Who Am I?

My photo
A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

18 August 2009

Going, Going... (Part I)

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I’m shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one
And no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island

So sang Simon and Garfunkel in their 1966 Top-40 hit record, “I Am A Rock.”

"I touch no one and no one touches me." Cheerful stuff, eh?

If you read blogs, you learn stuff about the bloggers. Sometimes you learn stuff you wish you didn’t know. There is another helicopter pilot whose blog I sometimes read. Unfortunately, it is nearly totally devoted to politics and his fierce hatred of Liberal Democrats. He almost never writes about flying. His anger at those he thinks are ruining this country is unsettling. You read his blog and wonder: Does this guy ever laugh? Does he go to bed angry every night? Is every waking minute devoted to thinking about politics and how screwed-up the country is becoming? It seems so. And it seems sad. Because aside from our common interest in helicopters, I doubt very much if we'd be friends in real life.

After you read this post, you may feel the same about me.

I try to keep this blog about flying, and leave my personal life out of it, except when I can exploit it for the numerous humorous fuckups I continually make. But indulge me, won’t you, if I go off in a different direction for a bit?

I’m sort of depressed lately. A couple of months ago, my friend and main motorcycle riding buddy Jacob moved away. Then a couple of weeks ago Matt and Alisha moved up to Atlanta. This past weekend, we moved Gene over to Jacksonville. In what seems like an instant, the people who are closest to me have left. The town seems so empty. The house seems empty. Or maybe it’s my life that seems that way.

Yeah, yeah, I know that if I had a family of my own (e.g. wife, kids, in-laws, etc. or even a dog) I wouldn’t be so down. But I’m a single guy and I hate pets. My friends are my family.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not exactly cloistered in Paul Simon’s womb room above. I certainly don’t read much and I goddam hate poetry. But I do have my own sort of armor. I have flying (thank God for that) and my motorcycle (more on that later). I have my “alone things.” They just seem that much more alone lately. And it sucks.

We pilots tend to compartmentalize. We’re good at it. We don’t let issues from one part of our lives spill over into others. We take great pride in that…that we can put all of our earthly concerns aside and concentrate on just flying the plane. We leave the family arguments and all the other bullshit on the ground. And it’s true. When I’m flying, nothing bothers me. I’m too busy trying to keep from making some huge, stupid mistake, usually. Just let me fly, and I’m happy. I’m not one who drones along in the sky, reflecting on my life and all the things that are wrong with it. On the contrary, when I’m flying, I love life! Some would describe it as being “in the zone,” or “in one’s element,” although they both sound horribly trite and corny, however accurate.

We pilots lie to ourselves that we can do this on the ground as well – that we can bury our emotions and/or not show them. It’s something I’ve always thought I was pretty good at. Learned to be pretty good at.

My life has always been episodic. Growing up, our family always moved around. With a total of six kids eventually, my parents needed ever-bigger apartments. Then as I got older, I went from one phase to another, place to place, never settling down, never wanting to. Friends were…well…temporary. I kind of got to thinking that’s just the way it was. It never bothered me much.

It bothers me now.

Maybe it’s the all of the failed relationships (so many that I don’t even try anymore). Maybe it was my friend Jim’s suicide nearly thirteen years ago. I never told you about that. He was another riding buddy/coworker/offshore mechanic. We were close. It’s a long story – I’ll get to it. Anyway, the problem is that as I get older, I find myself becoming more attached to people. And I’m almost ashamed and certainly don’t like to admit it, but I’ve gotten more emotional about things too. I don’t understand that last bit at all. Tear-jerker movies never moved me. I used to laugh at them…laugh! Not anymore. In my mind, I’m still the same unfeeling, contemptuous, loner bastard I’ve always been. But deep down somewhere, I know that I’m not. Something’s changed. Getting older, maybe?

Now when friends leave it hits me. Hard. Like now.

So, like the amateur psychologists we all think we are, I try to analyze myself…try to figure out why I’m the way I am. Yes, I know I should probably let a professional do it. Because honestly, I have no clue (as usual). All I do know is that my little circle of friends is gone. I do have other friends, yes of course. But I don’t see them on a regular basis – not like Jacob, Matt/Alisha and Gene who were part of the daily fabric of my life…those who I saw every day...those I looked after and those who looked after me...those who were as close to me as my own family and vice-versa. I try to pretend not to care, but I do. Life ain’t very much fun right about now.

In “I Am A Rock,” Paul Simon slowly sings the last ironic line of the song:

And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries.

Meh. Maybe I’ll get a dog.


Redlefty said...

Sorry about your current situation. And not to undermine/patronize it at all, but I truly understand much of your feelings.

I'm 33yo and have never had what I would consider a "close friend" as an adult. Never anyone who really hung around long enough for us to share more than the superficial.

Dogs do help, though.

Anonymous said...

Damn! You sound like you're getting soft. Actually, I think you nailed it with the age scenario (as much as I hate to admit it, it does affect us all, myself included) I also agree with the flying deal. When I am in the sky all else is secondary and the flight at hand is all that matters....something I think only pilots can appreciate fully.
Take care,

Anonymous said...

I know I have the Family with me and that helps, but ditto the sentiment of your post. Good thing we get to party this weekend!


Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry that you seem to have lost alot of people in your life.

But you just might want to think about maybe not insulting another pilot because he has beliefs that differs from yours. And he is passionate about his beliefs.

There are many of us that believe this country is being destroyed from the inside out. But not all of us has served our country like Pitchpull has.

Layoff the personal attacks HP. Looks like you have alot bigger issues than Pitch.

Greybeard said...

There WAS a link to my blog at this post.
Gee... wonder what happened to that? (Ha!)
(For those of you that don't know, I'm the "angry, political helicopter pilot". The header at my blog says "Musings about life by an old helicopter pilot." I DO NOT just write about flying...
never intended to.)

I write about politics because I see our country being destroyed by folks paying no attention whatsoever.
Our country's deficit has been trebled...
Let me reinforce that-
TREBLED, since this President took office!
(That's on top of an economy most lefties said was bankrupt during GWB's administration. So if it was bankrupt then, where do you think we stand now?

I spent a year getting shot at while flying a gunship low-level behind an OH-6 scout helicopter in Viet Nam because I love my country and wanted it to remain strong. I now watch as dispassionate "don't worry, be happy" types blithely accuse others of hate while throwing stones through the walls of their glass houses, ignoring what appears to be a concerted attempt to collapse our economy.

It's funny to me Bob...
You accuse me of being a hater.
Go back and search my blog and find one instance...
Just ONE!...
Where I said I hated the man presently residing in our White House. (You can't do it.)

You yourself said Nancy Pelosi was looney-tunes. I agree with you. But please, research my blog and find one post where I said I hated her. (You can't do that either, it's just not there.)

Am I furious about what is happening in our country?
You bet.
Am I anxious that inflation MUST take off and that our money could soon be worth less than the paper it's printed on?
You bet.

Do I hate the individuals destroying my country?
I think I come closer to hating those that voted for a totally unknown quantity because many of them HATED George Bush. (Now those folks are truly worthy of your pity!)
But now we'll all suffer the consequences. Ironically, the young, (who probably put Obama in office), will suffer worst and longest.

As an aside, you should know-
My passion is SHARED by my friends, and I have MANY.
I could pick up the telephone and call 10 or so Veteran brethren and former students and ask for help, and they'd be on a plane as quickly as they could book a ticket.
I am sorry that you are feeling the loss of friends due to death and geographic moves, but man, maybe if you were a little more passionate about important things you'd have stronger relationships and wouldn't feel compelled to write such melancholy posts.

I still like most of the stuff you write man, (and you'll remain on my blogroll.)
Keep up the good work, and I hope you get to feeling better.

Bob said...

Hey Bob . . . I know it must be tough to have had so many move away at one time. You can keep in touch but it's not the same as having them close by. Here's hoping there are others near you who will soon benefit from your wit and good humor.