Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Truth Behind The Lie

Apparently I'm not a very good liar.  Most people were spot on that I had not, in fact, taken third place in the Seventh Annual Coconut Scramble.  To my knowledge there is no Coconut Scramble.  But shouldn't there be?

The rest was true.  I am a loud ice chewer and walk like a duck.  At least I used to.  Not with a waddle or anything, but my toes have always pointed out.  This actually turned out to be a legitimate ailment, which has been treated and has had pleasant side effects.  It has not, however, curbed my need for incessant foot tapping, often when the music is only in my head.

Fun Story:

For my first airline job I was based at Washington National, just across the river from D.C., an airport steeped in paranoia in the days after 9/11.  Back then, there were all kinds of security procedures in place to create the illusion of safety.  One of the safety protocols was the use of a secret code word the pilots had to provide before entering Washington's airspace.  This was rather silly because any bad guy with a radio only had to listen to all the pilots saying the same random word unrelated to anything else in the transmission.

Fun Story within a Fun Story:
The secret word changed every day, and was provided to the captain, who would then tell the first officer.  One day the word was frog.
Fun Story within a Fun Story within a Fun Story:
I used to fly with a guy from the tiny African nation, Eritrea.  His English was impeccable, but I learned he did not have a handle on homonyms.  If the word was 'horse' for example, I would write it down as 'hoarse.'  He would freak out that I was going to say the wrong word, and we might have to divert. Because...
The captain told the first officer the word was frog.  The first officer responded, "Dog?" and the captain said, "No.  Frog.  You know, ribbet."  When it came time to enter the airspace and say the word, the first officer said, "Ribbet," and they had to divert.
So you can see how tense it can get.  Well, I was brand new and tapping my foot to the soundtrack in my head.  At about 500 feet as we were about to land we encountered windshear, a sudden burst of wind that can be quite hazardous when close to the ground.  It's something we train for extensively, and since I was fresh out of training, assumed it must happen all the time.  Not so much.  We aborted the landing and climbed to a safe altitude, avoiding all the monuments we're not supposed to fly over, all the while my foot kept tapping.  Somewhere in the middle of it all, the captain, who was flying the airplane, yelled at me to stop tapping my damn foot because it was making him nervous.  Not the windshear that could have killed us.

But for that moment, he was unforgettable.  Unlike the guy in my next post...

6 comments:

Faith said...

Haha... and now I'm eager to hear what happens in your next post!!!

Jeanne said...

Nice hook! Ribet!

Deniz Bevan said...

Great triple story! And yes, there should be a coconut scramble [g]
Passed you an award, fellow crusader! http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2011/02/passing-on-awards-and-passing-on.html

Angela Scott said...

There should be a coconut scramble, not sure what it would be exactly, but it sounds fun enough.

I like your stories within a story. That's pretty much how my natural conversations go. My husband is always saying, get to the point. But I have so much to say and sometimes one thing leads me to another and so on. So now I must read your next post. You have me curious.

I took a break from crusading to do some writing, but now I'm back on board. Nice to meet ya.

Angela Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted Cross said...

I've never liked flying into Washington National. I always try to get Dulles if I can, even though it's not a nice airport either.