I recently received a shipment of books about aircraft accidents. For lots of little reasons I find these sort of things fascinating.
Part of it is the whole Bernouilli Theorem, that I learnt in high school: “A moving jet of air or liquid produces a reduced pressure at right angles to it.” I remember being fifteen years old and reading this and my mind couldn’t comprehend it. I could get the reduced pressure thing and the lift thing but it was very hard to relate it to something as big as an aircraft.
Another reason is that I am really interested in the concept of quality control and how in-depth and complex manufacturing has to be in order to design these functional people movers, which operate in a medium never naturally designed for the human species.
I admire the courage of those who operate them. I admire the intensity and dedication and smarts they have to put into learning how to fly them and keep them in the sky. So complicated; I find driving a big bus hard enough.
I look for confirmation of things that my little brother (trained as a pilot by Cathay Pacific) told me about flying and causes of problems and things that the airlines don’t want us to know.
A few nights ago the SpankMonkey asked me why I was interested in these sort of accounts. I thought about it for a while and I came up with all of the above reasons why my interest has been sustained, as I grow older and more capable of reasoned thought, but as to why I got interested in the first place I couldn’t really remember.
I thought about it for a while but the reason that I came up with does not reflect very well on me.
Once upon a time I was married to a fellow whose family thought that he was even better than sliced bread. They never viewed me as even halfway good enough for him and the attitudes made me uncomfortably defensive, all of the time.
I wasn’t used to constant family taking it for granted that they would always stay with us, simply because they didn’t want the cost of a motel room. We were close to the airport and the city and they were always turning up, with very little notice, and they never ever bothered to ask me. Hell, even after I had my first baby, the MIL and SIL stayed the first week at our place. I had to cry and plead with my husband to get them to go elsewhere and I was feeling all the awfulness of a brand new mother.
I think the thing I resented most was that they used my house as a hotel, simply because they found it convenient, not because they were broke and couldn’t afford to stay elsewhere. They never contributed to food costs, never helped out around the house and I wasn’t confident enough to stand up to them.
Instead, my resistance took the form of passive aggressiveness. My MIL hated flying but she did it all the time; always while saying how bad it was. I felt like yelling ‘put up or shut up!’ at her but wasn’t brave enough.
Instead, I used to get out copies of air crash disaster books from the library and read them intensively. I’d never comment on them, never even mention what I was reading, pretty much always read them hidden away. They used to make me feel good, maybe because she stressed so much and I wanted to inform myself that she would have had so much more to worry about if she knew the half of what I knew.
Maybe she picked up on what I was reading, maybe not. But there is no way that succinctly reducing this story to basic facts can make me appear in a positive light.
“Oh, I started reading airline crash disaster stories because my MIL hated flying and she used my house as a hotel, before flying somewhere else, and I resented her lack of consideration”.
I was truthful about this to the SpankMonkey and, as I told him, I could almost see his mental picture of me taking a shift. Mostly, these days I am better at filtering stuff to fit in with the norm but sometimes I fail and it is at those times that I am reminded that I am a very acquired taste.