Flight Lesson #3 Canceled or "You Are Now Cleared for Final Approach-Avoidance."

Has it really come to this? Have the events of these last years shaken my confidence so deeply? Or have I always been paralyzed by the possibility of failure?

It’s easy to ignore in everyday life. You get into a routine and establish a sort of procedural equilibrium that keeps you on track and is moderately self-correcting. Kind of like a gyroscope that resists change to its spin around the three axes. If you stay out too late, yeah, you suffer for a day or two, but your mind and body recover quickly and you get back in the routine in relatively short order. Other things take a little longer, but only a little. Like vacations. Go away for two weeks and see how much longer it takes to get back in the swing of things. Usually you’re at about ninety percent by the time the jet lag wears off. That’s not so tough to handle.

So why did I spend all week trying to find excuses to cancel my flight lesson today?

I know at least some of it had to do with the fact that I hadn’t done my part by putting in the additional study time to approach it confidently. But hell, I can memorize radio frequencies and learn radio communications “scripts.” Hell, I used to memorize whole three-act plays without an enormous about of trouble, so I know it’s not an uphill battle to shoehorn the necessary information into my head.

So why did I spend all week trying to find excuses to cancel my flight lesson today?

Get this: I took the dogs out this morning for their respective excretory reductions in mass and liquid, and looking up at the cloudy, grey sky, half of me thought “Oh, thank GOD the weather’s lousy! I won’t have to fly.”

HAVE to fly?

I’m supposed to be WANTING to fly. In fact, I am paying a shit load of money to BE ABLE to fly.

So why did I spend all day trying to find excuses to cancel my flight lesson today?

Once I finally got out of bed around nine-ish, I looked outside. Perfect day. And we’d just had our ground school classes on weather, so I was pretty confident that a cloudless, blue sky and calm winds would not prohibit me from going off into the wild blue yonder. “Ok, I can do this,” I think to myself. “Let me run some errands and I’ll still have oodles of time to get my act together.”

So I got to Target and buy a book bag for all my aviation references for class. I stop by and check on the RV, and then call the Toyota dealership and see if they can fit me in for my 85,000 mile service. They are kind enough to do so, and I head over. “OK, there’s still time. If I get out of there in short order, I’ll still be able to make it.”

After about 45 minutes, Eddie, the service writer I’ve known for awhile comes in and tells me that their nineteen point inspection showed that I needed a new water pump, and serpentine belt.

“How long will this take?” I ask mind rushing through rough calculations of time and distance. Can I get all this done and still make the lesson at 4?

Eddie assures me that it won’t take too long and if it’s going to take longer than normal, he’ll let me know so I can cancel.

So why did I decide to use the water pump replacement as my excuse to cancel my flight lesson today?

I had the time. I had the skill to do the lesson. I was soon to have the now fully functional Prius chomping at the bit to demonstrate its new-found health by whisking me to Manassas Airport by 4pm.

Why was I so relieved when I called and canceled?

This is perplexing from the perspective of logic. There was no good reason NOT to go, and I made it a point to stretch an “emergency” auto repair into a good enough reason to avoid flying.

Needless to say, I am neither pleased with my decision nor myself. This is unacceptable behavior. I knew this all along. Yet, a part of my brain decided that for whatever reason, it wasn’t going to happen.

Check that. Reason and my brain played no roles in this decision.

OK, time for take two.

This will not happen again. I will not allow myself to avoid flying again. I will not permit whatever insecurities, fear of failure, fear of success, or chicken-shit cloud forms around my head to impede my better judgment. I KNOW better. I cannot allow myself the luxury of another such failure.

I didn’t used to be like this. Challenging tasks didn’t paralyze me. They were exhilarating. I never avoided things because they were hard or frightening. I’ve jumped out of jet aircraft, for crying out loud!

What the fuck happened?

Here I stand, looking around and wondering what happened.

It’s up to me to keep this one little failure from becoming an epic one.


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