As a requirement for my job, I recently had to complete my Diversity and Equality Awareness training online. If you have not done your training yet, please stop reading right now. Spoilers are coming.
Still here? Fine. Let’s continue.
One of the tests I had to do was the one with the pilot and the nurse. It goes like this:
“A pilot and a nurse get married and go on honeymoon on their private plane. Suddenly, a flock of birds smashes the window and he is left unconscious. Despite this, she is able to land the plane safely. How was this possible?”
To my biggest shame, I failed the test miserably. I gave four answers and none of them was right. It never occurred to me that the simplest answer is always the right one:
“the woman was the pilot, the man was the nurse.”
I have always been a feminist, so I was mortified. A (kind) psychologist would argue that I have been socially programmed by a patriarchal society since birth. It is not strange that I reproduce their patterns, even if I do it unconsciously. I could say that the photo accompanying the caption (“the pilot and the nurse”) was misleading: the man was on the left, the woman on the right. Instead, I decided to stop making excuses and focus on the answers I did give. What did they teach me about myself?
First answer: He had taught her to pilot. It proves the couple had a relation of friends and companions, who shared their respective interests. He never patronised her, never said “you do not know about these things”. That is the kind of relation I aim for in real life.
Second answer: She had trained as a pilot, but was working as a nurse. This answer was influenced by having been an undergraduate in 1990s Spain. Unemployment was extremely high, and we were painfully conscious that having a university education did not guarantee a job in the field we trained for. There were talented people with qualifications doing generic jobs. Like them, the lady in the test might have not had her chance to use her skills.
Third answer: She called control tower and followed their instructions. It proves that the woman was perfectly able to remain calm under pressure and figure out a solution quickly.
Fourth answer: When faced with losing the man she loved, she did the impossible and landed the plane. Perhaps a very romantic answer, but it means she was a person who would do anything to protect her beloved ones. On the other hand, I always loved happy endings.
I realised I was quite pleased with the answers I gave, even if none of them was the correct. I might be bad at online training, but maybe I have a future as a novelist.