Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Wanna Build...

Sometimes, the dream is more valuable than the reality

All of us have curious habits that we'd just as soon have no one know about. Some are gross. Some are endearing. Most aren't. One of mine, which tempts some folks to call the guys in white coats carrying nets, is that I talk to myself. Out loud. And certain phrases tend to repeat themselves at predicable times. Others just pop out of nowhere for no particular reason. Those are the ones I worry about.

When I've made a particularly bad landing, which happens more often than I wish, my student is likely to hear me say, "And for my next stupid-people trick...," over the intercom. I do the same thing in the workshop, although there the trickle of blood generally points out that this time, I really did do something stupid.

Another phrase that I'll blurt out is, "Damn, Budd, that was really stupid." This is almost always while I'm attempting to demonstrate something to a student, my wife or to the universe in general, but failing miserably. Those are the "do as I say, not as I do" moments.

One phrase, however, that often escapes from my mouth totally unannounced (thankfully, only when I'm alone) is very hard, almost explosive declarative statement, "I wanna build an airplane." That happens a couple of times a week, when I least expect it. However, I don't have a driving urge to build an airplane, but apparently, I'm not seeing something that's crouching in a corner of my subconscious.

There's a large segment of society, probably many reading these words, who, without knowing it, are compulsive builders. They're really only alive when they're either in a cockpit or sitting in their workshops building something. Anything. When on the ground, they're at their happiest when sawdust or sparks are flying.

Further, just as there's that moment when you slide into a cockpit and sit there for a moment, letting your mind and body assume the identity of "pilot," the same thing happens to some folks when walking into their workshop. The lights come on, the worn workshop radio begins playing tunes from the designated workshop station (in my case a classic, hard-rock station) and there's a settling of the soul. You are, for that moment, just as when settling into the cockpit, exactly where you want to be. Where you should be.

A lot of the born-to-be-pilot types that I know are also of the born-to-build persuasion. They can't stop themselves. They're infected with what I call the Geppetto Syndrome: They just love making toys, both large and small. I fall very much into that category. And I'm assuming that's where the impulsive/compulsive comment, "I wanna build an airplane," is rooted. Even though I'm building a lot of stuff (and finishing very little), some part of me thinks I should be building an airplane. And the conscious part of me doesn't totally disagree. However…


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