Like Flying In Heaven

I’m reading Keith Richard’s new book and it opens with him reminiscing about getting arrested in Arkansas in 1975.  They were driving from somewhere to somewhere because they’d had an especially harrowing flight and didn’t want to fly any more.  I think he described it as “much sobbing and screaming” with Annie Leibovitz hitting her head on the ceiling of the plane.

I would have driven, too, if the plane I was in dropped thousands of feet really, really fast.  I would have left the hash and cocaine on the airplane where it belonged, though. I probably would have never flown again.  Well…that’s just what anybody would say in that sitch…and then they’d get right back on like I did.  I’ve had that dropping from the sky experience and the only thing it’s good for is to give you a taste of your own stomach which has no practical benefit that I can see.   But I’m a soul who likes to wander so I just paint my yellow belly over with some happy, happy color – like black, my personal fave – and suck it up.  What choice is there?  I had a Greyhound bus experience way back when that I’ve spent years trying to forget.

So flying it shall be.

My paranoid fear of flying manifests itself in bizarre plane crash dreams with happy endings. Yeah, I know.  But I’m full of contradictions.

Often, I’m riding on the OUTSIDE of the aircraft which explains aforementioned reference to “on the horse”.  I watch calmly as we plummet into a corn field or careen down a crowded freeway all the while telling my sleeping self and those around me who may be sobbing and screaming – like people I’m supposed to know but always look like people I don’t know – that all will be well.  “Who wants to go to Miami anyway when you can use the Dan Ryan as your own personal landing strip.  Don’t get that experience every day, do ya?” I tell them.  This generally calms them down until we crash safely which usually wakes me up.

This is a recurring them for me, these quasi-crashes.  That and possessing the ability to actually fly myself.  I had a doozie the other night where I actually had to teach my husband that he could fly, too.  He was skeptical.

When I’m actually awake, I’m not a great flyer.  I don’t outwardly panic or act like an idiot even though my innards are flopping around like beached carp.

I rarely look out the window lest it remind me just how insanely far from terra firma we are and how in theee hell this contraption doesn’t drop like a stone and wouldn’t it be better if some brainiac could just invent a molecular transporter to deliver us to Aunt Jen’s in Omaha instead? It would save so much time and energy and fossil fuel.  But I guess for now, it is what it is and I’ll have to deal with the low-tech version of flying and all the shit that goes with it like security lines.  Oh, the overwhelming panic when I showed up for a flight last week and realized I was wearing boots!!  Up to the knee boots with no zipper. God damn it! My feet start swelling the minute they step foot inside an airport terminal.  Now some poor schmuck has to wait behind me while I try and wrestle these babies off my sausage feet.

But today I am having a peaceful flight.  Perhaps I’m dreaming but I’m not out on the  wing so probably not. The weather on the ground was bleak and gray and drizzly. A typical Midwestern winter.  We had to climb and climb through white, soupy haze that went on for what seems like forever until….


Bright and glorious.

A beam hits the screen of my iPad and shoots a blinding arrow of light into the left eye of the man sitting next to me. This ruined his otherwise kinda good mood. Thank the gods it’s my husband and he can tell me to tilt the fucking thing away from him without offending me.  I do and he thanks me.  He tilts his own just right and blinds me back.  Ah, revenge….the foundation of any solid marriage.

Below us is a virtual sea – an endless sea, actually – of white fluff.  It’s flat like the middle-state we just left but without any broken, winter cornstalks… or Wendy’s.

It’s cool.  Oddly peaceful.

Like flying in heaven if you believe in such things.

Or maybe it’s just because I’m going home.


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