Friday, December 7, 2018

We own a car...


We own a car. I know “American Normal” is to own at least one car, usually more. In fact, at this moment, we actually own two, though that will soon be rectified and is part of another story. But the fact is we have been rather happy with not owning a car for these past five years. When needed, we would rent a car for a day, weekend, or for a trip to see Daughters and families. We used one when we needed one, paid for it, and didn’t pay for having one around when it wasn’t being used. If we had owned a car it would have been hard to come up with a way to move the car as we wandered around. Even a small one wouldn’t fit on the deck, and trying to tow one behind Kintala would likely not work out very well. So we made do without. But now we need a car nearly every day as there is no public transportation that works with my new schedule.



I have a schedule. I know it is “American Normal” to have one’s life ruled by schedules. There are schedules for work, kids' soccer, church or other social obligations; people have self imposed schedules to catch sports games on TV or particular TV shows. Cruising “schedules” are a whole ‘nuther thing, spanning hurricane seasons and month long tide schedules. They shift and change; the schedule that worked northbound in the spring would bring nothing but trouble if tried southbound in the fall. On the boat, most of the time, if something caught my interest that kept me up most of the night, no problem. There was no alarm set for the morning and I could sleep as long as needed. But soon there will be a “schedule to keep,” though it is still likely to be different from most “land schedules.” 

Oddly enough, though airline passengers think of nothing but the schedule, and get rather irritated when a carrier doesn’t hold to the schedule, for people who actually work in the flying end of aviation “schedule” is a misnomer. Flying work comes at all hours of the day and night, everyday of the year. Some trips last a day, others two or three and, depending on the particular segment of aviation one is in, can run on for a week or more. In the training world that I am about to enter, the full motion sims (each of which cost in the millions of dollars range) normally work 20 hours a day, pretty much every day of the week. Since “flight time,” even in a sim, has daily limits set by regulation, it takes roughly two and a half instructors to ride herd on the crews training each day. Someone gets to head for work around 0300 in the A type M in order to crank up the sim at 0400. Someone else gets to shut the thing down at Midnight. The time slots shift so constantly that one of the questions during my official interview was if having a not-really-a-schedule schedule would be difficult for me. 

So my soon-to-be schedule-less schedule requires a car. And it turns out I’m not much of a city driver any more. In fact I’m not much of any kind of driver. I have turned in to that “old guy” who sets the cruise control at 5 over the speed limit and then goes about my business. Oh, I try to stay out of the “fast lane” so long as my exit doesn’t get off from that side. But if it does I’m not likely to speed up for the last mile or two just because the guy behind me is pounding on his steering wheel and shaking his fist at me. If I notice at all I’ll just wave back. Truth to tell though, I would rather try and get Kintala on a dock in a 3 knot cross current or cross the Gulf Stream on a dark and bumpy night, than tangle with Rt 40 through St. Louis at rush hour. I think doing the latter is far more hazardous. I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but some of these land dweller types are in an awful hurry for people who can’t drive very well. 

7 comments:

Unknown said...

Welcome back to the hood......Arrggg!!!

Kathy Mellembakken said...

Be safe in that STL traffic... some dangerous drivers out there. Welcome back!

Francis said...

Wow! That is probably one of the most nondescript cars ever produced. Were it not for the bow-tie on the hood, very few people could name that car. (An excellent car for surveillance work, if you ever find it necessary to tail someone.) For someone that pilots jet air craft, sails a medium performance sail boat, has ridden sport bikes… That you picked such a bland mode of transportation just cries out how much you detest this detour. It also demonstrates that you are truly unwilling to let this new job and living experience be anything but a detour. Letting go of that car should be easy when you transition back to a floating vessel.

TJ said...

Francis, I'm not sure I can name it now...its a car...a Datsun...a Toyota...a Mustang...a Buick. Four wheels and a seat. (And if you get that reference you are hinting at your age.) I don't quite gag at the thought of getting into the thing. The heat and radio work, though I'm already tired of the radio. It plays a song or two, then barfs an endless stream of obnoxious commercials my way...which causes me to turn it off...which usually means I forget about it until I get where I'm going. I really don't detest this detour. There are two daughters and 7 grand kids here that I adore, and the airplane I'm about to start teaching in is about as nondescript as one can play with...full fly-by-wire, auto throttles, all glass cockpit with the latest do-dads and gee-whiz. But I can't get myself to care about the car any more than I care about shoes. Necessary when living on land, but cumbersome and irritating. Yet they insist people wear shoes at work and it snows around here, so what are you going to do?

Jeffrey Michals-Brown said...

Put your local public radio station on the preset--that's what I'd do. Question: what would be your favorite (commercial passenger) aircraft to fly, and why?

TJ said...

Jeffery, sorry about the slow response. The CRJ-700 was likely my favorite pax airplane. All glass, pretty fast with a .825 mach high speed cruse, it was also the only airliner that I flew, so I'm likely prejudice. I have a lot of time in the Citation V and it is pretty near the bottom of the list of airplanes I ever want to see again; slow, stiff gear, completely inadequate air conditioning, with a cramped flight deck. A demo flight from St. Louis to Florida and back in a Gulfstream G150 was interesting, another demo in a Lear 60 was a rocket ride. Either one of those might have been fun. One of my best friends spent years in a Falcon and claims that is the only airplane that could lure him out of Flight Safety and back into the sky. Truth to tell I wouldn't be surprised if the Embraer Legacy 500, the airplane I'm about to tangle with, ends up at the top of my list. Full fly-by-wire, auto throttles, do-dads out the wazoo... Out in total never-going-to-happen land would be the Airbus 380, just because of the size. Oddly enough the one airplane I always had a "thing" for is the C-130 Herky Bird. The people that fly those things into hurricanes have the absolute best job on the planet.

Jeffrey Michals-Brown said...

No rush--thanks for taking the time! I'll have to look some of these aircraft up! I grew up near the flight path of Rhode Island's Air National Guard, and the C130Js would sometimes fly right over the house.