Monday, December 26, 2011

Planes

I hate planes! There, I have said it. Really, I don't hate planes but I hate flying, or rather I am petrified of flying. Why you may ask? Simple, I am not in control of said plane flying into a mountainside or plummeting to earth from 40,000'. 
 
This puts me in a quandary because I love to travel. I have often dreamed of travelling the world like so many others. To see places I have longed to go, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Galapagos Islands, Peru, Argentina and most especially, Mt. Everest from Nepal! I inhale travel story books like there is no tomorrow; Michael Palin is my fave. However, to get to said destination, I have to fly.
 
Perhaps a little background into my fear of flying. When I was younger I flew a couple of times from Prince George to the big city of Vancouver. When I was 16, I went to see my relatives in Germany and I flew on a Ward Air (remember them?) Jumbo 747. It was beautiful and I was awestruck. This enormous jet was going to ferry me and 400+ people off to Europe. I loved it. I loved wandering all over that jet taking pictures and I was even allowed in the bar on the upper level (so cool). That flight was my longest at 8+ hours and then I had to take another plane to finally reach the town. It was great there and back. My setback happened when I flew to the Baja in 1992. The flight there was good, the flight home was anything but. The pilot had indicated, after the fact, that we had hit a bit of turbulence. Well, no shit Sherlock! I guess when the jet drops 5,000' in one minute there is cause for concern. I was almost in the fetal position on the floor, wedged under my seat. Some people screamed, I just prayed over and over and over. Now when something happens in dramatic fashion, one minute or 60 seconds can last an eternity. Even when we did stabilize, I was done. That flight sucked the living being out of me.
 
I never flew again until 1998 when my husband and I flew to Las Vegas for our short honeymoon. Do you realize how easy it is to get people in a panic on a plane flight? Really easy as I soon came to know. We were seated near the wings which some people say is the best place to sit. I personally believe the rear of the plane is the safest. Anyhoooo, as we were climbing, at least I thought we were climbing, I heard the engines wind down. Well, holy crap, I just about flew into my husband's lap and my fingers were deeply pressed into his arm (to this day he bears the scar). The stewardess saw what was happening and promptly came over and assured me, all was okay (she could have slapped me across the face like in the movie airplane!). Apparently, when jets reach cruising altitude, the engines wind down. Who knew. All the other passengers thought for sure something was happening when I panicked. I was going to apologize but it seemed like most people were ready to kill me anyhow for how I acted so I just kept quiet. My husband thought next time we flew (the next time??, WTF?), I should consult our Doctor on medicating myself (valium instantly came to mind). Alas, it was not valium but a pill that calms your nerves. I was suppose to take 1 as soon as I felt anxiety coming on......I took 3. Was I calm; not a chance but I didn't freak out that time.
 
Since then, I have flown to Toronto and New York City this past year, both times without medication. I still fear flying and my next big test comes in February when we fly to Florida to go on a cruise. I can't say that I won't visit my Doctor before the trip but I will try not to. I have found that putting on my ear phones and pumping the volume up so high that I can't hear the engines does help. Many people ignore the stewardess as they do their spiel at the beginning of the flight on safety. Not me, I am rapt with attention and I study the book. I don't ever want to be in a situation where I do not know what to do. 
 
If you ever find yourself booked on a flight with me, change planes or hold my hand!
 
Merry Christmas Peeps. Have a safe and magical holiday season!
 
With love, QT
 
 

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