A little bit of knowledge is a terrible thing

Let me set the scene: I headed downstairs to our building's café to grab a salad for lunch.  We are in a smaller building, and people in the café pretty much all know one another.  The second I walked in, the "mayor" of the cafe, who perches at his seat from 11:30 - 12:30 every single day, jumped right on me.  "JOANNA, what do you think of all the news?!?!?!"

There was recent local news of a big airline dropping a significant number of flights at our airport.  To me and my family this means that if they drop the pilot base, we will most likely be relocating...

Again, this could mean a possible RELOCATION for us...for us and our children.  What if we make the wrong move?  We only want to move once, and the move has to be perfect for us.  This is a critical time for our kids and their enrichment and development...it is our duty to provide the best for them.  I can't fuck this up.  I have a significant amount of weight on my shoulders right now with all these decisions.  

This news is more than just "shit, now I have to connect all the time."  Well boo-fuckin'-hoo.  To us this means a possible RELOCATION where we uproot our family from a house and town we love, with schools that are top ranked.   The news REALLY impacted our house.  The news still stings.  

I told him what I thought, and how it would impact us.

And then the conversation starts getting good...

I can handle the mayor, he is totally fine.  He works by himself in a single office, so his lunch hour is social.  I am social.  We are good.  What I didn't take too well was his table-mate...a man I have never seen before in my life, and a man that I never care to see again.

Last time I checked, it isn't good social grace to insult a person twice within five minutes of meeting them, right?  Yeah...he was *that* kinda guy.

Let me give you a visual of this man.  Older, probably late 50s, early 60s.  Gray hair, bald on top.  Glasses.  He was sitting, so I didn't catch his height.  But, I sure did notice his pot belly under his forest green sweater.

I have no idea what he does for a living, nor do I care.  What I do know is that back in the day he used to date all the XAirlines "stews".  Because that is always great news to broadcast to a total stranger within five minutes of meeting them.  Sir, I am glad you got yourself some good action, back in the day.  This, apparently, gave him some sort of "in" with all the airport news.  And when I say "back in the day" it was probably before I was BORN!  Doubt the man can even get it up these days without the use of that precious little blue pill.  Ok, so you had some relations with a couple gals back in the day...doesn't mean you know squat about the airlines these days.

Oh, and then he made the point that he used to travel "a lot".

I love when people say that.  You know what "a lot" of travel is?  12,000 flight hours at the age of 39.  That is what my husband has, give or take.  When you fly 1-5 legs a day, 4 days a week, since 1999...then let's talk.  Pilot talk hours.  Passengers talk miles.  Miles are a fluffed number.  I like to keep things straight and use hours.  Miles don't impress me.

So, you and your "a lot" of travel...as if this would further solidify your expertise in the airline industry.  Like I give a shit if you have X thousands of miles. Ok, so you fly a lot.  Good for you. So, you may know the gates at airports.  And let's get fancy here, perhaps you also know the airport codes, too!  Perhaps you know the monthly articles in the inflight magazine, and the inflight beverage menu.

Good for you...but, don't try to convince me that you somehow have an "in" with the industry because of all the "stews" you banged and all the miles you logged.

Tell me, Mr. Jackass, what is the starting salary of an FO on a regional airline?  When it was my husband, his first year's salary was $17K.  You didn't know that, did you?!  Oh, but you also think that FOs don't really fly the planes, so they shouldn't make more than that, right?  They just do the radios, right?  Yeah...that is how is goes up there.  

You didn't know the difference between a hub and a pilot base.  You didn't know that the 787 is called the Dreamliner.  And if I would have said Triple Seven, I wasn't talking about slots at the casino, although I know that is what you would be thinking.

And then you go and lay out the question "what does he fly, the 737-300?"   I laughed inside.  If you were such an expert this airline, you would have know that they only fly new-gens now.  As if  laying out the 300 means that you actually know something about planes.  Well, sir...the 737-300 was launched the exact year you had your last way with a "stew".  Impressed, I am not.  A little bit of knowledge is a terrible thing.

I left the cafe that day very frustrated.  What a dick of a man.

** I realize this post is very mean.  I am not usually a mean person, but this guy really rubbed me the wrong way, and I had to just release it!  Thanks for listening to my vent, and please don't think that I am an asshole :)

(edited to add)
** A reader pointed something out to me, so I want to add a couple more points to this post.  I understand that passengers, whether they be frequent or not, ultimately provide my husband with a job, and for this I am thankful.  Also, I do not mean to disrespect fliers who actually are "in the know" with aviation.  I understand where you stand. I respect you and enjoy conversations with you.  This post really is directed to the person who thinks they are "in the know" but they really know very little.  As with any industry, including MINE which Mr. Jackass actually insulted to my face, we all find people like this.


  1. No no, THAT guy was an asshole. And a little snark from you is a beautiful thing.

  2. These guys. The same guys that tell you about the weather at destination and why it doesn't make sense that we are delayed. Well said. I found your blog the other day. We've been cooped up with cabin fever stuck in doors. I write from the other side - as a pilot and father at threestorks.com

    1. Welcome!

      Oh yeah, I am sure he is that guy to comment on weather decisions.

      Love your site!

  3. I have had at least three people tell me in the last month (when they find out my husband is a pilot) that pilots are superfluous. The autopilot does all the work anyway. *sigh* I try not to engage. Anyway, hoping they don't drop the base and you can stay where you are!

    1. So frustrating when you get comments like that...as if these people even know what they are talking about. Sigh, is right!

  4. Venting is always good, and since this is your space...have at it! But, as a very frequent flier who measures the world in miles, I am compelled to speak up in my (and anyone else like me who are NOT in the same category as Ol' Pot Belly Limp Dick you encountered) defense. You'd be surprised how in tune to the industry many of us are. We fly a lot because we love aviation and everything about it. One need not be on the flight deck to truly be considered an AvGeek. I say this because sometimes those of us who do "fly A LOT" actually are in the know. I read more than Hemispheres, and I do have interactions with many industry analysts and insiders, so my knowledge is more than just cursory. I just wanted to make sure we don't all get lumped into the "if you're not a pilot you don't know shit" category. And, just a gentle reminder that those of us who DO measure our experience in miles...while they may be fluff, we are pretty much the reason the pilot jobs exist, so a little respect, please. : )

    1. Oh, I have respect for you. No question! But here is the big difference between you and "Limp Dick" (love that, by the way!)...you have a lot of knowledge...not a little and act like you know it all, like him.

      My boss is actually a very frequent flier, and I enjoy discussing things with him. I enjoy talking with people who know the industry. It is actually refreshing to talk to people who are "in the know" because you can talk to one another and be on the same page.

      I should have clarified that in the post above, and perhaps I should edit it to reflect the difference.

      Oh, and believe me, I do respect the fact that travelers are what ultimately put food on our table. :)


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