Thursday, October 29, 2009

TWO GUYS IN THE COCKPIT

Here's the Associated Press latest report.

For 91 minutes, pilot Cole, 54, with 11,000 hours of experience, was using his personal laptop computer to teach pilot Cheney, 53, with 20,000 hours of experience, how to use the new software on his laptop, so that they could figure out the new crew scheduling system at Northwest Airlines.

Was it an extremely complicated schedule? Were the hours on Pacific time and they're on Eastern? Did the laptop hard drive crash, and they had to restore it? Is that why they were out of contact with air traffic control for more than an hour and flew 150 miles beyond their destination?

I find that hard to believe -- no -- impossible to believe.

How could they ignore the voices on their cockpit radio and not notice the autopilot's electronic display specifying that it had run out of instructions?

Zoom -- my mind like an arrow hits the bull's-eye -- were they having sex?

I work on a computer all day long. Concentration comes and goes -- 10, 20 minute spurts -- I hear honking horns, heat hissing in the radiator -- I am never utterly totally concentrated for 90 minutes at a stretch.

I guess the pilots can't tell us what they were doing, because they might get sued by the 144 passengers, and 3 other crew members on the plane.

This latest, newest, perturbing story, brings to mind stories of texting drivers, and that connects in my mind to the drunk drivers.

How can any person decide to text while they're driving? Is it stupidity? Is it teenage foolishness? Is it too much T V-- too much WAR, terrorists, fear of the end of the world? There's a jelly-like shapelessness in a texter, in a drunk driver, a disconnect from what life is, what it means, and how to live it.

Okay! I understand -- terror is everywhere -- money, safety, security, health, current and potential new wars -- people attacking and murdering people, no morality -- no walls, no limits, no rules. Even if the rules are vaguely there, too many people are pushing, shoving them away, wriggling around the boundaries.

Is that what's happening to us? Is it a flu? What is this flu -- the IRF -- the Irresponsibility, Flake Out virus?

I'm thinking of the wave of drunk, drugged-out mothers crashing their cars, mindlessly transporting kids without seat belts, driving the wrong way, losing control on the Taconic, on the Westside Highway, and in Queens. I thinking of Serena in September so blindly enraged, and Glenn Beck on the cover of Time Magazine, tongue sticking out like a nasty, bad boy, giving us the raspberries -- saying pfft to the world.

ME -- MYSELF -- I --that seems to be the number one priority -- do whatever you want to do, at the moment you want to do it, or need to do it, and the hell with the consequences!

Pay attention, Em -- that's all I can think to do. Pay attention to the shapeless jelly people, old or young. Talk to them --look them strongly in the eyes -- let them know you see who they are.

The pilots were centered, focused, intelligently ambitious when they were kids --that's still in them. Maybe their sense of themselves got lost on the way to educating themselves and achieving what they achieved.

They forgot to who they are. Maybe this hullaballo will help them remember.

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