Some people want to hear more about my flights and less about the hotels or the keys or the fuellers or the taxicabs, but my flights are a long sequence of lines with dots on them. Have you ever sat down to play a simple videogame, not a fancy one with a plot and cut sequences and realistic graphics, but the sort you get for your phone that mostly just have dots or blobs you have to shoot or catch, like Bejeweled Blitz or Pac-Man or Space Invaders or Stack the Cats and then looked up four hours later with sore fingers and almost no perception of the time passing? That's whatit's like flying photo survey, except that instead of being filled with guilty self-loathing over having wasted so much time, you have a great feeling of accomplishment of having taken seven hundred twenty three photographs without missing a dot.
Sometimes the lines are parallel with the endpoints lined up, so I can just turn around, and attack the next line, but sometimes the next line is longer or shorter or we skip one, so I need to be directed to the next one before it comes on screen. The scale jumps to zoom in as I approach the lines until it switches to what I call the "jumpscreen." (Yah, because it jumps. My creativity wanes when I'm totally focused on dots.) It depicts the track I have to cruise right down the middle of. The main dots appear on the screen green, then turn yellow and blue and sometimes red. Red is bad, and I should tell the operator if I see a red dot, but he has the same screen and has usually seen it before me, in that he isn't flying an airplane at the same time.
So there are two sorts of dots, the sometimes red one that I have to chase to make it stay in the middle and greem, and the ones on the line that I have to gobble up like Pac-Man. It makes me crave Skittles and Smarties (the Canadian kind: the American kind, which we call Rockets, aren't brightly enough coloured, enough).
I can do engine management, look up new frequencies, and all the other things you do while flying in the few seconds between dots, or in turns. And I listen to my MP3 player through the headset, on a setting that mutes the tunes as soon as there is any activity on the intercom or radio. This also has the effect of shutting the music off right away if I start to sing along, a blessing for the camera operator.