I'm going to get some time now, that's time out as in time off, down south, not as in sitting in the corner because I didn't share my toys. So I'm starting to gather up my scattered belongings, repacking everything that I won't be using for sure in the next day or so, finishing up my food, and organizing my stuff into "carry-on" versus "checked" instead of "flight bag" versus "hotel room." I'm also half listening to the TV.
There's a comedy piece delivered by a guy in a an airline captain's uniform. He's riffing on Captain Sullenberger's Hudson River Airbus landing. "You know what a great pilot would have done? Not hit the birds! That's what I do every day. Where's my ticket to the Grammies?" This makes me laugh because I had a boss once who flew with one of my students and during the flight they ran out of gas. The subsequent forced landing in a field was uneventful and the student impressed by that said boss had demonstrated a great feat of airmanship. The airmanship involved in my not ever running out of gas wasn't nearly as impressive. Plus it's funny to imagine making evasive maneuvres against birds in an Airbus.
The next shift of pilots arrive and we all go out for dinner to catch each other up on our lives and the idiosyncrasies of the airplane. And to put things in our stomachs that our bodies will convert into energy. And of course to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Between periods of the hockey game, the topic came up of who should be the next Governor-General. Although we're all working on the same project, the only thing our whole group has in common is that we are Canadians. Together we're from all different regions of the country, have probably voted for almost every party large enough to get its deposit back, and have different educational levels and religious backgrounds. We must have gone through fifty potential candidates, some joking, some serious. We need someone with public speaking ability and a statesmanlike presence, a strong pride in and knowledge of Canada, a love of people and an ability to relate to them, and enough backbone not to let the Prime Minister push him or her around.
Don Cherry? Would instigate fights instead of mediating them. Michael J. Fox? Has to be able to sign his name. David Suzuki? Eugenics. Conrad Black? Is he out of jail yet? Wayne Gretzky? Sam Sullivan? Ralph Klein? Brian Tobin? Reba McEntire? William Shatner has been put forward as a candidate, but while he basks in attention, he's not the kind of guy who's going to sit down and eat raw seal blubber. The guy won't even eat fruit salad. But his speech from the throne would be fun to watch.
We found two perfect candidates. The first, Pierre Berton, is sadly disqualified on account of being dead. He would have made an amazing G-G. The second may be too young, but I'd love to see him in the job and that's Rick Mercer. Failing that, we'd settle for Marg Delahunty.
Non-Canadians may skip all that and just nod their heads sagely in acknowledgment that foreign countries have politics and public figures of whom they know little about.
One of the replacement pilots asks me, "What's your morning routine?"
Weird question, but he doesn't read the blog, so how would he know. "Uh, I turn off the alarm clock, get out of bed, do my morning exercises, get dressed, nuke my oatmeal ..."
"Oh! I meet at seven at [client]'s truck."
Good folks, good conversation. I couldn't decide between dessert and a dessert coffee so with very little encouragement from my tablemates bought both. And then one of the other pilots bought the rest of us pilots dinner, in gratitude for agreeing to a schedule revised in his favour. All I'd asked for accepting the revvision was that he listen graciously to my whining if I had to spend six consecutive weeks in Fort Nelson.
Next morning, two of us got in the rental car and drove homewards.