Sunday, January 20, 2008

dangling over water

"2008 is going to be great", as I recall, was the brilliant tag line I came up with on New Years Eve, between glasses of good champagne and Romeo y Julietas on a London balcony. Sadly, at the party I went to, it caught on.

So the party may not have been too crazy and my revelation or tag line, if you will, was not dramatic, but sometimes the truth is not dramatic.

If you want drama, let's go back a few days. My trip began on a large aircraft, as so many overseas vacations do. About two and a half hours in, just as passengers were settling in for an uncomfortable sleep, the captain came on the overhead.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking. I have an announcement to make".

My heart sank.

"Unfortunately we are experiencing a 'system failure' in the cooling system and the company does not feel it would be safe to attempt the atlantic crossing."

Two and a half hours in.

Off the coast of Newfoundland.

Two words you never want to hear on an airplane.

"System failure."

For someone who has spent years-and I mean years-in therapy for a parlayzing fear of flying, this was not good. Lucky for the fellow passengers, I had just recently washed a sedative down with a glass of wine in an effort to get some sleep.

I do not know what was worse, the fear of the plane going down in the black night over the ocean, the fear that everyone on the plane might collectively lose it, or the fact that I never actually felt the plane turn around. I am not sure why that made me so nervous. I kept thinking, did they turn before they made the announcement and I did not notice? This possibility left me feeling somehow guilty and irresponsible. In hindsight that last one was probably a good sign. My therapist would be proud. Do you know how long it has taken me to be a little irresponsible on an airplane?

For about an hour after the announcement, no flight attendants came out into the cabin. I had to stop myself a number of times from imagining them in the back crying because it was worse than the pilot was letting on. I forced myself to play cards with the guy sitting next to me. War, actually. Between the wine and the medication and the anxiety, anything more complicated and I would never have been able to focus. *

Two hours later we landed in Montreal. As scared as I was, when they began to board the replacement plane, I did not even consider refusing to board. I guess I just knew right off the bat how great 2008 was going to be. I was not going to start it by missing my vacation.

I had a great time, aside from spending money like mad [the pound pisses me off], the dramatic flight, skinning my knee pretty badly New Years Eve on an east end sidewalk in my little black dress after only two glasses of wine. Like a trooper, I continued the rest of the night in those tights and had to soak them to get them off at 4 am.

The highlight was spending time with my siblings, seeing the English and Scottish countryside, and my weekend in Edinburgh; an incredible city.

*I won.


Hilary said...

Holy shit! How scary!!

Jeans Pants said...

First: Romeo and Julietas are gooooood!

Second: Fuck! I have a fear of flying too. That was scary. Im glad your OK