If you’re happy and you know it, be a pilot

On the airplane, finally. Not really nervous at all right now. Flying to Phoenix in the late afternoon, directly into the sun. I don’t know how pilots do that. Are the windshields like “Transitions” lenses? I mean, when I drive and the sun is in my eyes, sometimes I’ll end up with tears streaming down my face as I try to read the road signs and stay straight in my lane. And this is with sunglasses on. Pilots don’t really have the option of flying into shade, at least not when the plane is above the clouds. But the airplanes must have something to stop that. Four hours flying into the sunset every day would make someone go blind pretty quick.

Something else interesting about pilots and flight attendants. I’m not sure what made me notice this, but I think it’s that new Pan Am teevee show that’s coming out. But whenever you pass a flight attendant or a pilot in the airport, they are smiling like they just won Publisher’s Clearing House and then had dinner with the President, who gave them each a million dollar beach house after dinner. I was standing in this ridiculously long line for security, and a gang of airline employees walked by. They walked by this mile-long line of us miserable people, and just smiled and laughed the whole time. It must be part of their contract. (And, if you’re a pilot, also having a mustache must be part of the contract too.)

And it’s true I guess, nobody wants to get on a plane knowing their pilot is grumpy. I think being a flight attendant might be fun, but it would get pretty tiring. Not just the smiling I mean, the job. I remember one flight attendant awhile back saying, “Enjoy your stay in Chicago,” when we had just landed in Philadelphia. A passenger called her on it and she had laughed, embarrassed. “Oops, you’re right, I was in Chicago this morning.” Our flight had departed from St. Louis. I know I wouldn’t be able to keep all the airports straight.

On the flight from Phoenix to Albuquerque (an hour long), the flight attendant was HILARIOUS. “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to US Airways flight to Albuquerque. If that’s not where you were headed, too bad. The doors are closed and we’re pulling away from the gate.” “The overhead lights will now be dimmed until we have reached our cruising altitude; this is to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants. The lovely Denise needs no such assistance, but I sure do.” The entire safety presentation was so hilarious, I wish I had a recording of it. It was refreshing and props to the flight attendant for making what must be a rather tedious job a little more interesting for her!

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