I’m Not Afraid of Flying

by swellsbennett

In the last year, I have taken four flights — one alone, two with Fuzzy, and one with Dan. These four flights essentially disprove my husband’s theory that I need to fly first class to feel safe. The real axiom is this: I’m not afraid of flying, I’m afraid of flying with Dan.

Dan doesn’t help matters with his “comforting” statements like: “If we die, at least we die together.” He maybe comfortable with a shorter lifespan, but I’m not even halfway to my goal of 100! That is not okay.

On Friday, Dan and I arrived at the airport a little after 1 pm. Since our flight was leaving at 3:20, we immediately headed for a bar, where I ordered a whiskey sour to calm my nerves before the flight. I was appropriately soused when our boarding time came…and went. A medical emergency on the previous flight (apparently a death, since we never saw the “patient” emerge) meant that we were bumped to another plane and delayed an hour and a half.

By the time we boarded the new plane, my pleasant buzz was a memory. Then the flight attendant announced that we would be experiencing “some turbulence.” Here’s a hint: if they tell you about the bumpy ride BEFORE takeoff, they aren’t really talking about a “little” turbulence. Nearly the whole three-hour flight was bumpy.

About half an hour before our expected descent into O’Hare, the turbulence disappeared. I was finally able to relax, since I have never been afraid of landings — only takeoffs. As the plane slipped lower in the skies, I mentally prepared for a relaxing few days in Chicago.

About twenty feet off the runway (seriously — cars looked full-sized again), the engines suddenly roared and the nose of the plane angled steeply upward. The blessed ground receded! I nearly had a panic attack as the attendant whispered to another passenger that a private plane had crossed into O’Hare airspace. The tower had instructed the pilot to abort the landing. We circled another twenty minutes before finally landing two hours late.

As soon as we stepped off the plane, I turned to Dan and said, “Have I mentioned how glad I am that we are driving home?”