Okay, so by reading the first line of this you can probably summize that I did not die in a plane crash on my way to Vancouver.
But I had tricked myself into thinking I was for various reasons that I like to call ‘too ironic to not crash.’
I knew about 10-15 other people flying out to this comedy festival but they were all on the same airline, some on the same flights. I felt relieved too, convincing myself that the other planes would be like the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly planes where semi-legends crash and I, the idiot, would be fine. Then I felt bad for thinking the other planes were crashing and was sure the irony would be that the girl who joined the festival late would get the crashing plane.
My boyfriend convinced me to wear a nice dress on the plane since the flight was in the afternoon – normally I wear pajamas when I fly (I always fly red-eyes) and it seems so comforting. Like 1.) nothing bad can happen in pajamas – it’s just a sleepover or 2.) If I do find my way into eternal sleep well I will be safe, cozy and protected from Hell in my jammies.
But wearing a dress seemed jarring. If the plane crashes it is because I was so presumptious that I’d be seen when I got off. It provides a very uncomfortable outfit for eternal rest. And everyone would be able to see up my dress if we were bobbing around the cabin.
But I wore it because I was doing my favorite exercise, acting “as if.” Mind you it’s just a $9.99 house-dress thing from Urban Outfitters – not a gown – but it is cute. So I acted as if I were a normal person getting on a car, bus, subway and had somewhere very important to be and oh, who me? I get on planes all the time.
I was picked up by the Prime Time Shuttle – a little old man driver who claimed that he was in the Russian Mafia. He called me a bore because I was drinking water. When I explained that it’s only noon he said “Aacchk.” He also said my klonopin would go better with wine. He was upset that my boyfriend wasn’t escorting me on the trip – even after explaining to this man that he has a job (didn’t that used to be a good thing?)
Then Russian Mafia man said, “Why this dress? You don’t want to be comfortable on plane? All cramped up.” He pointed out that if it landed in a desserted field somewhere that I’d have to walk in my high heeled boots. I hadn’t thought of that one.
Then he proceeded to drive 65 mph on surface streets. He got into the same lane with other cars and beeped and stared them down until they had no choice but to pull over. He was listening to some a.m. lounge station and snapping his fingers out the window in a “Hey baby! I’m at the Sands in Vegas – Dino’s on his way over” way. He kept singing along to Sinatra, nearly killing people with his driving. I was gripping the seat, which incidentally was his headrest. My stomach was in knots and I was beginning my panic attack early. Unlike plane troubles, I”ve been in tons of car accidents and they are never good.
I wanted to call 911 from my cell phone and tell the cops to find a Prime Time Shuttle that almost drove through a Jack in the Box from an out of control right turn. The old man also kept insisting that since I was early, he and I should have McDonald’s together.
I felt like it was a bad sign. Then I got to the airport and the ticket guy at the counter wondered why I was so dressed up. He wanted to know if I wanted to be comfortable on the flight. I acted “as if” on his ass and said that this dress was dressing down for me and that I’d be perfectly comfortable. Then he says, “Well, have a safe flight. I hope it works out.”
He hopes what works out? I also felt by calling attention to myself – it made it more concrete that I’d be caught in a crashing plane. “Hey Joe, did you hear about flight 550? Everyone’s dead.” “Oh man, some girl in a nice dress was on there. I just talked to her.”
I got on the plane and by then had taken my klonopin. Like any drug it makes you speak your mind although it also makes you feel like your tongue and jaw need to constantly be moving.
A little Asian woman was in my seat. (I have to sit by the window so that I can sleep and watch the plane land and make music videos in my mind about me ‘coming home.’) I showed her my ticket. She looked up, obviously not wanting to move the needlepoint and books on her lap. She sort of shrugged and made unintelligble English words. “I…uhhh…sorrreee, I uh…..” And pointed this way and that. Until I said, “I got it. You can’t move. I’ll sit on the aisle.” I sat down and watched her read her 1,000 page book in ENGLISH. She also got up to pee which woke me. And in perfect English she said, “Sorry to wake you. I have to run to the ladies room.” And I said to her, “Wow. You taught yourself English in the last hour.” I was half-asleep. I felt good. I felt like I was being rude to someone who probably didn’t deserve it but I didn’t deserve to be on an aisle.
Then I landed in Vancouver and the fun began. More on that later.
I think I’m getting a good grip on my fear of flying. I seem to be less scared when I’m flying for me than for visiting my family. Duh. Obvious.
And I hate that so much of this entry was focused on crashing – my fear is a little more than that but I can’t sum it up in one word, so there you go.