Saturday, September 1, 2007

Code Orange: Tales of Captain Kritcher

I loathe flying. I dislike the takeoff. I dislike the turbulence. Not fond of the baggage retrieval. Despise the landing. The only good think about flying is I get to read books which I seem incapable of doing outside of this transportation process.

I don't mind the security at airports. It's absolutely necessary for the most part. But one I resent is the "random checks" they do when heading for your gate. As I traipsed through Southwest International Airport I was reminded repeatedly that we were in a "Code Orange". They never said what that means or why we were in it. Just "be on alert". And so I was, but if they had elevated the security alert to "Code Bananas" while I was there I might have freaked. As I passed through the security check point I was very politely asked to step aside so they could conduct a "random search" of me. They explained the process and despite being asked to do this the last three times I have flown, I acquiesced to what I deem a slightly humiliating pat down. They said it was my cargo shorts that triggered the random search, which makes it not so random. I guarantee it's my facial hair. All terrorists have facial hair right? That's what I get for looking "jungly". I was thanked and sent on my way.

On the plane I was lucky enough to sit next to a teenage boy who sneezed on me as he slept. Gross, but the main trouble with flying for me now is that I met Captain Kritcher recently, father of friend Kate and during that visit I was fortunate/unfortunate enough to hear the tales of a veteran commercial airline pilot. I put my trust in pilots. You have no choice but to have faith, but after talking with the 30+ year captain I have a greater appreciation for what they must endure flying to different destinations. Crosswinds, tailwinds, short runways, altitude, auroras, alcohol levels (not his), terrorism, pretzel depletion and on and on. So as we approached Logan Airport and the landing gear came down and then was retracted and then came down again I couldn't help but think of the Tales of Captain Kritcher and what our captain was steering us through right then. I fear few things, but my blood was flowing at that moment. Apparently the landing gear was momentarily stuck. It was an ugly landing, but any landing you walk away from is a good one.

From Fort Myers to Boston I started and finished The Last Pick: The Boston Marathon Race Director's Road to Success co-authored by Linda Fechter (mom of VINS campers). It was a great book about endurance runner David J. McGillivray who ran from Oregon to Boston in 80 days. I can't believe this isn't a movie yet!

Arriving in Boston, the PA passively reminded travelers that we were in a Code Lobster. All things normal.


  1. Ha! You weren't kidding, were you?

  2. There is truly nothing random as Jungle Pete passes thru airport security. Shall I remind you of the vile you had taped to the back of your frisbee as we tried to enter Canada? And why did we need a frisbee anyway? You owe us two hours of our life back. Although we didnt mind getting "patted" down if ya remember! "Have YOU ever appeared in front of a judge?"

  3. It was half an hour while we were detained. and it was a glow stick attached to a frisbee....

    I was being honest!

  4. So true. The Captain's Tales do have a way of making one think twice, in the air and on the ground! Very glad the landing gear worked in the end.
    -the Capt.'s Daughter

  5. i hope you had your yoohoo with you.

  6. No YooHoo - This is the horror of 9/11. On December 31st, 1999 I flew from Tampa to Boston on a plane with 14 people. Was I worried about Y2K and planes falling out of the sky? Sure, but I had places to be so I brought along my YooHoo on the plane; pleasanty augmented for travel. You can't bring "non-sterile" liquids anymore. I'm surprised they even let us wear shoes.