Flying, Centipedes, and Lock Paw

Hello all!

The temperature changed! Whoo!! So now, instead of it being in the 70’s plus ALL the time.. it is only that hot from 9 am to 9 pm! It then abruptly drops to about 20 degrees and stays that way until 9 am the next morning. And repeat. This is so strange to me. I wake up, go to breakfast bundled up in sweatshirts and sweats and by the time I finish and walk back to my room.. I am drenched in sweat and have to stand in front of my fan for a few minutes before I can function.

Did you know that the centipedes of the south will paralyze you if they bite you? And if immediate attention is not sought, it creates permanent paralysis? Did I mention that I have found three of them since I have been here? One was outside my room.. one was in my instructor’s office.. and one was in my ground school classroom. On my desk. I think the only thing worse than a snake (and a tarantula, obviously.. but I’ve already confronted that fear) is a poisonous bug that looks like a snake with legs. We must move on.

The other day, I was walking up the stairs in the dorms. It is a split level staircase.. about ten steps, a platform, and then the other ten steps. The platform is a treacherous place, and one I do not like to dwell upon because of Synthia. Synthia is a big, fat, nightmare making spider that has a very intricate and death creating web that happens to be situated right around the light that illuminates the platform. Synthia never leaves her domain. She is always there. Watching, waiting for a person to forget to watch her throughout the entire staircase journey so she can leap into their hair. In order to go up the second set of steps, you have to walk under her web and then turn your back to go up the rest of the steps. At the top of the steps, I always whip around to make sure Synthia didn’t attack me and to be honest, I usually go up the stairs either sideways or backwards. A lack of eye contact can be the difference between future trauma counseling and having a nice day.

Well, for some reason the other day, Synthia was missing when I got to the platform. And I couldn’t remember if I saw her as I was walking up the first set of stairs, which queued a massive internal panic attack, as you can imagine. I began to hit random parts of my body, much like a game of Whack-A-Mole, just in case she made the leap, unbeknownst to me. As I turned and started to run up the second set of stairs, my eyes were level with the second story of the dorms. I saw a little blur of gray streaking towards me and, through the Synthia terror, I realized that with the current momentum of the gray blur, and my trajectory running up the stairs, I was about to have a mouse fly and land on my face. Fortunately, we saw each other about the same time and both of us put on the brakes. The mouse was going much faster than I, and I saw his little paws lock up and try to stop. For a brief moment, this mouse was in an uncontrolled slide without showing any signs of stopping. As we looked into each others eyes, we both silently agreed that whatever was about to happen would not be anybody’s fault and that we would get through it, together. But I’ll be darned if that little stinker didn’t pulled what I can only describe as the most heroic and skilled U-turn in history. Lock Paw in full force and body whipping around, it was one of the most athletic feats this world has ever seen. And before I knew it, he is bounding the opposite direction and I am continuing my escape from Synthia the Spider.

As for flying, it is going well! I just passed my stage-check (kind of like a pre-test to the REALLY big tests coming up) and am now studying for my written tests and then soon after, the actual test to get my Instrument license. I have about three weeks to absorb an enormous amount of information, but I am studying and believe I can get it done.

My instructor, Rick, keeps telling me to be a sniper and not a shot gun. I have this rather unfortunate habit of blurting out the first thing that comes to my head when asked a question (or in high pressure situations, the first thing that enters my head. Period), and although that is a great trait for personality tests, it is a rather bad trait for someone who will be taking an Oral Exam in the very near future.

Example: I was taking my stage check with the Chief Flight Instructor of the college. The Head Honcho. The Big Kahuna. As I was flying an ILS approach (an extremely precise approach that requires intense concentration) I look over at her and, being the shotgun that I am, say, “Belinda? You smell WAY better than Rick does!”

Oh. My. Gosh.

Trying not to let the horror of what I just said affect my approach, I continue to fly, wishing one of those centipedes would come bite me. Fortunately, she laughed and said “thank you!”.

Crises averted, Shot Gun Maggie lives to fly another day.

I am also coming home for Christmas in just under a month – I can’t believe it! – and am very much looking forward to that.

Thank you all for the support, as always, and thank you for reading 🙂

Maggie