This is a copy of a blog I wrote on March 18th of last year. This past Monday was the one year anniversary of my very first flight, and I have to admit… My next trip to New Orleans was by train. This past November I flew back to Jersey to see my mom, and I burst into tears as soon as we became airborne. I’m never going to get the hang of flying.
Anyway, I dug this out of the dusty ruins of my old Myspace blog…
Last week, Monday morning to be exact, I was having a total meltdown panic attack.
What could possibly be wrong, you ask? I was off work for the next five days, I was on my way to the beautiful city of New Orleans to spend time with my wonderful Man... Money wasn't an issue, my hair looked great, and-- best of all-- I was wearing jeans that made my tushie look spectacular. Life should be good, right?
So why the hyperventilating?
See, I was standing on a plane. I'd never been on a plane before.
Well, there was that time when I was 4 and mom took us to Florida, but I don't count that. I was too small to understand exactly what was happening.
Leaving the Earth.
Nothing between me and the ground below but a heavy, solid, impossibly large chunk of steel and jet fuel.
My first thought boarding the plane was as follows: "OMG! I'm on a plane!" My second thought was "OMG! I’m on a plane! I can't do this!" I turned around quickly with every intention of punking out and rushing a cab to the train station, but the crush of passengers behind me was totally merciless and unmoving. To escape would mean to climb over the seats and scale the craft sheep-herder style, which would surely land me in handcuffs before I could say "Panic Attack!" So I pulled in a deep breath and turned back around.
With the contents of my last three meals threatening to show themselves in my lap, I found my seat and buckled in. The futility of the seat belt should something happen at 30,000 feet occurred to me and my insides did a somersault.
Where's the barf bag? I was told there's always a barf bag!
So there I am, squished between a brooding emo kid and a business man who doesn't seem to understand the sanctity of the arm-rest property line, trying to control my breathing and not become that girl freaking out on an airplane. Everyone else seemed so calm. They're reading magazines and checking their phones like they've done this a million times before. Like we're not about to do what the birdies do.
I remembered the words of a pilot I'd met recently: "The most dangerous part of your trip is the drive to the airport." he assured me, as though he'd also been in a car with my mother before. Then I thought of Man, and the comforting words he'd purred in my ear before I left. Words of science and velocity. Loving explanations of gravity and air-pressure. I wrapped it all around me like a security blanket and waited for the inevitable.
When that plane took off down the runway at a speed I didn't expect, I had nothing to think about but the fact that we were about to leave the Earth. I'll never forget the thoughts that ran through the corridors of my mind at that moment as I sat there with the in-flight magazine covering my face (except for that one eye fixed on the scene outside the window) like a terrified little child...
We'reontheground, we'reontheground, we'reontheground
And then... Silence.
Call it "fell asleep" call it "passed out" or call it "out of body experience." All I know is I felt my head roll backwards, and when I woke up and it was an hour later.
I found the barf bag and kept it as a souvenir.