This is about fear of flying in the literal sense of the term and yeah, I suffer from it. I keep it under control…relatively…even as my insides turn to a churning mass of angst at every bump and sound I deem unusual. But let’s face it. EVERYTHING is unusual about flying. There’s nothing normal about being packed inside a large tin can with a bunch of oft angry strangers and then being propelled down a long, rough patch of concrete and lifted into the wild blue through some crazy, unexplainable lift-thrust-drag-what-the-fuck aeronautical science.
Wait…is it actually science? Or is it physics? Or is it physical science? Naturally, I looked it up and I still don’t really know so it doesn’t matter. I’m still going to fly. And I’m still going to fear it. I’m going to follow all the other trusting souls who don’t know shit from shinola about the dynamics of flight. Much the way I still trust major corporations who claim they don’t share customer information. I know there’s a fine print loophole but I choose to ignore it. I’m hoping the airlines don’t have their own fine print loophole:
Dear Customer: Most of you wonder how in the Sam Hill these dadgum planes get off the ground in the first place, huh? Well what a coincidence! We don’t really know either but we’re sure THIS flight is totally safe. LOL. And while we’re at it, we’re compelled to mention here that any complaints, questions or requests that we deem unreasonable will result in being forcibly removed from the aircraft by officers wearing POLICE jackets who may or may not actually be law enforcement officials.
Namaste, United Airlines
And so I board. Trusting. Hoping. Believing. Sneaking a peek into the cockpit in hopes of seeing a whole lotta gray hair on the pilot rather than Doogie Howser’s evil twin. Even a thick mane of gray does little to alleviate my fear of flying.
There is always something.
On a recent flight to I-don’t-remember-where, I noticed something strange. Caught between the double panes of glass in the window seat where I was sitting, was a bee. Needless to say, aforementioned bee was deceased. It made me sad because bees are having quite a hard time right now dodging all the environmental toxins and pesticides Monsanto has been so gracious to bless us with. But I wondered how he/she got in there. Aren’t plane windows supposed to perfectly sealed so the cabin stays properly pressurized? Or something like that? My brain immediately started conjuring scenes from Air Force One and all sorts of plane disaster movies where people get sucked out through tiny holes in the fuselage.
I had to take action.
I pulled my seat belt low and tight across my lap until I couldn’t feel my legs, put my tray table in its full upright and locked position, studied the safety information card located in the seat pocket in front of me, made sure I could reach under my seat and pull up the seat cushion in the event of a water landing and promised myself I’d put on my oxygen mask first before helping others. (Yeah…I’m that nerd who actually listens to the flight attendant.)
That poor, unfortunately bee obviously had no fear of flying. But he/she clearly never listened to the safety instructions. [big sigh]