“Women shouldn’t be pilots.”
“Lord, girl, why would you THINK that, let alone SAY it?”
“We’re too emotional. We don’t do well in a crisis.”
I dropped the dog’s leash. I didn’t want Vanessa to see how emotional I was becoming in this crisis. I might choke her with it.
“You don’t call calmly ferrying your sick kid to the emergency room, with your husband a pool of melted butter beside you, handling a crisis with serious aplomb?”
“That’s instinct. A mother taking care of her offspring.”
“What if your kid was in the helicopter? Wouldn’t you want to know how to fly it, just in case?”
“My kid wouldn’t be in a helicopter.”
“What if he had to be airlifted out of a remote location? They use helicopters for that.”
“San Francisco is as remote as it gets for us.”
“Ok, I give up. Gotta go. The dog’s getting anxious.”
“It’s an act.”
“She’s good, isn’t she?”
During the O.J. Simpson trial my own sister stated, matter-of-factly, that Marcia Clark should not be a lawyer. She didn’t believe Ms. Clark was a capable attorney? That’s what I thought she meant. Until she clarified her position, and said that no woman should be a lawyer.
My sister is an educated woman. But, at that time she was married to a passive aggressive numbskull. For 20 years she performed what she considered as her wifely and motherly duty. She took care of her two beautiful kids, and her husband. And then she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. While she was convalescing at home, after the surgery, with a feeding tube in her stomach, he filed for divorce.
Eventually she recovered, but the brain tumor returned. It’s on the left side of her head, and when she walks, she leans to the left. It’s a slight, almost imperceptible lean, but its there.
The funny thing is, if that’s the right word, and it probably isn’t, is this: she’s become more liberal. When she was married to the numbskull her conservatism was devout. Now, she believes we should have a single-payer healthcare system. On this issue alone she can become as riled as a nanny goat protecting her kid.
I know. This is hilarious! A brain tumor caused my sister to lean to the left!
Women should be, and do, whatever they want to be and do. I hope we can we agree on that.
Elizabeth Cook Peebles would agree. She’s a helicopter pilot – in Dubai – of all places. Imagine.
As a health instructor for a weight loss company, Ms. Peebles’ office faced the runway of a small airport. She found herself watching that flight path. And she dreamed. She signed up for flying lessons. She loved it! She moved on to helicopters, and loved it more. In short order she earned 7 pilot’s licenses; 2 in small planes, 5 in helicopters.
In Las Vegas she flew tourists over the Grand Canyon. While there, she met her husband. That’s a great bonus, isn’t it, as we all know a woman is incomplete without a man. Just ask my sister. Ok, that was unnecessary, but fun. Ms. Peebles met a man who appreciated her intellect, her skill, and her career choice. When they learned of an opportunity with an aviation service company in the United Arab Emirates, off they went.
Over time, she grew used to the shock that registered on the faces of the Dubai businessmen when she greets them from the cockpit. Always they are respectful, she says. More so, she stipulates, than the Western passengers she once ferried over the Grand Canyon.
Ms. Peebles is the first woman to fly offshore in Abu Dhabi. Often she flies to remote locations where the workers have not seen a woman in 6 months. In a land not known for open-mindedness with regards to their own women, they treat her with respect. Once she flew an Indian gentleman to a refueling station in the middle of the desert. He told her it seemed as if she were a fictional character out of a book. He said he would tell his wife and daughters about her. Its something they would never have thought possible. And that opens their minds to what women can do. She loves it that she can be that small catalyst to acceptance.
“You’ve made your point.”
“Damned straight, girl! I’m glad you had a boy and not a girl. You can’t be teaching girls they shouldn’t be one thing or another.”
“My boy won’t be a helicopter pilot either.”
“Oh, what do you have in mind for him?”
“Gynecologist. I never met a woman gyno that knew what she was doing.”
Thanks for listening… Dream big! Do you know a woman with an unusual vocation…for a woman?