Things A Pilot Should Never Say For $2000, Alex

What is Ctrl, Alt+Del?

I’m a lousy flier. I start getting anxious the moment the flight gets booked, and my brain just kind of spirals off into nuts until I am home again.

Oddly enough, I am not afraid of crashing. Or, um, I wasn’t.

Normally it’s weird things. Deep vein thrombosis.  Re-circulated air.

The guy that falls asleep on me every damn time (this time he was a Korean guy that looked about 13, and went back and forth between writing a paper on power plant engineering and playing Burger Stacker). 

And of course, there’s the joy of setting off the metal detectors or winning  the pat down lottery at least once every round trip (pat down).

Oh, and I can’t forget belly button bacteria (I am not making that one up and will forever thank Christina Dodd for making me aware of that little gem).

But I live in Maine, and I have the unicorn job for an awesome software company in San Diego.

And because the company is awesome and the job is unicorn, when they say, “Come to San Diego,” I do.

This time, in addition to my friend Xanax, I had my friend Steph with me. Yay! Someone to share my angst with, as well as the overwhelming urge to scream, “There’s something on the wing!!!”

So on Thursday I hesitantly stepped through the mercifully silent metal detector into the waiting hands of the TSA agent who gave me my 8th random pat down. But she was gentle and quick, and I boarded the plane to D.C. without incident.

In D.C. we switched planes. But we were last on board, so our carry-ons had to be gate checked. I didn’t even give my departing friend Xanax a passing thought as she was stowed away with the bags and pets and coffins, and whatever other mysterious things were in the bay below.

We were settled quickly, moving into position fast enough to have hope that we’d arrive in San Diego ahead of schedule.

Then the captain came over the speakers.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen… blah… blah… weather… blah…. blah… small delay due to a change in the flight plan.”

Okay. That’s happened before. Light air traffic prompting a straighter shot to be mapped, or bad weather (my favorite!) pushing us to an altered, but safer course.

Time for Xanax though.

Oh. Shit.

Twitch. Twitch.

30 minutes later

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, we are still trying to work out the flight plan with the crew on the ground. The mileage seems off for fuel calculations…blah… blah… won’t be too much longer.”

Whoa! Fuel calculations??? Let’s just hang tight right here, and all you muttering boobs better relax because a half hour delay is infinitely better than, say, running out of fuel and crashing in Nevada!!!

Twitch, twitch. Twitch.

Another 30 minutes later

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain again. Not really sure what was going on there, but for any of you folks who work with computers, we just did the equivalent of the Ctrl, Alt + Del thing, and things look  okay now, so we’ll be in the air shortly.”

Wait. What????

Ctrl, Alt + Del?

I do work with computers. That triggers a soft reboot. When that’s suggested, it pretty loosely translates into, “Fuck if we know what’s wrong, try restarting it.”

My pilot just basically admitted to using the fuck-it-let’s-try-this method.

There is a special place in Hell for him, I’m certain of it.


5 thoughts on “Things A Pilot Should Never Say For $2000, Alex

  1. yeah, that was horrific! I can’t believe he would say that! I don’t work “with” computers but I use one and I sure know what ctrl+alt+delete means! I’m glad you made it safely there and back!


    • You know, I would have thought more people would have been alarmed by that little announcement. I mean who hasn’t been instructed by tech to do that little trick. I would have been much happier with “Well folks, we got the problem resolved and here we go.” Don’t tell me what you did. Tell me I will safely arrive on the other side of the country!


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