A Fear Of Flying


It is well known I have a fear of flying, which I’m doing today – though the rest of week is “canned” posts from Portugal, since I’m not getting home till Saturday (my husband and I having decided we need a little time before I must deal with house and cats.)

What I’ve probably never explained is what that fear consists of. It’s not so much a fear of falling – that is there, too, of course. I mean, it is a possibility, as is a bomb or terrorist attack. But what I’m most scared of is the loss of control I experience while flying. I’d not feel much different if I were taking a long distance train (which I did, a lot, in my younger days) or bus.

It will perhaps surprise a lot of people that I am a control freak. In my defense I am a control freak of a peculiar and localized kind. I couldn’t care less what other people do, for instance, or if they do things in the “one way I approve of.” Once my kids reached the age of being self-propelled and fairly reasonable, provided they behave like human beings, do their share of chores and do well at school, I couldn’t care less if in their own private time they choose to sleep crosswise on the bed or scratch their ear with their big toe. If their rooms are relatively clean (no rotting food, no trash on the floor and no bugs) I don’t even much care how they arrange their furniture or what they choose to display on their shelves. Ditto the way they dress. Many people at conventions seem to believe I make them wear button downs. Frankly I’d prefer they wear t-shirts as they don’t need ironing. But they like button downs and the inconvenience to me is minimal, so that’s fine. In fact, some people would call me rather slapdash when it comes to controlling my family. I never even consider controlling my friends – though I reserve the right to argue with or tease them about their choices.

So in what way am I a control freak? Me. I like to control me, my immediate surroundings and my decisions. I have never done drugs, because I like to be in control of my own mind. Illnesses annoy me (as did the excessive weight I’ve struggled with) because, curse it all, I should be able to control m own body. I don’t like roller coasters because I can’t control the way they roll. When I was very little, I used to pull my own milk teeth, as opposed to letting an adult pull them with string or otherwise, because I preferred to control the pain. Frankly, still, if I must do something which will hurt or be unpleasant, I’d rather do it to myself.

Because of this I prefer to drive myself, though I seem to have accepted my husband and son as extensions of the self (probably because I can nag them.)

Airplane travel, particularly when involving three plane changes, has way too much control in other people’s hands, particularly in the time of National Security issues. I can’t even get up when the air hostess would rather I sat down, even if I have a very, very good reason, such as a poisonous lizard down my pants. (How would I know how a poisonous lizard got on the plane? It could!)

On top of that there’s other considerations. The bureaucracy involved is mind boggling. For instance, the computers of Usairways and TAP don’t talk to each other, and since I’m leaving (have left, by the time you read this) Porto headed for Lisbon on a TAP plane, I have a boarding pass only for the first flight, after which I must navigate a strange airport (trust me, being from the North, I find Lisbon VERY strange) and get boarding passes for the next two flights, all in about an hour and a half (so cross fingers the plane is not late.) Once I’ve landed for my connection in the states (should be close if not already there by the time this post goes up) I will feel better, since I have a measure of control: even if planes are grounded, I can rent a car and drive home to Colorado. Mind you, I’ll hate it like poison, but not as much as I’d hate being stranded away from my husband.

So, send kind thoughts my way, that today’s travels go well. It always seems to be that the travel to Portugal is fraught, but the travel back is glitch-less. (Except for their losing my bags occasionally, though even that not often.) Let’s hope this holds.

I miss home, I miss my husband, I miss my cats, I miss my friends; I miss diners and having access to the internet when I feel like it; I miss my office and my keyboard and my coffee maker; I miss my walks around the neighborhood and the way th light slants through the trees in the park; I miss my treadmill; I miss my art desk; I miss the Natu… wait Denver Museum of Nature and Science; I miss the aquarium, the zoo and the Denver Museum of Art.

I guess sometimes you need to travel half around the world to find out you’re a homebody after all.

5 thoughts on “A Fear Of Flying

  1. Air Travel, via Commercial People-Hauler, was invented by the Devil, to increase the number of folk who blaspheme, very sincerely, imho!
    otoh, Air Travel via a commercial aircraft, when _I_ have the Purchase Order Book, plus signing authority, is delightful! We land where and when I want, we take off after I have tracked-down my Pilot(s), and got them to pick an handy takeoff time (subject to Pilots’ hours-at-work limitations, and subject to my _Pilot(s)_ opinion of the weather conditions…). Such air travel is best when done in an Helicopter, altho Beech 18s, Twin Otters, and even Cessna 206s are OK. An Electra, flying to Rae Point, or to the old DEW Line base on Lady Hamilton Point, is less a joyful place, because I have to go to _work_, after I get off… Grin.
    Have Fun! May your Luggage travel in the same widdershins way that _you_ do! Otherwise, you shall see your Luggage a day after _you_ see Colorado, and your Luggage shall just look very, very, _smug_, refusing to explain where it has been, and how it travelled!

    1. This was the first time I flew to Portugal AND back with my luggage. The last flight to CO was ROUGH (storms and air-fun) but the pilot was good (yeah, you can tell) and we made it fine. Now I’m fighting jetlag and the fact I’m hungry at all the wrong times. This too shall pass.

  2. By the time you read this it will all be decided, so my wishes for good or ill will be moot. Instead, know that I understand and share your disdain for putting your time and happiness in the hands of fickle and malevolent gods.

    Driving, OTOH, given the obvious incompetence of other drivers along with their proclivity for random maneuvers, I comfortably permit family to perform, provided I am able to cover my eyes with a book or other reading material.

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