03 March 2007

Flying Blows

Big Heavy Sweater. You might think it was
really ossum to sit next to Hemingway on the plane...
that is until he got his itchy pretzel dust and
stinky rum sweat all over you.


I've made a psychological breakthrough. I've managed to upgrade my irrational fear of flying to fully rational hatred of flying. As The Bard once quoth, How doth flying blow? Let me count the ways.

OK - so here's how this came about. I had to fly down to San Francisco for work a couple days ago. I was sitting in the waiting room at my gate - you know, the one with the screaming kids (what do they do, import choleric infants from 18th century England and stick them with pins or something?); crackling, unintelligible PA announcements; scoliosis-inducing seating, and That One Guy Who Stares At You The Whole Goddamn Time (is he on airline payroll, I wonder?). I was starting to get some anticipatory anxiety, something that I've learned to recognize as easily and detachedly (Hey, nice word! -Ed.) as you might recognize a stomach ache. I've been dealing with it and an entire spectrum of related and ancillary anxieties since you dropped me off at the nuthatch that one night back in 1984. Suffice it to say, I've also learned to deal with it for the most part. So yeah, I'm feeling the clench train pulling into the station and so I figure I'll listen to the fear of flying audio course that I always take with me to impart some rational wisdom to my irrationally-twitching brain. And then I just said to myself, "Y'know what? Fuck that. And not just fuck that. Capital FUCK capital THAT. I don't wanna be that "guy" who has that "thing" that he has to treat all the time. That's a lot of work and a bunch of BS." So I just quit. And I wasn't fearful anymore. And that was pretty much it. Done. Quit. Stop. No mas para yo. Goose egg. Empty set.

So now that I was no longer distracted by thoughts of falling out of the sky in a flaming, tangled mass, I was free to experience the splendor of traveling aboard a modern aircraft.

It sucks. It's not nice at all. Who in their right mind wants to be bombarded with cosmic rays while trapped inside an aluminum sausage? And it's loud, it's stuffy, and that 110% real faux leather they make the seats out of - why, if one were to break wind against it, it would most certainly make a mighty cracking sound like two razor strops colliding at supersonic speed. Papp!! Imagine the embarassment. (Speaking of which, ever since I wrote that bit about farts, the traffic on this clog has not abated even for a day. Google Analytics shows me that they're reading what will become known as The Dear Gregory FartBlog in Malaysia this evening.) I suppose I could go on to whine about the pretzels they gave us which were - and I crap you negative - the size of the nail on my pinky finger. But it all seems so pointless. Flying is what it is - a suffocating, claustrophobic hell peopled with people who get their people sweat all over you because you're crammed smack up against 'em in a 600 MPH autoclave of human misery. And neither you, nor I, nor all the magical pixie dust in Baby Jesus' coke bullet is going to change that. I've been working on this "happiness" thing, and it seems really counterproductive to dwell on that which induces agony, y'know?

But here's the ape in my ointment. I have two more round trip flights coming up in the next two months. I got tickets to go to two full days (two days!! ) of teachings from His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama (we call him The Big D) at the Graham Civic Center in San Francisco at the end of April, so I gotta fly down to that. But I figure either way, if I go down in a flaming ball or land safely but all schmutzig with people sweat, I was on a pilgrimage to see The Big D so I'm pretty much a shoo-in for nirvana.

Oh yeah, and then I'm going backpacking in Yellowstone at the end of May, so again, I'm going to have to fly not once but twice both ways for that. You can only fly from Seattle to Boise and then straddle an angry gnat to Jackson. They won't send you direct. I'm sure that the fine people of Wyoming put the kybosh on direct flights, citing the danger of their fair state filling up with steers, queers and hobos from Liberal Ol' Seattle if such a thing were allowed. (Hey - wait a minute... Actually... There was a movie about... Oh never mind. -Ed.) But again, whether it's a flaming ball or people sweat, I was on my way to Yellowstone so I'm pretty much a shoo-in for the Happy Hunting Grounds. (Think again, kimosabe. -Ed.)

But that's it, though. No more flying for me after that. I'd probably have to fly if I were going to Europe or something, but I'll probably never make it to Europe because I don't believe it exists. That's just some story they made up to scare us when we were kids. ("Little Thaddeus, did you know that in Europe they have a toilet that shoots water right up your hiney?" "Eeeeewww! I hate Europe!")

And if I go to Bhutan, I'll just take the train.



1 comment:

The General said...

Glad to hear you has beat your fear of flying. Flying hasnt bothered me much, but Night Buses™ scare me now...


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