I hate flying…maybe I shouldn’t put it that harshly anymore because it’s kind of evolved into more of a love/hate relationship since I’ve been flying a little more frequently than I ever have. And, I’ve realized that it’s a perfect way to get from point A to point B without having to spend days in a car, so I’m learning to go with the flow.
Last week I was settling into my usual aisle seat on a crowded plane – a must for me. I guess I feel like I can escape quicker from that location, but to where I’m not quite sure. I don’t want a window seat since I’m fraught with a fear of heights and bouts with vertigo. I don’t want to sit in the middle because I feel trapped and a little claustrophobic. (I’m such a weirdo…) So I’m good in the aisle where I can busy myself checking out the other passengers and stretching my legs a little bit.
So all was calm…all was well as we sat in a holding pattern on the runway. But then all of a sudden the plane starts taxiing down the runway, and I immediately clench the arms of the seat so tightly my knuckles turn blue…as if holding on like that is going to do any good. The motors rev up, and I’m saying my prayers as I try to shut out of my mind all the things that can go wrong. Then I hear the happy, noisy chattering of two little kids, not more than 3 or 4 years old, two seats up across the aisle. They’re speaking in Spanish, so I’m not sure what they’re saying, but they are excited and squealing with delight as the plane powers up, speeds along the runway, eventually lifting off into the air. “WEEEE…..WEEEE,” they squeal bouncing up and down and laughing so loudly that it’s infectious. All the people around me start smiling and laughing, too. I can’t help but break out in a wide grin. Their dad tries to hush them, but sees that everyone else is having such a great time listening to their wonderful antics about their thrilling plane ride, that he also breaks into a broad grin. We are all enjoying this innocent outburst filled with so much glee that our hearts are lifted along with the plane. I’m surprised to realize that for the first time in my life I’m having a good time in an aircraft as I share in the chuckling with the people around me.
I’m reminded of what a gift childish innocence presents. All they know is the excitement and sensation of a kind of amusement ride as they ride in the magic plane! They have no fears. They are still immuned to adult thoughts of what could go wrong, and instead, go with the fun-filled flow and joy of it all. Why can’t I try to be more like these little children and think more about the exciting adventures aircrafts open up to us? The chance to go and visit loved ones in the blink of an eye, along with exploring our world is just a mere heartbeat of a ride away. Air travel is truly an amazing gift.
I’m going to try to be better and more fearless and less uptight the next time I board that big bird of the sky. I’m going to try to look at flying through the eyes of innocence, letting go and squealing with delight as I shout “WEEEE….WEEEE” as the plane takes off (to myself, of course!). Most of all, I’m going to keep forever in my heart the reaction of these two precious, little children who taught me to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!
I dislike flying as well. And on top of that I get terrible motion sickness. What a mess! Al always, your essays inspire me to be a better me…but I doubt I will be ale to muster a “wheeeeeeeee” even to myself 😉