Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Monday, October 11, 2004 Flying High
Trash never flew until the year we got married. Notice I don’t say she was never on a plane. She was on a plane once, when she was a teenager, until she panicked and had to be removed. It wasn’t until her early twenties that she actually managed to stay on board an aircraft all the way through takeoff.
And landing, just in case you’re worried that this entry is going to end really badly.
Trash’s first flight was with me, and we were on our way to Orlando to experience David Foster Wallace’s proverbial supposedly fun thing we’ll never do again. We booked tickets on a January cruise back in the spring, and Trash had spent most of the intervening months stressing out about flying.
I should say that Trash has no fear of flying whatsoever. She has experienced bouts of concern that she was going to be unable to stop herself from elbowing a seatmate who was trying to put his feet under the seat in front of Trash, but that's about it. This has not always been the case.
There was one particular summer afternoon when she called me from work in a state of high dudgeon. It seems she had come up with a plan to get through it, and she was explaining this very plan to her coworker. She had not yet shared her plan with me, which will become abundantly apparent in just a moment.
“So, I think I’ve figured it out,” Trash said. “What I’m going to do is, after the plane takes off and everyone else has taken off their parachutes, I’m just going to leave mine on. Fine, laugh. I know I’ll look like a dork, but I don’t care. I’m leaving my parachute on and I don’t care what anyone else thinks.”
The dudgeon ensued almost immediately.
“Why didn’t you tell me we don’t get parachutes!?” she screamed at me down the phone line. Sad to say, I really didn’t have an answer for her. “You mean I’m going to get on an airplane and they’re not going to give me a parachute at all?”
Our cruise was hanging by a thread. She probably would have insisted on canceling it had she found a single sympathetic party to her particular tale of woe.
A few weeks later, she came up with a backup plan.
“I’m going to sit right in front of the wing,” she told me, “and when I get sucked out, I’m going to grab onto it.”
“You’re just going to get sucked into the engine,” I informed her matter-of-factly. We weren’t yet married, so I didn’t know then what I know now about when to shut up.
Her second backup plan was to try to wangle herself a tour of the airport and an airplane, in hopes that knowledge would dispel fear. But they didn’t allow that even before 9/11/91. But that was still better than her third backup plan, which involved billowy clothes and an umbrella.
She finally hit upon a winner when she went to the doctor to explain her situation. She asked the doctor, “Can you teach me some breathing exercises or meditation techniques? I just need a little help keeping calm.”
She then went on to explain her previous plans, and why they hadn’t worked out. She’d just finished the second one when the doctor stopped her.
“I’m just going to write you a prescription,” she said.
Trash protested. “I was kind of hoping to do this non-medically.”
“I’m just going to write you a prescription.”
She got the prescription filled, we got married, and a few months later she took one of the pills the morning of our flight. She doesn’t remember much about that day. She pretty much slept through the first afternoon and evening of the cruise. I do remember her asking me to get her some milk from the flight attendant. I said I’d ask later.
“If you loved me, you’d ask now,” argued my doped-to-the-gills wife. Again, I didn’t have an answer to that. I asked the flight attendant for some milk.
“We’ll be serving beverages after takeoff,” the attendant explained. Fair enough.
Some time later, Trash was telling this story to someone who knew a little about medication. This person asked what Trash had taken, and Trash told her. The friend’s jaw dropped.
“They gave me a placebo?” Trash said, offended. “I knew it.”
“No,” the friend said, “that’s what they give schizophrenics during seizures.”
Trash got the good stuff without even realizing it. I’m pretty sure it was the parachute story that did it.
Today’s best search phrase: “Pictures of my ladder and me.” Dude, take your own pictures with your ladder. I don’t do ladder photography.
posted by M. Giant 9:28 PM 2 comments
Holy cow, that's a winner of a story. Maybe you should tell your child about flying, instead of Trash...
I'd post this to the correct entry, but I fear it might get overlooked.