Thursday, October 07, 2010

I Have to Get Out of this Plane And ...

I landed somewhere, wherever it was I was working that week, somewhere in the land of civilization. I land, taxi in, but don't see anyone on the FBO ramp, so I tune their frequency. As usually happens, the moment after I call, I see the previously invisible marshaller. He directs me to park facing him and where to stop. It's a quick overnight, so I grab minimal gear and hop out. The fueller welcomes me and thank him and place a fuel order. I undo the nosegear scissors and tell the fueller that I'll be back in nine or ten hours, that the brakes are not set, so the airplane is okay to tow if required. I head inside and get directions to the washroom. That done I return to the desk to chat and wait for fuelling to be complete so I can pay.

The woman at the desk offers to book me into a hotel with a shuttle and a good company rate. That's definitely what I need, so I pass her my credit card and dig out the correct hotel loyalty card for the place she recommends. She makes the call and books the room, saying "non smoking" without even a glance at me to make sure she's got that right. "How do you know?" I start to ask and then realize that I went from the airplane to the washroom to the comfy chair. A smoker would probably have gone right through the building to the groundside and a smoke.

Most Canadians don't smoke, but about 20% of adults do, so it's not a safe bet. It varies among provinces and way more people smoke in the north. According to this, 72% of Inuit smoke. That's sad; there isn't much in the way of cancer treatment available in the north, and having to leave home and go someplace strange when you are sick compounds misery.

Of course lots of Canadians smoke other stuff, as it isn't a huge screaming deal as it is in the US. I remember a pilot saying, "I don't smoke, well except an annual post-medical joint." That's hilarious in multiple ways. He didn't even know me, so it shows how accepted it is. Pot is pretty common in Canada and it's probably not all that uncommon for a Canadian to have smoked marijuana but never have tried tobacco. I'm not particularly interested in either, but I totally understand the "post medical" aspect of that. Even when you know you're totally fit, you step up your workouts and tone down your consumption of things that aren't so good for you in preparation for the annual medical. The doctor's going to complain if you've gained a couple of pounds, and you can write "two drinks a week" on the form in good conscience if it's true for the last two weeks, right? And then once you've survived the inspection and don't have to go back for another year, you can indulge. We aren't even drug tested at our medicals, it's just the concept.

The two guys who got out of the airplane whose panel featured yesterday (answer tomorrow, although I think a couple of you have guessed it, at least) made a beeline for the restrooms and then had a smoke. Tobacco.


Chris said...

I know exactly what you mean about the medical. I'm probably in my best shape the week before it is due.

Here in Aus we do get drug tested and we can be randomly drug tested. Not that it matters to me.

Anonymous said...

Here in the UK I saw a man smoking a serious spliff while having a friendly conversation with a police sergeant. The police sergeant probably smokes it too but with consenting adults in private.