“Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is your Captain speaking….”
It seems a lot longer than five weeks since I last made that announcement. In the time of the virus, we have all had to curtail our travel and a whole lot more, but for someone whose work is travel, it is a strange world indeed.
Like most of my colleagues, I have been stood down. Adjusting to an open-ended grounding hasn’t been easy. But I’ve come up with a few ways to try to keep things as normal as I can.
Firstly, and this is my favourite, I ensure I check my work emails multiple times a day and obsessively check that my manuals and charts are all up to date. You never know…
Then, every few days, I pack my bags, get into my uniform, and move to the spare room. I then unpack and socially-distance myself from everyone. I binge-watch Netflix and Stan, along with YouTube and so on. Maybe read a book. I call my family on WhatsApp just to stay connected.
Phase one complete.
Phase two. In the middle of the night, when everyone is asleep, I descend to the kitchen and prepare for flight. I arrange my pre-packaged meal and heat it in the microwave. My cutlery is removed from the freezer, as is my bread roll. I then sit in the dark, ensure some white noise is playing over my headphones, and enjoy my meal while staring into the dark nothingness, surrounded by as many screens as I can find, displaying rarely changing information. Ahh! Such bliss!
As the sun rises, I return to the spare room and attempt to sleep. When I awake, I call room service and order some breakfast. My wife (who has the patience of a saint) brings my food on a tray. I tip her generously and she leaves. But not before she gives me a look which is simply beyond description.
17 April 2020