Monday, November 28, 2005

You Divorced The Pilot Day

You Divorced The Pilot Day!

Your ex-wife, Grace, is a commercial airline pilot and after the divorce you made a point of never flying United to avoid being one of her passengers. It wasn't too difficult, since you're terrified of flying anyway. But considering how incendiary the proceedings were, had she ever discovered you in the cabin of one of her flights it's likely she would crash the whole jet just to take you out.

Today you're flying Delta to Chicago. Unbeknownst to you, Grace left United for Delta about four months ago. She's in the cockpit and she just got a look at the manifest and saw your name.

"Finally got you to take an interest in my work," she says when she comes back to your seat.

"Hello Grace," you say. "You've lost weight."

"No money to eat," she says.

All of the passengers are watching or listening in. You suggest that you take your conversation elsewhere since the other passengers might not like to watch their pilot lose her temper. Grace refuses, so you try to calm her down.

"I have to say, you look better than ever," you tell Grace.

"Are you traveling on business?" she asks. You suggest that perhaps it's best that the two of you not go too much into detail about each other's lives.

"What's her name?" Grace asks. You see her eyes go small, the way they always did right before she would throw a vase at your face. Out of the corner of your eye you see several passengers turn their heads in your direction.

"Smith, Beecher and Weinhart," you say. "A client of mine is being sued by a client of theirs."

Grace asks where you're staying in Chicago and whether it would be okay for her to come and visit you tonight. She really is looking better than ever.

"We shouldn't," you say. "It will end badly."

Grace says that she understands and then she recommends that you fasten your seatbelt because she thinks the plane might be running into some turbulence pretty soon.

"Grace," you say. "Don't be crazy."

She smiles and says that she's sorry but she has no control over the force of the wind in the skies. As she walks back to the cabin, everyone in the plane fastens their seatbelts.

For the next hour and a half, you endure the worst, most terrifying turbulence you've felt. You throw up twice. Your neighbor throws up three times. Several people shout at you for not having accepted their pilot's offer. "Was your marriage so bad that it’s worth risking our lives?" they shout.

"It was a trainwreck!" you shout back. "Nothing but headgames and bile!"

Up in the cockpit, Grace just sobs and jerks the controls up and down and left and right, treating the plane like a bumper car. Her co-pilot has seen her like this before and knows not to object.

A passenger screams at you, "Goddammit go up there and tell her she can have some of that tonight! My wife is turning blue!"

People start tossing their food trays and peanuts at you until you unfasten your seatbelt and pull your way up the aisle, grabbing hold of each headrest as you go to steady yourself.

You knock on the cockpit door and ask Grace to see you. The copilot opens up and you see Grace yanking the plane left and right through the calm night sky.

"You win," you tell her. "I'm at the Radisson."

Grace doesn't stop jerking the plane to and fro.

"Grace, I'm yours. Tonight. Come by."

Grace continues to yank at the controls. You make your way back to your seat. The other passengers grip their armrests and glare at you. The plane continues to bump and shake.

A few minutes later, a flight attendant approaches you with a slip of paper that reads: "Can we get dinner first?" There's a box for Yes and a box for No at the bottom of the note.

"For God's sake hurry!" the flight attendant shouts.

You check the box for yes and the flight attendant clamors back to the cockpit with the note. A moment passes, and then the plane steadies. A cheer goes up from the cabin and several people pat you on the shoulder, talking to you about "taking one for the team." You try to forget that you'll be having a rendezvous with your ex-wife in just six hours. Instead you close your eyes and you dream of land.

Happy You Divorced The Pilot Day!