In an effort to devote some productive energy towards worrying about my flight this Saturday, I’d like to raise a glass to an active inflight captain presence. A toast to those soothsayers and nimble sailors of the sky who know just what to say in the midst of terrifying turbulence. To those who understand the significance of the seat belt sign, and take seriously the need to specify that, “This should be over in a few minutes.”
Flying has always been one of my greater fears. I say ‘great-er’ because I feel like most of my fears fall under the same, greatest category of death and dying. I think that’s reasonable. (And of course, I have my other emotional fears, that often far surpass my physical fears in terms of time spent worrying. Isn’t being neurotic fun?) That being said, my fear of flying is often quelled when the Captain speaks frequently and assuredly.
I know that most people hate the interruption of the overhead speaker. Whether it wakes you up or distracts you from your movie, it can be a bit of a kill joy. (Particularly for those who like flying because for some bizarre reason they find it calming…) I, however, need these casual, breezy check-ins to fly comfortably—and they’d better be breezy or I’ll lose it.
It’s important to me that I always remain apprised of all inflight situations. Updates keep my mind from traveling too far, and descending into an abyss of crazy Newspaper headlines. If, for example, serious turbulence begins, and the captain doesn’t give an assessment of the situation to his wards, I imagine the worst. I will sit in my chair, gripping the sides of my seat, or my seat mate’s hand, and pray quietly to myself. I make a lot of wagers with my Higher Power when I’m bouncing around in the air. In fact, I think I’ve promised, more than once, to give up sugar. As if that’s the thing that’s going to convince some omniscient, omnipotent Being to save me.
Still, I can pretty much guarantee that if my flight to Utah is not heavily narrated, I will be sitting, entirely clenched, in a state of panic, for a full four hours. Strangely, even after I went sky-diving, EVEN after I jumped out of a plane and into the Swiss Alps, I continue to suffer from major inflight nerves.