SAY AGAIN? The other day while loading my things onto the aircraft, I arrived at a stunningly horrific realization: I forgot my lunch back in the fridge in the office. I immediately let the pilot in command know about the situation. He called back to flight desk and informed them to send a runner to pick up the lunch and bring it out to the flight line and to my aircraft. This is an extremely solemn issue, honest!
So, a few minutes later, I get a call over the common frequency for all the jets flying that day.
“Aircraft XX, need location and description of lunch container (we aren’t supposed to say “box”. Something about it having a sexual connotation. Stupid fighter jocks, it’s all their fault).”
I responded quickly.
“Bomber Common, this is Aircraft XX. It’s in A-Flight’s freezer. It’s a gray lunch box with Dicks on it, so to speak.”
If you know me, you get it. The Wing Commander was flying that day and heard the whole serious scenario. I would like to think he giggled. Everyone else did, including the bomb squadron commander with whom I was flying. Now, when I was a brand new navigator in the squadron, running out left lunches, pizza orders, Red Bulls, and forgotten FLIP was standard (I would always find someone new than myself to do it, of course. In the Air Force, we call that delegation). Now that I’m a crusty old Radar Navigator who cares most about when I can heat up the oven for lunch, I totally get how important it is. Especially on a 5.5 hour sortie. That oven-burned burrito tasted like success a few hours later & yes, the B-52H model has a combat oven.
GRAVITY. I’m pretty pumped about Alfonso Cuarón’s latest endeavor, Gravity, with Sandra Bullock. Can I get a hell yes for strong female leads in science fiction roles? I wrote a research paper in college on the topic, in fact, but I digress. I can’t wait to be creeped out by something other than monsters, for once. While some monsters are scary, the most realistic impressions of space are also the spookiest.
Take my favorite sci-fi flicks, for example: Sunshine, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Alien (yeah, I’m not mentioning Star Wars here because it doesn’t fit with the point I am trying to make, so nyahh). Sunshine does have a “creepy monster” element, but the most terrifying aspects of the film are psychological, hands down. 2001‘s own monster is HAL, but helplessness due to isolation in space is the creepiest element. And Alien? Yes, I know it’s about an alien. But it’s also about survivability in the black void of space, and how you have to do everything yourself if you expect to pull through. Let’s just face the facts: Space is difficult and dangerous and isolated. We humans like to venture where we are not supposed to go. We fly airplanes, space shuttles, and now underwater exploration to unfathomable (see that pun?) depths. I look forward to my next trend prediction: a defunct scientific colony in the Marianas Trench. James Cameron can go down (sts), so it seems like a legit scenario, amirite? In fact, James Cameron did his National Geographic-sponsored deepest dive in the Marianas Trench while I was on Guam. He didn’t come say “hi” to the troops though. Boo. I wanted to ask him why Kate Winslet thought there wasn’t enough room on the headboard raft for Leo. Important topics.