Let me preface this post by saying that my Gramps worked for American Airlines and as a youngster I would fly non-rev all over the place. Ok, mostly to Florida, Chicago, San Fran and Denver.
However, when I think of my impending trip to Phoenix this coming Sunday, I see this scenario: me calling Student Activities to request bail after being tasered by an air marshall subsequent to a claustrophobia-induced panic attack. This episode, of course, will be recorded by no fewer than 7 smart-phones and immediately uploaded to YouTube, and played on newscasts all over the country. My kids, who already think I am rather dorky, will avoid being seen with me in public and my husband will suddenly be “really busy” at work whenever I suggest going out on a date. Yes, I seriously see this playing out.
As a kid, flying did not bother me–in fact, I rather enjoyed it. Heck, I stalked Bill Laimbeer for his autograph in the Raleigh-Durham airport…and this was at the height of the “Bad Boys” days. Since then, I have always looked at airports as hubs of possibilities….you never know whom you might meet… And since crashes and mishaps are relatively rare, these odds did not bother me–still do not, actually.
What bothers me now about flying is the fact that you are locked in a tube with what seems like millions of other people–who are always bigger than you and thus require more space–without means of exit for what seems like an eternity. WITHOUT MEANS OF AN EXIT. In a car, you can always pull over to stretch your legs, go to the bathroom in a stall that is large enough to accomodate all of your body parts, and to, well, get away from your travel mates for a few minutes. THIS CANNOT BE DONE IN AN AIRPLANE. Aiplane passengers are virtual prisoners until the aiplane lands and taxies to the exit and the plane pulls up to gate, etc.
I am not sure why my claustrophobia is so out of control as an adult….I just know that I need help. So, if you would, please text me at about 3:30 or so on Sunday the 11th–I will need some distraction and the other passengers will thank you, too.
In the meantime, when the chance of going to a conference involves an airplane, I will call my doctor to schedule that colonoscopy…