Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Glass Half Empty?


Life & our perception of it


grassrootsI’ve been pacing around this semi-dark room, struggling for the words I want to put on this electronic page. This is the first time this has happened in decades. Usually, I just sit down and the words flow. During the week, something happens where part of my mind says, “Yeah, they’d like hearing about that.” But tonight, I’m struggling, and I only just now figured out why: I’m entirely too fixated on the “what ifs” of the new economic era we’re stumbling into. I’m not sure which is worse, the situation or the fact that I’m fixated on it.
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grassroots
ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE. Times may be tough, but down doesn’t mean out. For example, Budd Davisson still flies his Pitts S2A regularly and is able to share his love of aviation with others.
I’ve been pacing around this semi-dark room, struggling for the words I want to put on this electronic page. This is the first time this has happened in decades. Usually, I just sit down and the words flow. During the week, something happens where part of my mind says, “Yeah, they’d like hearing about that.” But tonight, I’m struggling, and I only just now figured out why: I’m entirely too fixated on the “what ifs” of the new economic era we’re stumbling into. I’m not sure which is worse, the situation or the fact that I’m fixated on it.

I tend to see too much of life in an aviation framework. At least that’s what I tell my kids; they’re constantly grumbling about how I’m a born-again pessimist. I point out that every single time the throttle goes forward, I assume the engine’s going to quit—that’s not pessimism, that’s common sense. I’m putting myself in a mind-set that no matter what happens, I’m ready for it. When I start applying the same thought patterns to the worldwide situation at hand, however, I come off looking like a survivalist, or something close to it. Which, I suppose to a certain degree, I am. And frankly, I don’t like it. Looking around, I’m not sure, but I think the reason I see things this way is because of the “glass half empty” attitude dominating the news. If I didn’t watch the news and just evaluated life by what I see around me, I don’t think I’d be quite so nuts.

Yes, the first two months of the year were really slow in my little flight school—much slower than normal. But then March came along and was, by a fair margin, the busiest month I had ever experienced (pushing 70 hours), so the first quarter was at least as good as it was last year, which was a pretty good year. I did so much flying in March that I began to have dreams about keeping it on the centerline. I’d wake up in the middle of the night trying to calculate how many flying hours remained until the next oil change, because I was doing them every 10 days or so. It was nuts! But a good kind of nuts. I’d be lying if I said the job losses don’t bother me. Both of my stepsons are out of work. A good friend is out of work. The situation definitely isn’t good. But even if unemployment rips past 10%, we have to flip that statistic over and look at it from another angle: It’s another way of saying that 90% of people are still working. And a bunch are still flying, too.




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