Friday, February 17, 2012


Communication is the key to any marriage.  While especially true when married to a pilot, it is infinitely more challenging.  Over 22 years, I have developed some techniques that others may find useful.  Getting a PilotHusband to actually pay attention when you speak requires a little finesse.

Sometimes, to get your point across, you have to speak their language... specifically dialogue from their favorite "guy" movies.  If I want my PilotHusband to cheer up, I quote Donald Sutherland in Kelly's Heroes... "It's a big beautiful bridge.  It's gonna be there. Woof woof".  If I want to convey to Pilot Husband that there is no point in arguing with me about something, I quote Sgt. Spears from Band of Brothers... "Your problem, Private Blythe, is that you haven't accepted the fact that you are already dead.  As soon as you realize that, things will go much better for you". (Okay, that one is a little harsh, but effective).  If I'm trying to express the fact that PilotHusband is going overboard with something, I quote George Kennedy in Cool Hand Luke... "Ain't no man alive can eat sixty eggs".  If I want PilotHusband to handle the chaos of daily life a little better, I go with Robert Duval in Apocalypse Now... "I love the smell of Napalm in the morning...".  You can talk about your needs and feelings all day long, and get nowhere.  But pull out one good John Wayne quote, and he'll completely understand your point!  You just have to learn their language.

Another useful technique is what I like to call "The Waiting Game".  It is a little known fact that Pilots physically cannot hear you when you speak unless they ask you a question first.  The presence of a question mark means their Pilot brains have flipped on their auditory circuits, and they are now able to hear you.  This is evidenced by the time I told PilotHusband no less than 6 times over the course of a day that we were expected at a neighbor's house for dinner at 8:00.  He heard none of it.  Only when he turned to me and said "What time are we supposed to be there?" was he able to actually hear that which I had been telling him all day.  So now, I utilize "The Waiting Game".  I offer up no information, independently.  I simply wait for him to ask me what is going on, then I answer, knowing he can finally absorb the information.

Sometimes PilotHusband does not want to communicate with other people (besides me).  Since the invention of Caller ID, he can more effectively avoid talking to people like DepressedPilotBuddy who just got furloughed, or AngryPilotBuddy who is going through a bad divorce, or his own parents.  That leaves AngryPilotWife stuck on the phone, playing therapist to PilotBuddies (which I don't mind), or talking to my in-laws (which I really do mind).  The best way to get a PilotHusband to take a call is to pick it up first, hand him the phone, and tell him its Crew Scheduling.  It works every time!

While extreme, there is another method for communicating with a Pilot.  Use their years of training to your advantage.  Order a tabletop Unicom radio as well as a handheld one from the Sporty's Catalogue.  Everyone knows Pilots actually do listen to what they hear on a radio.  Turn on the hand held radio, and leave it in the room with him.  Go to the tabletop Unicom radio and start talking.  He will actually hear, understand, and retain what you say!  He will even respond!  This technique may set you back a few hundred dollars, but it's cheaper than a divorce attorney.

Finally, when all else fails and you simply MUST inform your PilotHusband about some vital piece of information, get one of his PilotBuddies to put it on Airline Pilot Central's forum.  Get somebody like "Herman" to publish a post saying your daughter's dance recital is next Saturday at 7:00.  At least he will read it.

1 comment:

  1. I would swear we are married to the same man, except he couldn't be lying on both of our couches for that many days of the month!!