When I was a lot younger I wanted to be an Air Traffic Controller. I would spend hours on flight simulator, back when you would join servers through, I think it was MSN Zone? It’s been a while…
I never really figured anything out, I just really loved the idea of flying. I’m talking days I would spend doing this, much to the dismay of my family…
I remember I got this Air Traffic Control prep book (I was a freshman in high school), my favorite fiction book was Tracon, and I wanted a piper J-3 cub so bad.
At that time I had never even been on a plane before, I just loved it!
until I stopped.
I don’t blame anybody else for any action I’ve ever taken, I want to be abundantly clear on that, but it has been healthy for me to look back and reflect on how I felt back then.
I didn’t loose interest in being a pilot, I thought I wasn’t smart enough. My grades were bad, my parents were trying to dissuade me from thinking about going to college, and I had to spend every lunch period with a tutor who had awful coffee breath and zero pedagogical prowess, because the school didn’t want us morons fucking up their test scores.
I had one teacher that I felt really connected with. I had known him for a while, and he was the first adult that I felt like I was ‘cool’ with. He was old as dirt and I think was more excited someone would listen to his stories, but still, I felt like the cool kid for once.
We were talking just after school one day and he asked what I was thinking about for college. I told him I really wanted to be an air traffic controller, but I was afraid I wasn’t smart enough.
He said “You don’t want to be an ATC, do you know how high their suicide rate is? you’ll go crazy. You should think about [What I ended up studying].“
yeah, it wasn’t one of those heartwarming ‘you can do it!’ moments. My proverbial bubble had been popped. I remember saying “Oh, definitely!” and booked it out of there to find a place to cry.
It isn’t that I don’t love what I studied, I do. But I have been wondering, what if.
It’s all in the past, and I just wanted to get that out. I don’t hold any resentment toward that teacher. I can acknowledge he said a terrible thing, but maybe that was his old-guy way of saying he saw something else in me.
Featured image by: Beckett P.