I mentioned my relationship with my oxygen mask. I have described before the nasal cannula method of supplementary oxygen, and trust me, having a drinking straw up each nose is preferable to having a plastic bag stuck over your face. I understand that if I stuck an ordinary plastic bag over my nose and mouth I would have passed out by now, so it must be supplying me with oxygen, but would anyone tell Transport Canada if I took the damned thing off and just breathed the rarefied mountain air? I wonder if this thing gives me force powers.
If I had blue skin, this is what I'd look like flying over the Colorado-Utah mountains wearing my oxygen mask. I don't really have blue skin: that would be a sign that I wasn't getting enough oxygen. (A co-worker tells me he once was on a flight with pilots who were trying to prove their manhood by flying over the Rockies without supplemental oxygen. he reports being unimpressed by their blue lips.) I don't know what vivid green hair is a sign of, but regular readers know that mine always comes out that way in posted pictures. Let me identify what you see on my head in the picture. The baseball cap (actually a feed cap) is dual function: the peak keeps the sun out of my eyes as I travel west in the evening or east in the morning and the headband serves to keep the sweat on my forehead from running down into my eyes. Sunglasses of course also protect my eyes from the glare, and also the high altitude ultraviolet. The headset protects my hearing from the constant noise of the engines and allows me to hear the radio, and the iPod when it's on. I left it off for most of this trip. Terri Clark wasn't working her usual magic on me. My nose and mouth are covered by the lovely and hated oxygen mask, held on with elastic straps, and in front of that you can see the boom mic from my headset, augmented by a light which I can control with my lip. Well, I can control with my lip when I'm not wearing an oxygen mask. The O2 mask has a rebreather bag, so you can gulp the same oxygen enough times to actually use it, and a tube connecting it to the oxygen supply in the ceiling. And of course there's my luxurious green hair.
I don't want to force this irritating contraption on others. In Canada, oxygen must be available to all passengers at pressure altitudes over 13,000', but the passengers are not required to use it. I check out the FARs to see what the local rules are. I must comply with whichever is the more conservative. It seems that in the US all persons must use oxygen for the entire period of flight above 15,000'. It looks like I brief everyone on oxygen, let them know it's available over 13,000' and then tell them to wear it over 15,000'. But I'm not going to turn around to check if they are complying.