i like my boyfriend and airplanes and that’s about it
Where It’s Always Green
Little hands grab at the half-empty box of orange juice, and I can’t catch it this time. Katie’s eyes meet mine. My hand goes to my temple. All my frustration slips out in a sigh I can’t hold back, and then come the tears. She lost a game I never play willingly, a game she’s never lost before. Looks like this is the end of normal.
So You Want to Be a Pilot.
So you want to be a pilot. Maybe someone inspiring in your family is a pilot. Maybe you’re a trust fund baby with nothing better to do. Maybe you just like airplanes. Navigating the aviation world as a rookie is tough no matter who you are, so I’m here to tell you everything an instructor won’t.
my wingtips golden in the glow of dawn i turn my sleepy head toward the light a lustrous crown upon the mountains' brawn smothering the last echoes of night.
The Wild West Desert
The beginning of the apocalypse—toilet paper and bottled water absent from the shelves; schools and gyms and restaurants closing indefinitely; hospitals overflowing with sick people. Neighbors and friends are terrified. People have to stand six feet apart or risk death. And then, in the middle of everything, an earthquake. It shook me awake at about 7:00 AM on a rainy day in March, and I thought the world really would end. Maybe the Mormons had been right all along.
The History of Air Traffic Control
Aviation is a young industry, and changes come from necessity. In 1929 at Missouri’s Lambert Field, where the first air traffic controller worked, they needed someone to keep airplanes from colliding. Archie W. League had a simple setup compared to today’s technology—a checkered flag to tell pilots they could land and a red flag to tell them they couldn’t. His other equipment included, according to the FAA, a “wheelbarrow, chair, umbrella, notepad, water and lunch” (First Air Traffic Controller Remembered). While the FAA doesn’t specify whether pilots behaved badly on purpose or due to a lack of situational awareness, they go onto say that “Pilots buzzed the umbrella with their planes to try to knock it over” (First Air Traffic Controller Remembered). League also remarked, “It took a while to educate some pilots. Several times my deck chair near the end of the runway that was knocked over by planes that strayed from the proper path” (First Air Traffic Controller Remembered). League’s job marks the beginning of the structure known today in the aviation industry.
The Power of Pin Curls
Everyone knows her. Marilyn Monroe is an icon, a standard of beauty from a bygone era. Today’s Instagram-worthy high pony tails and long waves have never appealed to me like the glamorous coiffures of the last century. Not because I don’t like them; I just don’t think I have the face for them. On the other hand, anyone could wear this style well, and ladies of the era were rarely seen without it. If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m talking about pin curls: my absolute favorite way to wear my hair.
The Futures of Giants
“If it ain’t Boeing, I’m not going.” While the phrase is mildly funny and implies that someone might have learned something about airplanes at some point, the truth is, most travelers don’t care what kind of airplane takes them to their respective destinations (unless it’s a 737 Max or DC-10, in which case they become experts). Economy travelers buy the cheapest ticket, but more happens internally, and the market is much more complicated, than most of them realize.
The Soviets Had a Sense of Humor Too
Making my Russian professor laugh is not easy, which means making jokes in class is a gamble. Russians are notoriously serious, especially Russians who grew up in the Soviet Union. Last week, we were discussing illness, the vocabulary used to communicate with doctors, and how to describe symptoms. When it came time to play the doctor and pretend to ask the imaginary patient questions, I asked, “У вас завещание?” (Do you have a will?) It was a dumb joke, but I’ve never heard her laugh harder.