Fear of Flying

Here is a post from an old blog I had running.  Kind of an interesting story from my flight to London.

I recently got back from a trip to London over my winter break. It was an art/theatre study abroad experience, very fun, all of my friends were there, many nights of drunken pub-ening. But if there is one thing I got from my trip that I wish I could have left in London (aside from the obvious VD from the british women of the evening) was a fear of flying.

We flew Virgin Atlantic, many other people on our trip had never flown before, and were very nervous. I was a jet-setter compared to them, having been on 3 flights before. One to Florida, one to Seattle and one to France (all from O’hare) I was a little nervous going into the flight, but I remained calm on the plane.

Our flight started off pretty rocky. As we were backing out of the terminal, there was some hustle and bustle behind the plane. The de-icing crew was done and moving away, but one of those unfortunate souls was hit by a baggage truck. Was the luggage from our plane injuring air crew? Was he putting a curse on our plane? People joked that this was a bad omen and laughed it off. 9 hour flight people, lets get this show on the road. It was a night flight, so I would be not sleeping. (I am 6 foot 6, and planes are not comfortable)(usually I can switch with someone in a front row seat that is nice enough)

The take off was the most scary thing I have ever went through. The plane got of the ground and immediately dropped and listed to the side. All of my subtle flying fears came rushing back to me. Damn you luggage handler!!!

I start up a conversation with my seat-mate. She is studying Inorganic Chemistry at Oxford (P.h.d) She is a very attractive woman of cyprean descent. As my usual charming self, we strike up a rapport immediately. I telling jokes, her laughing, us trading stories of school and life. She attempts to sleep, and I give her my pillow (I won’t need it) She thanks me, I am on my own.

The flight continues, bumpily. This flight was turbulent for about 4 hours of the 9 hour trek… I was getting queasy. My motion sickness was starting to take some effect. I had never been sick on a plane before. I manage to deep breathe and hold it in, listening to “Flight of the Conchords” on BBC radio. It was good, I was amused and my mind went away from the fact that 30,000 feet below was the un-yielding atlantic ocean.

We get near london and begin our descent, my seat-mate wakes up, and I greet her good morning! We talk about what we are doing when we get back, turns out she is stopping at her dorm at oxford to do laundry only to hope on a plane to cyprus to visit with family. She still has 12 hours left of travel time… I feel bad for her. She asks how long I am to be in london, I mention 2 weeks, she says she is getting back on the 8th or so. She proceeds to offer her phone number, which I accept gracefully. If I happen to be not busy or around oxford, to stop by. (I am a ladies man, what can I say) The flight begins to land, she is visibly scared, she grasps my wrist with a death grip, and I grab her hand with my free one… this seems to help calm her down… and we are finally on the ground… sweet jesus I was happy.

(Epilogue) I never called her, we were really busy most of the time, and I NEVER call when I get numbers, I don’t know what to say on the phone.. it is always so awkward… “Hi.. I am the dude on the plane, remember, from wisconsin… sup….” yeah… real smooth.

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