Driving ATVs

So, I think I’ve mentioned this girlfriend that I have. When I was stuck in the tree, I managed to get part of a message out to her with my cell phone, but then she was left worrying for a couple of hours until I got down. She has never liked the idea of my hang gliding, going way back, though she has come along several times and taken pictures, and usually seemed to enjoy the experience. The vibe that I got from the beginning was not that she was worried about something happening to me, but that I was going off doing something that did not involve her. I got the sense that she would have felt the same if I had become a Mason, or if I got seriously into R/C flying, or if I took up billiards, or whatever. Even the activity that brought us together (orienteering) has been met with objection when there have been times when I wanted to go off to a meet but it didn’t fit her schedule. Once I blew up my glider, of course, that gave her ammunition, and the focus shifted more to the risks and danger.

After the wingover incident, I noticed that she had told her sister that I would probably be taking a break from flying for a couple of months. That was interesting, because it gave me insight into how long she expected that I would be away from it, but when we discussed it, she indicated that she would really rather that I stop flying altogether. She likened hang gliding to drunk driving, since they are the two things that have resulted in her getting a phone call and then having to wait to find out whether a loved one was in peril (her ex drove his car into a ditch coming home from a party once).

By now it has been almost three months since my last flight. A couple of weeks ago, there was a great opportunity to go flying. It was a day when I had no commitments, and the forecast was good for Mt. Utsayantha in New York. I mentioned to her that I was thinking of going, and she called me back soon afterwards and said that she had a problem with that, and was clearly agitated. I said okay, that I wouldn’t go. I didn’t, and it sounds like it was a great day. I’m glad that those who did go got some good airtime.

Today… the forecast looked good for a couple of sites around here. Real good. Nobody was available to fly, though. I had said back in July that I was hoping to do some XC retrieve driving later in the summer, but that didn’t work out. However, it came to my attention mid-morning that one of the sites that the forecast was good for was Morningside. I headed up and arrived early afternoon.

Indeed, it was blowing pretty much straight in, though rather light, and therefore a great day for lessons. There’s more than one way to drive for people, and if nobody needs an XC retrieve, there’s also the Morningside hill with its ATVs and glider trailers. It was a nice day to be outside in New England, with the maple leaves changing colors, and I was able to drive a number of student pilots (both HG and PG) up to the various launches. It seems that people know who I am now — throwing a chute is one way to gain some notoriety, I guess. Among the people I drove for was a very tall guy who I realized was $!><, who I had encountered on line. Not enough wind for anybody to really soar, but a pleasant enough day.

I talked with the abovementioned girlfriend mid-day by cell phone, but didn’t discuss where I was, and I also exchanged text messages with one of her kids regarding whether she needed a ride that evening (finally turned out that she didn’t). As I was leaving Morningside, I talked with my girlfriend again, and she asked what I had been doing. I paused, then told her “Driving ATVs”. She knew what that meant, since there’s only one place I’ve ever driven an ATV in my life. She got very quiet, and said that she wanted to talk to me about it later.

Another phone call while I was driving home revealed that she was very upset. Very very upset. Crying upset. At wit’s end upset. What’s wrong with my driving people up the hill?, I asked. It showed that I was still thinking about hang gliders, she replied. There was also some malarkey about how she had wanted me to help her out with some things today, but that makes no sense because she never mentioned it before that moment, despite ample opportunity. If she had, I would have gone and helped her out instead.

So, it appears that I have managed to type out a rant in my blog. We appear to have an unresolvable problem here. If I stop flying, I’m going to resent her every time I so much as see a nice cloud, and I’ll wind up hating her. If I keep flying, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth whenever I do, and it will make the experience unpleasant, and I’ll wind up hating her. This is not good.

There was something else, but I can’t think of what it is right now…

flights: 6, airtime: 0:14


About cleversky

Hang glider pilot in New England since 2004. Also an avid orienteer, and an embedded systems firmware engineer. And some other outdoor stuff.
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