Flight line courtesy

This post might not appeal to many people, but my co-workers will get it.  Sometimes, you play to a smaller crowd.  Anyway…

Driving the flight line truck around work today made me realize there are many forms of courtesy on the flight line.  I’m referring specifically to how you recognize (or fail to recognize) somebody driving the opposite way going past you.  I’ll break them down, in no particular order.  At any given time you’ll use one of these, and you’re never quite sure which until it happens; you may also surprise yourself with a combo of a few of them.  It’s an interesting dance.

The head nod. Just a simple downward tilting of the head.  This could easily be passed off as stretching your neck if the other driver big-times you (see below for that definition).  Surprisingly, this isn’t the smallest gesture you can do.  Used when you don’t recognize the other person and want to appear cool.

The four-finger raise while the thumb stays on the wheel. This would be the minimum.  Four fingers up but both hands on the wheel, one hand only (the other stays closed on the wheel).  This is usually a last-minute move when the other person recognizes you in some way and you weren’t going to recognize them.

The head raise. The opposite of the head nod, a slight raising of the head and elevating of the eyebrows.  Similar situations as with the head nod; it just depends on which way you want your melon to go.

The full-hand wave. This is the move for when you recognize the other driver.  It’s like an air-five.  Usually reserved for co-workers.

The big-time. This is when you see the other driver, they give you some form of courtesy, and you do nothing in return.  You have bigger fish to fry, or you’re checking a text on your phone you shouldn’t have with you on the flight line.  Whatever the reason, it’s more important than the other driver, even though you just crushed them for a second.

The “pretend I’m looking at the passenger and talking to him/her.” Maybe you recognize the other driver and don’t like him/her; maybe it’s a co-worker you don’t like.  You don’t want to big-time them so you talk to your passenger, or play with the stereo at the last second.  Bonus points if you act like you got a call on the radio and pick it up, or grab the flight schedule and pretend to read it.

The stare. This is the rarest: you just stare at the other driver like a terminator sizing them up as they drive by.  Sometimes you’re daydreaming, sometimes you’re barely awake.  Sometimes you’re trying to determine if they’re a man or woman.  Sometimes you’re just fucking with them.

If you can think of more, feel free to post a reply.


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