eyes and says it's fine. I have no idea how to use a fire extinguisher, but if Marty says it's fine than that means he'll save us if there is a fire and there's no need for me to know. LA LA LA LA LA

He asks who wants to go first and although I usually want to go first all the time and bulldoze my way to the front of the line, I beg Marty to go, thinking that maybe I can sneak some peeks and cheat my way through plane flying.

In my fantastical mishmashed cerebellum, I imagine the plane to be extremely spacious, with all of us being able to sit in the cockpit and have drinks, laughing over velocity jokes.

Apparently, I was not very thorough with my researching and this turns out to the plane:

Yeah, there will be no sneak peeking here. I can't even see one thing they're doing from the back seat! Ok, that's a lie. I'm sure I could have seen what Jude Jr. was showing Marty, but we were flying over Lake Ontario and it was so pretty that I forgot that I had to fly in 30 minutes.

Marty got to fly right by the CN Tower! Look how close he is!

When I realize that we are about to land, my sense of dread returns. Like seriously, I have to fly a plane. Imagine you had to fly a plane. That's pretty much what it was like; I'm a very normal person.

When we do land, we get to hang out on land for only 5 minutes! 5 MINUTES before I have to reboard, but this time sit in the front seat and fly this mechanical beast.

The plus side is I get to wear this amazing headset:

But it's also very distracting, because the two things I am thinking now are:

1. I must CONFESS!! That my LONELINESS!! Is killing me NOOOoooOOoooW, don't you know I still believe? That you will be here... and give me a siiiiIIiiiIign. HIT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME!

2. That Marty and Jude can hear me breathing through the headset, so I stop breathing, taking in precious droplets of oxygen only to confirm that yes, Jude, I'm clear on how to fucking take off, okay? (But I'm not at all.) I might actually pass out from lack of air and nerves, but I can't have this stranger thinking I'm a mouth breather.

While my brain is working overtime trying to figure out how I can breathe extra quietly, this is going on in front of me:


BEEP BOP BOOP BLIP BLIP DOOP PAP DING! "Golf, Golf, Poppa, Qu├ębec - do you copy?" BEEP BEEP BAP BOOP BIP BOP BAP!





Through strategically-placed furrowed brows and knowing nods, I manage to convince Jude that I know what I'm doing through trickery. He murmurs his approval when I level off, complete my turns and complete the altitude exercises, but I can see he has his white-knuckled hands on the equipment at all times.

By the time we are ready to descend, I'm thinking about how I can casually throw up out the window we are not allowed to open without anyone noticing. I've thrown up casually numerous times before, sometimes in the middle of serious conversations. You just keep on, man, you just keep on.

Jude is trying to get me to land this MoFo and I really have not even the slightest clue as to where to start. I tell him I'm not feeling well. He asks me if I'm sure (it's hard to tell, because I look very beautiful.) He eventually lands the plane because I refuse to touch anything anymore and I'm just staring out the window in response, while our plane plummets towards the airport and we are getting dispatched repeatedly to veer to the left.

All in all, it was a fun day. Marty decided to go forward with his pilot license and I will happily ride as a passenger from now on.

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