may pull back 10 yards and stay there, but it’s “on time.”) We did that, pulled back, sat there a bit.
Then we moved into line for takeoff! And moved up in line! And sat. In silence. No word from the pilot. He’s too focused on …sitting there, idling and waiting. Finally, after about 20 minutes he comes on the loudspeaker and says, and this is a quote: “Well, we have some weather (Editor’s Note: We ALWAYS have weather, sometimes it’s good, sometimes bad.) And we’ll be getting an update from ATC in 10 minutes.” Every profession has its jargon; it’s just that folks not in that profession don’t know it, which, I guess is what makes it jargon, or a secret language or a code. I didn’t know what ATC meant and figured he slipped and told us about some secret airline/weather agency he shouldn’t have mentioned and we shouldn’t know about.
Fifteen minutes later he came on and said, and this is a quote: “Well, the traffic is pretty crowded flying north so ATC is trying to find us a new route and we should know that in 13 minutes. So, you can use your electronic devices and I’ll
get back to you in 15 minutes. I’m going to shut down one engine now and I’ll be back to you in 30 minutes with an update.” THAT is a quote! Thirteen minutes, 15 minutes and 30 minutes, three different messages in three sentences. Instilled real confidence in that pilot who I’m trusting to take me up 35,000 feet and fly me 400 miles and get me back on terra firma safely.
Now, the guy over one row and back one is on the phone, talking in too loud a voice to be on an airplane and I’m getting a tad annoyed but don’t say anything for the sake of peace in the cabin. The flight attendants announce drink service and
bring around … water. I took it to avoid dehydration, but pretended it was Macallan 12.
I opened my book, again, (“Whitey Bulger”) and read about a guy who killed people almost for the fun of it. Probably not the “how-to” book to be reading right then. The woman sitting next to me and I exchanged not a word all this time (not a complaint, just a comment). The woman across the aisle is fidgeting because she’s been on three business trips in a month and misses her kids.
Thirty-five minutes later the pilot comes back on to say he’s still waiting to hear from ATC (Anybody to Call??). Some time goes by, along with more silence from the cockpit. Then the plane starts rolling. We appear to be moving, after nearly two
hours of not moving, into position for takeoff. But no word from the pilot so I figure we’re not taking off yet, maybe just moving to a more out –of-the-way spot on the tarmac (short for tarmacadam, did you know that?) And then, we are up in the air, I assume on our way to our destination now that ATC has, I assume, approved us, in secret, of course.
No warning, no announcement nothing, just we are on our way.
As soon as we landed, that loudmouth one row over and one back is on the phone immediately and, as the rest of us are standing up, getting ready to “deplane,” I hear him say: “Yeah, he got laid off today and then he went to Galveston
because he’s seeing someone there. He just got divorced and it was a pretty nasty breakup …”
I got into the terminal and immediately went to the ATC for relief.