Monday, August 28, 2006
Today. Wake up at 4am. Whimper quietly. Shower. At 5am, report to the Landmark at the north end of Pearson. Get the plane ready. Fly to Atlanta, Georgia. Listen to Tool and Stevie Ray Vaughn while watching the earth rotate. Realize my job is pretty nifty. Land in Atlanta, grease the landing. Taxi into the Signature FBO there to clear customs. Leave 3 minutes later, after being charged a $275 handling fee despite not using any of their services. Lay 6 different curses on the money-grubbing bastards, then depart. Fly to Panama City, Florida. Land in Panama City, not such a great landing. It's 33 degrees outside, dewpoint is 32. Sweat profusely. Deal with the semi-retarded FBO person who takes 10 minutes to swipe the fuel card, finally figuring out that the magnetic strip was the wrong way - and this person operates that machine daily. Borrow the courtesy vehicle - it's a Cadillac with chrome rims and a radio that only tunes to a rap music station. Crank the volume and pretend to be a gangsta. Go to a local grocery store for sandwiches and snacks, get some submarine sandwiches from a guy with a shaved head and 3 lips rings. He's wearing a hair-net. Wonder if making bald people wear hair nets is a subtle form of discrimination. Passengers arrive an hour early, scramble to get the plane ready and it all comes together just in time. New passenger has a lazy eye, but it's not a crossed eye, it looks outward, like a chameleon. Tell him the safety briefing while looking at the floor. Fly to Grenada, Mississippi. Land, grease the landing. It's 32 degrees outside, dewpoint is 32. Sweat even more. Think about bringing a towel for the next trip. Land and talk to the airport guy who is clearly lonely, and unfortunately very boring. He pulls out an atlas and tells me every place he has visited, and what the land is like there "Oregon, now that's a nice place. And California is nice. And the woods in Kentucky are nice. Maine is nice." I pray for the angel of death to come down and give one of us (him or myself, after a while it doesn't matter) sweet, sweet release. Passengers arrive a half-hour late. Load up and fly from Mississipi to Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Dodge thunderstorms for the first 500 miles, then drink a Red Bull so I'm awake for the landing, 12 hours into the day. Land. Nothing special w. the landing, neither great nor poor. Turn off the AC and exit the plane. It's cooler here, only 31 with a dewpoint of 26. Soak through my shirt in seconds while unloading the pax baggage. Decide to definitely bring along a towel on the next trip. Put the plane to bed. I add a quart of oil to each engine, and spill a whole pile down the front of my shirt, which blends with my sweat to create an unholy marinade. Call a cab and check into the Hampton Inn. Wander across the street to Ruby Tuesdays, order a beer, some ribs, and another beer. Eat and drink it all in 15 minutes. Waddle back to the hotel and write this, just before bed. It was a long day, but a good day. the baby jet behaved, and nobody got scared. More tomorrow.