I am sitting in a hotel room in Nashville looking at Vanderbilt University. Flew up here from Jacksonville yesterday at 7:00am for a meeting. I fly back tomorrow. They say you should get to the airport two hours early to go through security. I had not flown since before 9-11 and, being a by-the-book kind of guy, I was up at 3:40am to get to the airport by 5:00. What was I thinking? I mean the traffic was light at that time in the morning but considering that I had a three-hour layover in Charlotte, I spent about 10 hours getting to the hotel yesterday. I can drive to Nashville in 10 hours! I can choose my own company, sip my coffee, see the countryside, and listen to books on CD. I mean…I like to drive! None of that terrorism anxiety to deal with; feeling like a criminal entering a penitentiary while going through security. I was stuffed in small seats next to total strangers, people coughing, sneezing, snoring. Then there is the throttle down moment. You know, the time when, after you have been cruising along for about an hour and fifteen minutes, suddenly you hear the engines shutting down; gives me chills every time it happens. They should warn people before they do stuff like that. The pilot should come over the loud speaker and say, “Just so you folks know, we are going to throttle down the engines in a minute so we don’t fly the wings off the plane while we make our descent into Nashville!” That would be nice.
I’m really not scared to fly. I just hate not being in control. No, give me the old open road any day, cruising in a self-propelled chunk of metal with leather seats, my own stereo, and deluxe cup holders. A machine I control; can pull over any time I want to and see the sites. And if you disagree with me, that is ok. But consider this: In all the years I have spent on top of the lighthouse, the vast majority of airline pilots who climb it are too scared to step out on the deck once they get up there. Hmmmm?