Fear of Flying

There are moments in life when fear takes you by the throat and squeezes until you can hardly breathe. Like when you’ve settled nicely into the middle seat on a plane, and a couple of six hundred pound men with bad B.O. lumber toward your three person row. That’s a worst case scenario. Or so you might think. Clarence and I choose opposite aisle seats for several reasons.  One, it allows more elbow room. Two, I am the most annoying person to sit beside on the plane. We both know it.

 I can’t sit still. It’s actually painful for me. Picture someone with a combination of ADHD and large muscle Parkinson’s, and you’ll get the picture. I’m a major fidgeter. Constantly digging my purse out from under the seat, looking for chewing gum, checking on my passport, taking off my shoes, putting them back on, getting up and going to the bathroom multiple times. Or, I need hand lotion, a new book, a sweater from the overhead bin. The list is endless.

I feel bad about it, but I can’t stop. There are times I want to stand up (of course) and address the people front, back, and beside me. “I’m sorry for what you’re about to experience,” I’d say. “I simply can’t help it. I have an unusual version of Tourette’s syndrome. Please forgive me.” That might buy me a little time before the dirty looks begin.

I used to be afraid of turbulence. Of falling from the sky and screaming all the way down. Not anymore. Not since my kids grew up. Now I just say my prayers and give myself up to God. I  pray I can get through the flight without being one of those people who are duct taped to their seats, then arrested after an emergency landing.

So. Beware of pleasant looking women with big smiles who invitingly pat the seat next to them. They come with a lot of non regulation sized baggage. Just sit by the big guys. They might take up more room. You may be flattened like a piece of baloney. But at least you’ll arrive with your nerves intact. 

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