Flying in Planes With Pizza

June 7, 2008 at 12:30 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
How I Spent My Summer Vacation

  I just
checked out my GF’s blog entry concerning our trip, and I have a
correction to make.  She says I am afraid to fly.  I’m not afraid to
fly.  I’m not.
  But I am scared shitless of hitting the ground.

 
This is our vacation, our trip together.  My first real vacation in so
many years I can’t count, but only guess….so let’s say about ten
years.  I’ve had time off, but never much more than a few days at a
time.  My last "vacations" were time off for funerals.  So we’re going
up to Michigan again.  Ha, that rhymes.  People from Michigan are
called "Michiganders," but I think "Michiganians" has a better flow. 
It makes sense.  "Canadians" are what you call people from Canadia,
right?
  We’ve driven to Michigan several times in the past, for
reasons of expense or because we needed a truck and trailer to haul
Detroit’s furniture, belongings, and miscellaneous crapola.  This time
there was no need to make the twelve hour drive:  we could fly.  No
problem.  I’ve flown before, back in 1987.  The difference between this
time and last time was that then, I was a 22-year old fearless punk,
with a fiance who had a serious anxiety problem.  Her exaggerated fear
made it easy for me to be the brave one.
  Maybe this time around, I had more to live for.
 
 
You know, I always wanted to be an astronaut.  Go in space, see other
planets.  Luckily for me, I don’t think that’s going to happen.  I
honestly can’t explain the fear, and I’m not going to analyze it.  But
I will punch you in the face.  I guess what it is related to is that
since I turned 40, I have a deep fear of dying in a car wreck.  At
least it’s realistic fear–it’s not like I’m scared of the number 13,
or yellow.  (Yes, yes, I know.  Yellow kills.)
  And then Detroit
(my GF’s interweb nickname), God love her, is making light of it. 
Talking about how this is the best place to sit if we crash.  No, I
believe a bar in the airport is a better place to be if the fucking
plane crashes…as long as it doesn’t crash into the airport, for
crying out loud.  And then she’s talking about the seat being a
flotation device, which is useless because we are flying over land.
  Like a dear, she senses my anxiety….
  And eggs me on.
 
Have you ever been stabbed in the face?  Hertz, donut?  Well, it’s bad
enough being on the plane, about to take off (like being stabbed in the
face), but then the one doing the stabbing is laughing at you,
gleefully explaining to you the joy they derive from doing the
stabbing.  And can you turn your head towards me, so I can reach the
other side better?  Goddammit!
  It’s a smaller plane we are in–a
puddle-jumper (reassuring?  No.)–and so every bit of turbulence, I
feel.  How can the plane feel like we are skidding across a gravel road
when we are a million miles above the ground?  Not only that, but the
plane….she goes up, she goes down.  She swings from side to side.  I
feel every drop.  Every rise.  Every turn.  My hands have gripped the
armrest, my teeth are clenched, and my ass has a firm grip on the seat.
 
Everyone else is fine.  Some assholes are even sleeping.  What if I
scream?  Would they wake up then?  Fuckers.  The flight attendants wait
until the plane is rocking like we are white-river-rafting to casually
bring down the cart with beverages.  My gay Asian flight attendant asks
me if I’d care for something.
  "Can I get a rosary and a Valium?"
 
Not available, I guess.  Everyone in first class must have taken them. 
That’s what I get for being in row 20 behind the wing.  I settle for
orange juice and a panic attack.
  I’m reading on the plane to keep
my mind off of it, and to keep from looking out the window.  I picked
up a book by one of my favorite authors, F Paul Wilson.  Midnight
Mass–one scary book about vampires.  It kept my mind off the flight.

 
And so we land, we go do our thing, we have several days of fun and
excitement visiting the bucolic splendor of the Detroit Metropolitan
area.  Then it’s time to go back.  Oh, shit–we have to get on a plane
again.

  The flight back was worse.  I was sitting by myself,
across the aisle from Detroit and her son.  They slept peacefully, the
bastards, while I thrashed and moaned, and stiffened at every slight
move the plane made.  We are flying on unpaved air.  I’m going to die
alone in my seat.  I happen to catch a sideways look out the window
(curse my peripheral vision), and I see the ground.  I whimper
slightly, and turn back to my book.  A different book this time.  Carl
Hiaasen, writing comically about political corruption in Florida.
  Another place I’m going to end up flying to, if I don’t die here.
 
I then discovered a new level of fear.  I could see out the window, and
see the ground.  Yeah, scary.  But the plane banks to the right because
the pilot wants to fuck with me and make me shit myself.  A sideways
glance out the window–
  I can’t see the ground.
  The blonde
and buxom flight attendant has no sympathy for me.  Oh, she feigned it,
but if she really cared, she would have opened her shirt for me. 
"Anything," I pleaded, "anything to take my mind off of it."  Maybe
she’s heard that line before.
  We begin our descent.  By the way,
that’s technical talk for "Falling out of the sky."  Detroit tries to
comfort me–she came to sit by me, but it doesn’t really help because I
know she can’t cushion me if we crash.  I need a fatter girl friend. 
She’s holding my hand, and I have everything clenched tight.  I know I
am going to scream.  I need something to bite down on, but she won’t
let me use her arm, which I thought was a bit selfish.  Finally, I take
the book and place it my mouth, and bite down on it like a bullet.
  I didn’t release the book until the plane stopped rolling.

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