I'm on my way to work. The coffee should be cool enough to drink right now, but I have put the lid on the travel coffee mug backwards, so it's hard to drink. I try to fix that, which results in my spilling coffee all over myself. At least I can verify that it is now not too hot to put in contact with my lips. I stand up and shake some of the liquid off my jacket, but that doesn't do anything about the part that is all over the front of my pants. An observer with a poor sense of smell and an imperfect grasp of female biology might think I have wet myself. I could change into one of the other pairs of pants in my suitcase before I check it in for departure, but then all my luggage would become coffee scented. I'm not in uniform, so have no one in particular to impress. I'm not worried about horrifying the biology impaired. In fact, horrifying the biology impaired could be legitimately listed as a hobby of mine. I decide to run with Mark Twain's live toad theory and look forward to the rest of my day.
Boarding the flight there's someone ahead of me in the jetway, also not in uniform, but his luggage includes a familiar rectangular leather case with B737 stickers on it, so it's pretty obvious where he works. The case has been almost completely destroyed through use, with giant holes in the bottom. I comment on its state of dilapidation and the pilot says he bought it eight years ago to celebrate his upgrade. By the look of it, the reasonable lifespan of a pilot brain box is about five years. I thought they'd last longer. I used to think that the very young guys with tattered cases were toting hand-me-downs.
I have one, as a result of it being abandoned at an office I worked in once, and me being the only one patient enough to pick the combination lock. I don't use it at work because I don't have the cockpit space for it, and I prefer a bag with a zillion pockets so I know where to find everything. We keep the charts on board the airplanes.
During the flight I complete my company annual exams, verifying that I still know things like how to operate the emergency exits, how to extend the gear if the regular method fails and what types of deicing fluid are appropriate for my airplane. Coffee wouldn't be a good idea, but there is some flexibility.
In the following report, the flight crew of a U.S. air carrier landed at a Russian airport on a scheduled flight only to find that ice had formed on the upper surfaces of the wings due to fuel cold-soak. Perhaps because it was June, the Russian ground crew didn't have deicing fluids available -- but they did have another kind of solution -- and it worked to Absolut Perfection. The Captain's story: "...upper wing ice formed due to fuel cold-soak. No glycol at airport... [Airport] possessed no fluid as well...So, had Russian ground crew spray wings with hot water, then immediately sprayed 25 bottles of Russian vodka on top of wings...[with] garden sprayer. Wings were subsequently checked, they were clear of ice. Normal takeoff."
At destination I meet with my chief pilot and we go over my exams. I've specified the wrong position for the fuel to tee off from the fuel system to the heater, I've chosen the less perfect answer to a question on why we don't use pure glycol, and I didn't have a list of the specific operational specifications my company has. Op specs are deviations from the CARs (Canadian Aviation Regulations), approved specifically for individual companies. For example we have one that allows me to work a fifteen hour duty day instead of the regular fourteen.
When I studied for my commercial pilot written exam, back in the ancient times of the 20th century, I noticed that almost every rule that governed commercial flying concluded with "unless otherwise authorized in the air operator certificate." In fact, when I wrote flashcards for studying, I made up a special symbol, I think it resembled the anarchy symbol: a capital A in a circle, to represent that phrase. Aviation, more than anything else I've done seems to be actually concerned with safety over rules. If an air operator can demonstrate that they can do something safely in a way that is not in strict accordance with the rules, they can get that op spec. It encourages innovation but not anarchy. If as a pilot you're in a dangerous situation you can disobey the rules to get out of it. There will be paperwork, but not blood.
We go over everything that I have wrong, then we both sign the exams and my chief pilot puts them in a file. See? Anarchists don't keep files.