Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Travel Adventures...

Hi G--, It sounds like spring is affecting you with its positive vibes. I've gotten so old that winter lasts about a week and so doesn't do the damage it used to with its endless cold days. Global Warming has some effect, too, I'm sure ... it's not as cold as it used to be. Thanks for the picture of the ambassador. He looks exactly as I pictured; a real gentleman ... one who appreciates traditions. There's a comfort in maintaining the thread of all that came before while one is fighting for mega-changes. Did I tell you I sailed the ship in Master & Commander? She was HMS Rose before becoming a movie star with a Hollywood name. She's now called "Surprise" in keeping with the novels and the movie. Maybe Nicole Kidman should have changed her legal name to "Virginia Wolfe" after playing her in the movie "The Hours." Oh, well, "Surprise" will attract more visitors in her new home in San Diego's Maritime Museum. I'm in town here for just a couple of days before heading back for another bout with The Corporation. Talk about tearing down traditions! Everyone seems intent upon pulling us down to the level of Wal-Mart; managers and employees alike! Frankly, I find it depressing. Now the pilots are all excited about their leather jacket option. The subliminal message they're not getting from this Trojan Horse is: "Look like a bush pilot ... get paid like a bush pilot." Hey, we'll look just like a WWII fighter pilot when we climb to the upper deck of our 747-400! Pretty cool! Now, if I only had enough money to buy a meal on the lay-over... I don't get it; why do these guys want to "play-act" like they're P-51 Mustang pilots when they're actually FOR REAL AIRLINE PILOTS at the very top (for awhile, anyway) of the aviation food chain? If it keeps up like this upon retirement I'll turn my back upon the industry and never look back. I'll be the one out in the harbor, my boat surrounded by a cloud of smoke. Enough ranting from me. Things are going along pretty quiet. The book you're reading sounds good. My reading lately has been largely fruitless. Talk to you later, my friend! Russ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Russ... I gave some thought to your pilot concerns. Is the bomber jacket cutting across all age lines? Because I have a hard time seeing the older venerable pilots donning that thing. It would look like a pathetic mid-life crisis...whereas the traditional uniform conveys, well, TRADITION. (And always make sure to wear the hat while on the concourse, dammit...)The bomber jacket looks like something a mid-life crisis forty-something baby-boomer would want. You know...the type of person who's seen TOP GUN forty times...Also, I think the younger pilots might dig it as well...Truth to tell, I LIKE the look...but you're right...It doesn't convey AIRLINE PILOT. It conveys rakish rogue bush pilot adventurer a la Tales of The Gold Monkey. (Played by the dude who got sucked up by V'GER at the conclusion of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE...see, there's ALWAYS a link to TREK...) You adventure on the ship was most enjoyable to read about. I can picture you on the bow(did I get that right?), chest puffed out, looking out beyond the sea, communing with the Captains of years past, that deep inscrutable reflection that only a fellow Captain and leader of men can understand. That whole Hollywood influence is not isolated to Master and Commander, I'm sure you realize. I remember visiting Stirling, Scotland WAAAAAAY before BRAVEHEART was filmed. Nice innocuous little town PAACKED with history. NOW you go there and there's this HONKING huge sign proclaiming that place to be the birthplace of William Wallace and don't you think the rendition looks suspiciously like a long-haired Mel Gibson. (Not quite the Road Warrior, but a warrior, nonetheless...) Same with LOCAL HERO, filmed on two coasts in Scotland. The Aberdeenshire town of PENNAN has the famous red-telephone booth and the village street where most of the scenes were shot. Naturally, the pub there sells various movie souvenirs. Movies and television can create a tourist market like no other. Look at the tours being conducted around the Louvre based around THE DA VINCI CODE. I would be SO embarrassed to see Americans asking questions as if the novel itself were secret scripture...If I were a snotty European, I'd be, "Oh look...Ze Americans haff learned to READ! How inspiring..." I should be returning from my second AMS in a row but at the eleventh hour, I was pulled off the trip by scheduling because a colleague on an outgoing domestic flight had pulled her back out during boarding. So instead of AMS, I went on a two day Tampa. And the AMS crew went out with SIX people on a full A330. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the ceiling over the schedulers' cubicles when they're scrambling to meet crew rosters? Must be a madhouse. With each flight, I'm working toward achieving that state of serene detachment where NOTHING will affect me. Snide comments, pokes to the back, stressful work conditions...I believe I'm getting there through sheer force of will but there's ALWAYS room for improvement. I'm not quite there yet...I still have my hot buttons. But I would like to get to the point where keeping my mouth shut and my pond-surface as smooth as glass(Not stagnant)is as effortless as breathing. It's almost a relief when another flight attendant gets threatened with a bad comment card. For ONCE, I'M not center of the conflict. Yesterday, that happened with a co-worker with this strung-out drama-queen passenger from Tampa. She was passive-aggressively trying to guilt ME because we did the service during her bathroom break and I was all cheerfully coy. "That's okay! That happens to a LOT of people! Live and learn!" But then she gave my collegue some grief and she stood up for herself. And for her dignity, the goon asks for a comment card. But I still want to be...calmer... Okay. It's too beautiful of a day to stay indoors. My windows are thrown open letting the fresh spring air in. Time to shower and get OUT there... Hope you are well my friend. A proud military salute your way, Captain...Talk soon...GaP

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