It’s been a while since I’ve had a dream or remembered one.
Last night I dreamt that I was on a flight to somewhere. It seemed like I was traveling alone, which has been the case in my recent travels.
Then suddenly, not that I felt it but knew it was happening, the plane went into a steep descent.
I looked around me and no one else seemed to notice. How could they not know? I remember thinking.
Then a flight attendant flew out of a door, which I assume led to the cockpit, a stocky black-haired, Mexican flight attendant in a grayish-blue uniform that I noted was too tight for his form, and he yelled out: Is there a doctor on board?!
There was silence.
No one seemed to notice him. No head movements looking from side to side. Nothing.
The plane continued to descend.
I got up slowly, reluctantly, walked tenuously to another flight attendant, a Farrah Fawcett look-alike, and as she screamed at me to get back in my seat, I calmly whispered to her, I’m not a doctor.
For a second she stared at me.
–Fine if you’re a nurse, she said, the tension around her eyes relaxing.
–No, no, I responded. I’m a pilot.
Her eyes looked into mine. I stared back defiantly.
I was gripping the seatback trying to keep balance. I still couldn’t feel the plane sharply descending but knew it was and knew that I was supposed to be holding onto something.
There wasn’t Hollywood chaos with screaming babies and hanging oxygen masks. No luggage flying from the overhead bins. Everyone sat perfectly still. Stoic. Unmoving.
But there was a dinging. A gravelly tinny Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.
And then I woke up. 615 alarm.
I missed my moment of being a hero. Yeah, it was a dream. But it would’ve been great. I would’ve been GREAT.
I say this now, though, frankly, I’m not so sure I would’ve been–great, that is.
I’ve not flown in forever and jets are a wholenother beast. A far cry from a single engine Cessna. But then again, cut the engine and the jet becomes a monstrous clunky sailplane.
And who knows what the Other Me or Other Farrah was about to do after the stare-down. And why on earth did no one else react. And why was the priority a doctor when clearly the plane was out of control.
The Other Me obviously assumed the pilot and co-pilot couldn’t be revived in time and took them out of the equation.
Fly the plane.
Fly the plane is Rule No 1. Don’t be distracted, whether it’s an emergency or not. Whether an engine light goes on or a bird strikes the canopy or you’ve lost communication.
Fly the plane.
In piloting, as with any act you perform: Be mindful of the essentials. And if and when the time comes for you to act, even if you’re unsure, don’t wait for someone else to do it.
Do it yourself.