Friday, February 28, 2014

In which I fly on airplanes and live to tell about it

It's hard to imagine that I will ever not be afraid of flying.

I'm afraid before I fly.  I'm afraid while I'm waiting for the plane to take off.  I'm afraid while we're in the air and I even have a tiny bit of dread when we land, knowing that in a week or a month, I'll have to do it again.

I don't want to be afraid.  I have all kinds of brave and rational things that I say to myself that do help a little bit and sometimes a lot.  When we're taking off, I pray a little bit, in an embarrassed but desperate way until we get into the air.  After one minute, I remind myself that we're past the point at which most plane crashes happen and I relax a little bit.

When we hit a little turbulence, like we are right now,  I remind myself that if I were on a bumpy bus ride, I wouldn't be scared at all and this is exactly the same thing.  Except at 30,000 feet.

And when the pilot comes on the intercom to tell us that we have mechanical problems and we're turning around to land where we just left from and the flight attendant sits down looking tense, I tell myself that I am safe in the hands of God, no matter what happens.

I even kind of believe the things that I say to myself, which is what keeps me from grabbing the hand of my seat mate or curling into the fetal position and keening.

I always feel a little queasy and sometimes nauseated with fear or with that sinking elevator feeling, which I hate hate hate.  Sometimes I want to cry.  I always want to talk to someone for the distraction, but not if I'm going to cry, which means I often just distract myself with a book or a magazine.  Fiction is better than nonfiction.  I should probably try something more suspenseful and riveting than my usual fare.

What I really want is powerful drugs to knock me out for just exactly the length of the trip.  I have never ever slept on a plane.

Sometimes I know I'm such a baby and I feel embarrassed and ashamed.  But sometimes I feel like the bravest person in the world because I keep getting on airplanes anyway.

1 comment:

Electric Monk said...

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” -attributed to many people, this particular one is from FDR