What Day Is It?

Days of the week have lost almost all meaning to me. In the rhythm of my travel life, my days are measured not by what thecalendar says, but what Day I am on. For example, as I write this, the calendar says that it is Monday. And so it is. But to me, it is Day 4 of a five day trip. Yesterday was Day 3, not Sunday. This week, I have Wednesday and Thursday off, but for me, they will be the First (or Second) of Two Days Off. It’s sort of like a never ending series of space shuttle countdowns, but without the violent explosions or environmental ramifications.

I have lived this rhythm for almost 15 years. Most of the time, it is a pretty predictable cycle of so many days on and so many days off. But I couldn’t begin to tell you most of the time what the day of the week is, and as far as the actual day of the month, well, you’d have better luck asking me for lottery numbers for the Powerball. I only pay a vague attention to the actual calendar, and during the summer when the kids are out of school, I virtually ignore it.

Considering how much airline schedules can change due to personal needs or changes in seniority or domicile or a host of other factors, this is not all that surprising, and it’s actually pretty common to hear people talk about having the same outlook. And to a degree it is refreshing. Our schedules are not the humdrum of a 9 to 5 cubicle worker, because they change all the time.

In time, you learn there are only certain dates you really need to know. The first and fifteenth are pay day, so we all hail those two days, and somehow we never miss them, no matter where our minds are or what Day of the trip we are on. Bid close dates are critical info as well, as you can find your schedule gone completely to pieces if you forget to bid. October is a general date because we bid for vacations every October for the following year. And pilots at my company know that the 25 of every month is important because in the months we get our medicals, if we don’t have them turned in to the Chief Pilot’s office, we are considered non-qualified and taken off line and not paid.

I’ve learned in time that calendars and watches were made for people like my wife. My wife and I have learned to speak each other’s language, and so we still get where we need to be when we need to be there, be it on Day 1 of my trip or on the Second Day of Four Days off. Now, what happens to my brain when I retire and no longer have groups of Days to follow, I have no idea. That should be interesting, but it is many, many Days away.

–Chip Wright