Monday, August 21, 2006

Career Fair Weather

The day Josh The Pilot and I met, he announced his career plans as an air traffic controller. He was already hired, you see. He was simply waiting for the magnificent federal bureaucracy to wave its enormous, bulky wand over his application material.

"Any day now," he said, "the FAA is going to call me with my placement. So I don't know about starting a new relationship."

This was about a year and a half ago. For once, living under a large, wasteful, unwieldy government has worked for me.

He was placed in a center, not an airport tower. I thought he was making this up, because according to serious research composed of watching every single Airplane! movie, everybody knows that all an air traffic controller is supposed to do is tell Victor what the vector is. It turns out there are these great big radar buildings all over the country, and they are the boss of the planes between the airport towers. These are the folks who, on 9/11, told all the planes in the sky to shut up and land in Nova Scotia and eat halibut for a week while we got ourselves straightened out.

When the call came through, Josh the Pilot was minding his own business in the cab of his Bobcat, as he has been putting his $100,000 aviation education to work as an equipment operator until his placement. He picked up the phone and a voice said, "This is the FAA with your placement assignment in the Eastern region. You must choose during this phone call between New York center and Washi--"

"WASHINGTON WASHINGTON WASHINGTON," said Josh. Because after all he had been through, what he really wanted at that point was to become a constituent of Hillary Clinton.

First he must attend a three-month training program in Oklahoma City. He describes it as boot camp for air traffic controllers, which brings to mind a bunch of pasty people sitting in front of radar screens, all "SIR YES SIR! I WILL NOT SLEEP WITH BILLY BOB THORTON'S WIFE, SIR!"

I don't know what it is with me and boyfriends and Oklahoma City; my college boyfriend was there for two years as a teacher. I greeted the new millennium in Oklahoma City. What they did was hoist this enormous lighted ball up on a crane at midnight, and then College Boyfriend drank so much he had to pee on a maple tree lining a downtown street. Good times in OKC. I will tell Josh to look in on the maple.

When Air Traffic Boot Camp is done, he will report to Leesburg, VA, immediateLY. And he will officially start his big-boy life.

Since we've technically been in a long-distance relationship for about a year--me in the far Eastern section of The Swamp, him in the middle--I am quite sure this is something we can handle. However, this leaves me without the luxury of feeling sorry for myself, as Julie the NephewsMama and Country The Brother In Law put up with this for four years while he served out his Navy ROTC scholarship. I remember this period as fraught with peril for the both of them; Country serving the nation in Corpus Christi, my sister enduring such trials as the inability to speak with him for extended periods while he was off on Sooper-Dooper Big Important Mega Secret Naval Exercises, and then discovering when he got back that he spent the week anchored in the harbor.

Tonight Josh is crashing with Dan The Reader, who is a controller in the Southern sector, and whenever he explains his itinerary to anybody I make him say "...and then I'm staying with one of Mary Beth's fans," which is infinitely cooler and more true than "I'm staying with another controller." You see how my power spreads throughout the land.

He left me with a bottle of beer in the fridge and the bug-squashing guardianship of Fletch The Extremist. I suppose this is what it means when they say, "If you love someone, let him go, and if he truly loves you, he will go away to sit in a big room full of radar screens in the Land of the Former Boyfriend Pee."

niner, or whatever at:


tamar said...

The man loves you. We ALL can see that. Congrats to JTP! MB-you will be fine. Of course you know that, but you sound like you need an ittle bit of reassurment.
Thanks to the good Cap-e-ton Morrrgan (r's should be rolled in English, sounds cooler), I'm feeling a bit emotional. In the A.M. when I read this, I'm sure I'll be embarassed, eh...oh well.

You two are such a cute couple, and you both are quite down to earth. I know that you two are something special, and I feel priviledged to know you, even on an internet level. Yeah, I know I'm not making sense, and that I'm rambling, so I'll shut it.

Congratulations Josh. MB, It's only a short plane ride (with or with out the Arch of blowing Air) and before you know it, (in a few good years) Y'all will be producing your own adorable Will (name of your choice OBVIOUSLY!!)

Yeah, ok, done embarassing myself now. Sweet dreams, may flights of angels guide thee to thy rest.

MB said...

Thank you Tamar. I'm very happy for him too. I know we'll be fine, but right now I'm doing my own laundry for the first time in months and missing my own pilot.

Now go sleep it off :)

your said...
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Laura in Virginia said...

I've been reading this anonymously for a while, and just wanted to say good luck and congrats to JTP. I think you're hilarious, and I absolutely love your stories about college students.

tamar said...

Aargh! At work now. Sorry bout last night. Listen up kids! 'NEVER drink and post' :)

Kate said...

Well, MB, there's always John Adams to fall back on in the meantime!

Josh The Pilot said...

Laura, where in Virginia are you? I'm trying to figure out what I can expect living expenses to be in Leesburg.

Jill said...

JTP- Congrats! Expect living expenses to be HIGH in VA.

MB- Nick the Pilot left me 8 months after we got married (and I RELOCATED) to join the Army to fly. We have been apart during our marriage longer than we have been together. He owes me nice, shiny, and expensive things now. Keep that in mind!

AnnaPink said...

I live in DC -- best of luck to both of you. Caution: house prices are ridiculous.

MB: The race track in Charleston, WV is a fun day trip from Leesburg -- cross the Potomac on the Jubal A. Early ferry (the only working ferry still on the Potomac).

JTP: Do NOT miss the Flying Circus air show in Bealeton -- it is a kind of throwback show to the barnstorming days of the 20s with wing walkers and crazy stunts in biplanes, you will LOVE it, guaranteed.

Heather the Reader said...

I too am in Virginia - not far from Leesburg, in fact. Being that far outside of the beltway will do wonders for JTP's bank balance, but housing prices are still pretty high. And we have a TON of schools for MB to choose from!!!

To give you both an example of housing prices, condos (little two bedroom ones) range from $200K to $800K. In our neighborhood, houses that sold for $120K 24 years ago were $350K three years ago and one sold for $600K three months ago (a three bedroom single family house on 1/3 acre.)

Congrats to JTP!

laura in virginia said...

I live in Fredericksburg, which is about 50 miles outside of dc, but as it's straight down 95 from the city it's practically a suburb and thus housing is super expensive. The apartment I rent (2 bedrooms, two baths, w/ a washer and dryer) is $985 a month. My parents live in Centreville, which is about 25 miles east of Leesburg, and the reason I didn't move back there after I graduated from college is that it's even more expensive there. From what I know of Leesburg, apartments are similar in price to the Fredericksburg area; anywhere from 800-1100 a month to rent depending on size/amenities etc. If you can possibly swing buying property, though, you should; the market is going nowhere but up.

Leesburg is a gorgeous town; in addition, it has a decently sized outlet mall, is smack in the middle of Virginia wine/b&b/civil war battlfield country, and is close(ish) to DC. Not to mention, it's only about 15 miles away from Dulles Airport--which will make visits so much easier.

Anonymous said...

Dan and Kelli The Readers immensely enjoyed the company of Josh the Pilot. We know his last name now! We wish him lots of luck out in OKC and sent him on his way with fresh peaches and ice for the cooler. He was a great houseguest, and the cats thoroughly approved of him.

annapink said...

Sorry to post twice, just realized the racetrack I mentioned is in Charles Town, not Charleston (I get them confused -- one is waaay closer than the other). Didn't want you taking a 6-hour trip to Charleston, finding no racetrack, and cursing annapink's name. Laurel and Pimlico (which hosts the second jewel in the Triple Crown, as you know MB) also are in driveable distance.

While on the way to Charles Town, visit Harpers Ferry, a beautiful little town and site of the gloriously cheesy "John Brown Wax Museum."

MB said...

Awesome, ChampagneParty in the soverign colony of Virginia! Thanks for all the tips, kids. I'm looking forward to visiting. And many thanks to Dan and Kelli The Readers-- JTP says you're "good people" and that he never had such wonderful peaches in all his life. I am wondering if I should be jealous :)

P.S. Laura, welcome to the ranks of The Readers.

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