Thursday, October 23, 2008

New things

It will be a short weekend on the boat, just tomorrow evening and Saturday. I have to be home Saturday night for an early morning get-up-and-go Sunday to do the second half of a contract trip I started today. We took a Citation Ultra to FL, left it and airlined it home. Sunday we do the reverse. (By we I mean myself and Jon who manages the airplane for a family. He uses all contract pilots for now. The Citation is new to him so he wanted to fly with some people who have time in the airplane before he hires on a permanent FO.)

Anyway, the Citation Ultra is a later model of the Citation I fly for the Isle, with bigger engines and a glass cockpit (somewhat like the one in the airliner I flew). It was a chance to try a new thing, fly with a new person, and see a different airplane. Most fun (beside flying with Jon who is a good guy) was being back in a glass cockpit. Details would bore a non-pilot to tears (and be hard to explain) but trust me, there is a huge difference in the old way we did things in the front end of airplanes and the new ways we do them now.

Nomad is old technology (as I've mentioned before). Even for a sailboat she is "traditional" without any of the "good stuff" now around for controlling sails. But it is all still kind of new to me and new things are what keeps life interesting. Not "new things" so much as in stuff you buy. (Though that can be fun too as evidenced by the new motorcycles that show up in my garage once in a while!) Rather new things as in things you experience and things you learn. They stretch the brain a little, work different muscles, make for different thoughts, shed a new light on something. Try the new thing in an environment that may be a bit of a challenge, like an airplane nose deep in the clouds doing 400 mph (Now where was that button for setting a new altitude?) or a boat banging through building waves (How was it I slow this thing down?) and there is a new emphasis on getting it right.

For example, I have always thought of myself as an independent sort of person. (I know, all us left wingers are supposed to be socialists and expect someone else to take care of us. But that's a whole different discussion for some other kind of blog.) But when I start thinking about living on a sailboat and (perhaps) doing some blue water cruising well, that is independence on a completely new plain. The "new thing" of learning some "old technology" has forced a new perspective on ideas like independence, responsibility, self reliance and being competent.

All of us have a perspective that is a mix of what we are and experience; pilot, parent, (grand parent!) believer, (or not), conservative, Libertarian, fisherman, motorcycle rider, musician, writer, mountain climber... a mix that makes each of us a little different from all the others. Different even while we share some pretty basic things. (Like human and US citizen.) The trick (maybe) is to not let perspectives set like concrete. To stir them around a little once in a while, look at what we think we know from some other angle.

To learn a new thing.

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