Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fear of Flying Not

I’ve never quite understood the fear that some people have of flying. The only aspect of air travel that really scares me is the prospect of getting stuck between two hugely fat people who kick their shoes off smelly, sweating feet, while a little kid sits behind me and kicks the back of my seat all the way through the flight.

Oh, and I always get a bit anxious on the trip out to the airport, and going through security, especially when I haven’t checked bags and might be carrying an item or two for a vacation time safety meeting, makes me a little nervous, too.

But once I’m on the plane, in my seat, with a book in my lap, I usually feel pretty okay. The prospect of dying in a flaming airline crash doesn’t bother me so much—I suppose it could happen, but if it were to, it would all be over relatively quickly, and the likelihood of what really frightens me—being maimed and incapacitated so I’d be unable to do all the kinds of things I like to do—seems pretty low.

It’s my understanding that what really freaks people about is the aspect of losing control; those who have a phobia about flying don’t like that there’s nothing they can do to make a difference, that their fate is completely in someone else’s hands.

Frankly, I kind of like that. It’s not that I have a death wish or anything—I’m planning on living well into my 10th decade—but to me, there’s something sort of reassuring about the fact that if were to meet my demise on an airplane, it wouldn’t be my fault at all—sort of like an assisted suicide without any of the troubling ethical baggage that could be construed as going along with it.

Of course, I’m writing this while sitting in the airport lobby; we’ll see how I feel on the puddle-jumper I’ll be boarding.


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