Going back to school can be uplifting

Sometimes, you do things that come right out of the blue, and this time, it really was, literally, out of the blue.

The big blue sky, I mean. Maybe I should explain.

You see, I went back to school recently, which was unplanned, unexpected and another descriptive adjective (or perhaps maybe even an adverb) that I can’t think of right now.

I always really liked school, like, a lot, unless you count the part that I didn’t like. Which was essentially high school.

Elementary at South School was great. Central School was great. Red Deer College was great. U of A was great, and then reality set in, and it was all like work, work, beer, family and everything else that was actually quite great.

But there’s been quite a pile of miles, and later, kilometres put on the old life-meter since I last sat in a desk in a school and stared out the window daydreaming and trying to learn how to twirl my pen like the cool kids in class.

So I was quite trepidatious and full of nervosity when I signed up for flight school. Three whole days of intense lectures and exams and flight tests seemed undauntable and full of lugubriousness, so much so, in fact, that I began to make up words.

But I knew I had the right stuff and the right thumbs to become a totally excellent pilot, so I headed to the cheap hotel in Edmonton wherein the flight school was scheduled.

The ground school portion of the flight school would cover how to use the radio “comms” (which is flight-speak for “communications” or maybe “communism”).

We would be taught how to say “10-4” and “over and out” and “Mayday, Mayday!” (which would no doubt come in handy). And we’d learn the names of the aviation alphabet, where A is for Avocado (I think) and B is for Betty, and C is for Kumquat and so on.

And we’d also have to learn about the weather, on account of most of our flying would be outdoors in the weather per se, and so apparently, we needed to know about clouds and wind and how to read a digital thermometer.

And since understanding and predicting the weather is an amusing pipe dream, I planned on catching up on my phone messages during that part of the school, or stealing a quick nap, which was a trick I learned in Mr. Mills’ Science 20 class at the Comp.

Then after another long, boring day going over flight regulations, rules and maps and other tedious stuff like safety and wings and engines, etc., Sunday was the scheduled fun day.

Sunday was the flying part — three straight hours of gruelling, sweaty, thumb-busting work learning how to fly. And since it was amusingly predicted that it would rain all weekend, we were disappointed to learn that the actual flying part of the school would take place indoors.

So there we were in a gymnasium, ready to slip the surly bonds of earth, to take off into the, um, large room, and soar several meters around and around on “laughter-silvered wings” of new-found freedom and glorious aerobotical liberty.

So I wiggled my thumbs to loosen them up, gripped the controller in both hands, took a big breath, and pushed the little levers forward, and my three-pound gleaming white Phantom IV drone hummed and then levitated, as if by magic. And then crashed right into the wall.

But they gave me my flying licence anyway.

So you might want to wear a helmet when you’re out for a walk.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.

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