I have a ritual of sorts when flying.
I’m getting much better at managing my fear of flying, but I don’t think it’s something that will ever completely leave me. I can’t imagine ever flying a plane and not thinking about the giant bird falling out of the sky.
My flight ritual steadies my nerves a little.
Here’s how my flight usually goes after boarding
- Get organized with my pens, reading book, iPod, and journal in the pocket in front of me.
- Settle in and take out the in-flight magazine to read.
- Do the Sudoku to take my mind off the take off jitters.
- Do not listen to safety advice because I feel like if I listen it is a sign I’ll have to use it. Become engrossed in Sudoku.
- Pop head up to listen to safety advice just in case. Mind thoughts say, “Pay attention to how you blow up your jacket because you’ll need it.” Fear freaks out, “Don’t listen because you’re casting an evil spell if you bring your attention to it and you’ll have to use it.”
- Return to Sudoku with the relief of knowing that the info is useless because if the plane goes down, we’re screwed anyway, so stop worrying about it.
- Double freak out as I’m writing Point 6 as the plane is taxing. Voodoo magic will strike.
- Think happy thoughts of my destination and imagine all the fun I’ll have.
- Look out the window during take off. I feel if I am watching the motion, I have control over the aircraft and can make it fly safe, because I am magic like that.
- Grab Craig’s hand as we hit air space because there ain’t no effing way that plane can make it up. Start hyperventilating with all the weird noises, shakes, bumps and the LULL.
- Tell Craig that from now on we take road trips because that is way safer.
- Stare out the window as we bank and soar, and feel total awe at how huge the earth is and how small everything looks from up here.
- Flying is pretty cool. Return to Sudoku relaxed.
- Read articles. Get bored as they are usually uninspiring.
- Listen to iPod meditation to return to Zen.
- Watch movies as dinner arrives. Choose either comedy, or tear-jerker drama like Dear John and bawl my eyes out. Ryan Gosling gets first choice.
- Drink alcohol to calm nerves and feel important because it’s rare to get it on the plane. Unlike my first flight when I was 20 and my 2 girlfriends and I drank the plane dry of bourbon. Now I have gin to start and a red wine with dinner, maybe two. (There was this one time I had bourbon at 10:30am on the plane)
- Write a few blog posts, watch a few movies, read a book, or try to sleep. If I have my own entertainment system, I don’t because there are too many movies, games and songs to entertain myself with. No wonder ADHD is on the rise.
- Stare out the window at the fluffy clouds holding us up and be mesmerized like watching the licking camp-fire flames.
- Pace the plane and do my exercises.
- Ask for another drink should turbulence be too scary or I become too bored.
- As we descent and move closer to touchdown, I run through the maths and say statements such as, If the plane fell from this height, we’d have a better chance.” WTF? Is there even any Math for that?
- On landing heave a sigh of relief. We made it.
- Think about how fast we are moving and silently scream at the pilot to slam on the brakes, man!
- Disembark and say, “Thank God we don’t have to do that again for awhile I’m so over flying.”