Monday, March 25, 2013

Fear of Flying

I have a fear of flying.  I have a fear of handing over control.  You know the old joke, the one where they say "When it's your time to go, it's your time.  But what if it's the pilot's time?" I mean, it's too much.

So, flying to Dallas this past weekend was a bit panic-inducing intimidating.  
This is my I'm Afraid To Fly Face.

I tried to distract myself.  I tried several strategies.
I wasn't quite prepared for the secruity check--niiiice fuzzy socks.

When I got to the airport,  I tried people watching to distract my mind.  I made up stories about the people.  That young couple probably just got engaged and they're flying off for a romantic weekend.  The two old ladies probably just got back from Vegas on a Golden Girls version of Thelma & Louise vacation.  But soon the stories turned a little darker.  I started wondering if these people could handle a crisis.  I wondered if it's their time.  I wondered if they could handle their seats as floatational devices.  

I tried feeling really excited about being alone.  I didn't have to worry about entertaining a baby whose ears are popping and hurting.  I didn't have to apologize to the other passengers about that said baby crying.  I didn't have to worry about putting anybody's oxygen mask on after mine, nope, just mine and done.  Oh, oxygen, that means something's wrong with the plane--distraction fail.

I tried deep breathing and eyes closed, it worked a little.  We landed in Dallas. I lived!  And thank goodness there were no problems, because the people on my plane didn't look too dependable or strong.

After an amazing weekend in Dallas, which I'll be recapping soon, it was time to fly again.

The flight was delayed which bothered everyone but me.  Delayed flight=more time on the ground where we humans belong.  People were making makeshift beds out of their carry on bags.  They were huddled around outlets with their iPads/iPods/laptops like they were roasting marshmallows at a campfire.  Checking out my fellow passengers was also making me feel better.  This group of strangers were younger, stronger, more apt to handle those exit doors and floatable seats.  They seemed dependable.

I enjoyed a little dinner on the floor during my delay. 

As I boarded, that familiar feeling of panic started to rise along with the lump in my throat.  This time, I tried a new distraction strategy--the cranky old lady strategy.

Here's how that works:
-Be amazed with the bathroom and tisk-tisk the idea of people having sex in there.  How?  How does that work?

-Get pissed about all the extra charges.  Ask questions like "What's wrong with paper money?  Nobody uses dollar bills anymore?"

-Question what difference it makes if everyone's window shade is down during take off and landing.

-Change the temperature with the air blowing nozzle 25 times in 30 minutes, it will distract you and the person next to you will love it.

-Worry about the age and experience level of the flight attendants.  Point out to your neighbor sitting next to you that the young flight attendant has a blue streak in her hair, talks like a valley girl (just that comparison will age you a few years) and is "busy" reading her Kindle.  Maybe even say a judgemental comment like "I bet she isn't reading, I bet she's sexting."  Because all the young kids sext these days.  

This strategy was working beautifully.  I was actually enjoying being an annoying old lady.  Not sure if my seatmates can say the same.

It all went by rather quickly, it was time to make my connecting flight.  Only problem was, since the flight had been delayed I only had five minutes to make my connection. The other problem was my seat was in the very back of the plane (as in the last one off the plane).

"Excuse me, do you know if the flight to Detroit was delayed?," I interrupted the young valley girl flight attendant.  

She looked up from her electronic device and said "I don't know."  Followed up with a laugh.  Was she laughing at me?

An announcement came on over the plane's loud speaker that said this, "Anyone heading to Detroit needs to run."

"I need to get to Detroit!" I yelled.  "Please, make way, I have to get to Detroit."

Then I made a joke about how nobody begs to go to Detroit and some people laughed.  It wasn't that funny, but it was late at night, so it might have been a tired laugh.  Whatever, I'll take it.  I wasn't a grumpy old lady anymore.  I was a funny, brave, old lady begging to fly.

My fellow passengers made way for me, some of them yelling "get out of her way, she's got to go to Detroit!" and "let her through!"  I told you these people were a strong, supportive looking bunch.

I made it off the plane and sprinted to my gate.  This is where I would put in a O.J. Simpson Hertz commercial reference, but that would make it creepy.  You get it right?  I was running through the airport hurdling suitcases and knocking over babies.  And I made it.  The last passenger on the last flight to Detroit that night.

That flight I told a few more jokes (I mean I was on a roll), complained about the temperature and the price of drinks, and then slept.  Landed safely in Detroit and made it home by 2:15 a.m.

Today, I am a playing the role of tired old lady.  But I think I just might have found the perfect strategy to fight my fear of flying.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Angela,

    I found the two best strategies for beating my own fear of flying were (1) doing daily relaxation exercises and (2) learning about how planes fly.