Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Flight: A Look Into My Sky High Fears

I have horrible fear of flying. Well, really I have a horrible fear of suddenly not flying. But I love to travel and have to travel as a performer a lot, so I have gotten into the habit of just taking some Valium and hoping I sleep through the crash.
But lately, I have been thinking a lot about how despite the fact that they say flying is the safest way to travel I think it is all a hoax to lure us into that tin can hurdling through the clouds at over 500 miles per hour.
Yes, my investigation into the fear of flying does coincide with the investigation into the still mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. I'd be lying if I didn't say that now I am also afraid of boarding a plane to a mysterious fate worse than death. I couldn't take my eyes off of CNN for weeks, as I obsessively watched their ridiculous coverage, babbling interviews with "experts," and animated graphics all which led me to believe that it is possible that A) aliens have started abducting airplanes, B) there is most likely an Indian Ocean Triangle like the one in Bermuda, C) Black Holes are worse than turbulence to fly through, and D) the show Lost has finally outdone all other TV stunts by creating a real life cross-over that will sweep ratings this summer.
But once I got past all the bizarre speculation, and, like the rest of the world, came to the devastating conclusion that the people aboard this plane most likely met a horribly terrifying demise at the hands of this man made machine or possibly the pilot in charge of it, I became even more consumed with my fear of flying. Just in time to board a plane for Florida.
This called for some additional flight assistance.

And, beyond the fear of crashing and death, I have now become aware of things, thanks to all this coverage about the details of airplanes, that have broadened my fear horizons. Also including, but not limited to, the airline (like the last guy I dated) sending a wimpy text message to deliver bad news. My mother doesn't even know how to text so that would make it all the more tragic.
So thanks to my obsessive googling and CNN watching, as I board, and the flight attendant starts doing her schpeel, this is what I am pretty much hearing.
 "Hello, and welcome aboard JetBlue. We are going to try our best to get you safely to your destination. But we can't control everything. Except when you get to eat your free bag of popcorn chips during this flight.
Here at JetBlue we have the most amount of leg room. So enjoy that your slightly more space in-flight cabin is most likely covered in feces and you are breathing engine air. Oh, and speaking of bad air, if you hear someone coughing and sneezing, be prepared to come down with a nasty cold after you disembark the aircraft.
We offer you complimentary Dunkin Donuts coffee that we brew fresh on board with our water that was sloppily filled from a port right next to the one used to purge the lavatory. Refreshing.
In the "unlikely" event of an emergency.....yeah, why even go into this, how often have you heard of people talking about that fun time they got to use the slide to leave the plane? If the air becomes too stale or for some reason gets sucked out of the cabin entirely, an oxygen mask may drop down for the low charge of $3. It will provide you with just a few more breaths of air before you pass out. (Ok that charge may have been for headsets but I'm in a panic.) And turns out that life jacket under your chair may not even be there in the event you do need it, as punks like to take those as a souvenir. They light up in water you know. Super fun to test in the shower.
Our captain today will be ***** and he will most likely stay awake the whole flight. Even though nearly 50% of pilots admit to falling asleep. You know how hard it is to stay awake sitting at your desk at your job, so you understand. 
So sit back and enjoy your flight with us today."

At this point in a flight, before the plane has even left the ground, I am inconsolable. You are in a steel coffin of recycled, germ-ridden air, in an uncomfortable upright seat about to rocket 30,000 feet into the air. You know that feeling your stomach gets on a roller coaster? That is how I feel the entire flight. Minus the cotton candy fragranced air rushing past you and screams of glee. Instead I sit, my hands, wrapped in my sweatshirt so as to not touch poo, grasping the arm rests while trying desperately to tune out the screams of the ever-present in flight annoying baby and the seemingly too loud sounds of the engine. If my car engine was making that noise I'd be rushing it to a mechanic, are they sure this plane is safe?

And then as we start to take off, the most alarming sound comes, a loud dinging that goes along with the flashing of the exit lights by the aircraft's doors. Why is that happening? Why would I want to exit now? How would I exit? Oh god! This is it! Just look out to the clouds and try to find some zen!
Really, all of my trust and control issues come out. This pilot....who is he and can we trust him? True story, I once was on a four hour flight where the pilot came out of the cock pit to stand and flirt with the flight attendant for over an hour. It was all the strength I had to not jump up and yell "Who is flying the plane? Get back in there sir and at least pretend you are doing something!"

But, despite my in-air breakdown, I land (safely) in Florida. Though the fear of having to do it all again to return home not only haunts me daily throughout my vacation, but also causes me to entertain the thought of taking up residency there. Perhaps landing a job being Daisy Duck......


  1. Bwahaha! Perhaps the most revealing part of this post is that your mother doesn't know how to text. Teach her, for goodness' sake.

    1. Teaching her to use the cell phone took so long that we all lost interest in covering higher functions