Within the flying community in which we live, we’re used to our menfolk being around at odd hours, or leaving with a suitcase in the middle of the night. We see men in uniform climbing into chauffeur-driven airport cars, having kissed their wives and children goodbye, and returning home several days later, sometimes more.
But, over the past few months, a new trend has emerged that’s actually taking some getting used to. Every day, I see pilots at the gym, pounding the treadmill, pumping the weights. I’m seeing pilots traipsing after toddlers when it’s cool enough outside, and taking gangs of kids to the pool. They’re at school, too, watching little Johnnie perform in puppet shows and plays; at the supermarket in the yogurt aisle; and at DIY stores, sent there by wives who are either clapping their hands with glee that odd jobs are getting done, or [whispers] engineered the whole trip to get him out the house.
Each week, these men try their best to keep up with their wife and children’s jam-packed schedules. I see them removing their Ray-Bans to wipe the sweat from their brow and fiddling with their aviator watches, realising they’ve been on the same time zone for days and that the gentle hum of the kids doesn’t stop.
It’s been lovely having DH around so much while his airplane is fixed, but I think all the wives of the A380 pilots currently working reduced hours would agree there’s a reason why our husbands do what they do. Pilots don’t like being grounded. They’re not the kind of men who can happily sit round the house picking the fluff from their toenails, while any notion that ‘size matters’ is whittled away.
Quite honestly, I’d say our menfolk don’t quite know what’s hit them. And spare a thought for them: Plucked from a life of world travel, luxury hotels, far-flung cities, restaurant meals and telly in bed, they’re suddenly faced with a whirl of six-year-old playdates, 80-kilometre school runs, to-do lists the length of a runway, mindless errands and dental appointments.
You can imagine the shock.