I can now say, technically speaking, that I have been in an airplane accident. My plane to Houston collided with a neighboring plane while we were pushing back from the gate. The passenger next to me was kind enough to take a picture of the damage (as best as she could manage through the window) with my camera. If you take a look at the picture, you can see the damage -- we lost a small chunk from the trailing edge of our wing tip, and the other plane lost a small chunk from the leading edge of its stabilizer.
Talking with a flight attendant, I asked about the airline's internal operational policy and protocol for handling such an incident. What can I say? I'm curious about dull things. Among other less interesting things, I learned that those responsible will each receive a $25 bonus. Seriously.
Whenever there is a safety incident (such as the ramming together of two $30M planes), policy dictates that all involved be screened for drug use. Good policy, without a doubt. A separate policy point, created as part of a random drug screening initiative, dictates that Continental compensate an employee with $25 for the time and inconvenience associated with a drug screening. Not a bad policy, I suppose. Thus, the collective operational policy dictates that a $25 bonus goes to the guy that crashed our plane. Power to him, I say.
I suggested that maybe they could screen me too. After all, getting a drug test and/or a bonus on my way to training camp could make the experience feel more like going to a pro cycling camp. Besides, twenty-five bucks is twenty-five bucks. But alas, screening passengers was not part of the protocol, so no bonus for me. I must have looked pretty disappointed, because the flight attendant then added that although the guy was getting the bonus, he was probably also likely to become unemployed. I'm already unemployed, I admitted, hoping for another shot at the bonus. No luck.
Anyway, back to cycling... I am now going to be 9 hours late to camp. I am just hoping that my bag will be there when I get there. I will miss orientation and arrive after everyone else is asleep. Hopefully, I can still get my shipping box from the hotel storage room and assemble my bike before I go to bed. My roommate, who I have not met, will probably have engaged the safety lock on the door thus preventing me from sneaking in. He will likely hate me for waking him up at midnight.
Rocky introductions can sometimes lead to good friendships, so I'll try to hold out some hope that he may eventually come to like me. In the meanwhile, I'll be sure not to ride behind him in a pace line.