Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Terrorism - Giving me more yet another reason to avoid the scary skies

Once upon a time I was researching an article I was going to pitch a few magazines on overcoming my fear of flying. I found a few places that had group therapy, a couple of sites with online self-help, and a plethora of books that dealt with the topic. Dealing with my fear of flying was going to open new doors for me; traveling with my children would never be so fun & Disney world would be a hop, skip, and a jump away instead of something only to be accessed by 6 hours of rampant white knuckled terror coupled with the looming shadow over my vacation of the trip BACK.

I'm so happy to report that all of this research is no longer necessary! Thanks to that idiotic terrorist who was too stupid to do anything other than set his pants on fire, I no longer have a reason to conquer my fear of flying. I can live in gleeful surrender and walk the high road to acceptance.

So it is here, on my blog, that I will admit for all the world to see/read:  I HATE FLYING.

I hated flying before it became 'stylish' to hate flying. On one memorable flight in 2006, as I careened my way on a WestJet flight to Toronto for a pitch on a reality show called "Dragons Den", the flight attendants had to drag out the oxygen mask and pitch an unsuspecting sleeping man into the aisle so she could sit beside me and take my pulse. The reason? Turbulence over the great lakes. Bump, bump, bump and I started to scream my ass off, crying, shaking, and hyperventilating.  It was a first for me, but it certainly wouldn't be the last.

I hated flying before 9/11, which gave everyone in the world a damn good reason to hate flying. It seems unreasonable to me that you should be careening in the air at 35,000 feet (most flights I've taken in the not so recent past went up to 40,000, although I have no idea why) in a metal tube the shape of a Jimmy Dean sausage package with 250 other people.  I kid you not; every single time I take my kids in an airplane I feel as though I'm about to send them to their doom.  I sit through the flight, hands wet and heart thumping, trying to keep my phobia from my kids. By the time I get off the plane, my entire body is tense and exhausted, like I've just kicked someone's butt for an hour. Not a fun place to be.

After 9/11, it seemed as though there was real progress made in preserving airplanes from being used as weapons of mass destruction. Security measures, increased safety regulations, the chucking of random Disney snow globes when your daughter wants to bring them on a plane (incidentally, I think Californian airports must have a room for these snow globes, then sell them on eBay to fund their Christmas parties).  All of these measures contribute to safety in the air, right? Really, I'm asking.  Because it's still all bullshit to me. I've always felt that just because they managed to pull it off once, does not mean that they won't try to take down an airplane again. Apparently and unfortunately,  I was correct.

I have a few theories that have allowed me to board planes and maintain my sanity.   
Theory one: Flying in Canada is safer than flying to US destinations.  Why? Well, number one I believe that our airplanes are maintained at a different standard than US planes.  Although I delude myself into believing this, it may or may not be true. I really have no idea, but it's my belief and it gets me on planes so please allow me to maintain the delusion. Unfortunately, I can fly across Canada 10 times and still not get to Disneyworld or the warm shores of California, so although I may feel it is safer, the strong desire NOT to fly within Canada negates my desire to be SAFE on airplanes.
Theory two: Certain US airlines are safer than others. Once again, probably complete BS, but I do have a few favorites and one very strong and intense dislike for American airlines. They threw my daughter's stuffed kitty into the garbage, deluding me into thinking that Dallas/Fort Worth had an American Airlines 'lost and found' department. Lost and found in the garbage can more like.
Theory three: Short flights are safer than long flights, as there is less time for something bad to happen. Really, I make myself laugh at this one, but as I've said before, it's my delusion and I'm sticking with it. It's just as simple for a nut job to take his homemade thigh bomb and try to set himself  on fire in the window seat during a 2 hour flight as it is for him to do it during a 5 hour flight. Short flights just allow me to suffer for less time. This is the reason I have visited Disneyland 3 times over the past 3 years and not ventured to sunny Florida (Does it look like I only vacation at Disney? It's true, much to the disgust of my husband)

As you can see, my theories are really just a way to convince my irrational mind to allow me to board the plane. Once I'm strapped in and taking off, the real fun starts. Thankfully though, I no longer have a reason to strap myself in anywhere! I'm free, because unless they (the Government) take their heads out of their butts and actually fix the problem (or we all fly naked and without baggage), I will never fly again. And I am NOT alone in this, which is also wonderful and makes me feel cozy in a fearful, clammy sort of way.

It's only a 3 day drive to Florida from here.

1 comment:

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