Saturday, July 30, 2011
Fear of Flying: the update
And thrilled with the seeming miracle of almost fearless flying.
I find that, these days, what I fear most is that my fear of flying will return. But I have been following the advice from a most wonderful therapist who convinced me not to drink on airplanes (Dear Delta and Southwest, so sorry about that massive loss of revenue) because, she said, what drinking does is disable my cognitive abilities for disarming my fears. And sure enough, what I thought about this time when I felt those nasty birds of prey fluttering in my stomach was THIS. Thinking is good. Being able to remain conscious and remember things is good.
The world is full of fearful fliers. I know at least two other people. One refuses to fly at all. On an airplane, I can easily spot my kinfolk. The ones who pop pills to put themselves out. The drinkers. The armrest-gripping pale faced pray-ers. So here, dear airlines, is an idea. You could sell this along with pillows and blankets and snacks and gin 'n tonics: The virtual walk. Now, I'm assuming that if there are amusement park rides that can convince me I am bouncing through a jungle in a jeep or rocketing off into a distant galaxy, that I can also be coaxed to feel like my feet are on the ground when I am really at 34,000 feet and at risk of plummeting to earth like a meteor.
Put a walkers' "menu" in the inflight magazine. Today's Walks: Eastbound flights--Central Park (includes zoo and feeding times for the sea lions.) Westbound flights--The Grand Canyon (choose either the Bright Angel trail or the South Kaibab trail.) This is what I want when I'm flying. Feet on the ground. Feet touching earth or pavement, or at least tile or wood or carpet.
Or maybe a game to take my mind off my petty fears. The Carbon Footprint Game. My inspiration came from this EXCELLENT POST from a blog I like to read. Now that you've bought a ticket on a voracious flying vehicle, you have to figure out ways to offset your sasquatch-sized carbon footprint once you reach your destination--or for the rest of the month or the year or whatever. If you submit proof to the airline of substantially shrinking your print, you get a free flight. I love free things. Getting a free flight would take my mind off flying.
Or at the very least, a scratch and sniff card in the inflight magazine. I drink tonic water without gin when I fly now for the placebo effect. It's pretty fabulous. Read about placebos HERE on another swell blog. Click on the New York Review of Books link after the post. But, seriously, a scratch n' sniff Beefeaters bottle might be just the trick.
I always fly alone. That's part of the problem. I want my people who are down on earth with me. "Have someone fly with you," the fabulous therapist said. "You could afford it, right?" I couldn't actually, with the sky's-the-limit attorney bills. But maybe soon I can after that last bill comes and does its predictable job of canceling out what I've gotten in the division of joint assets. Then maybe. Or maybe I'll start an air anxiety escort business. "Confident congenial traveler with fully loaded iPad ready to escort anxious flyers for the price of a roundtrip ticket. Preferred destinations: Southwest France, Greece, Italy, Hawaii, New York, Nebraska, Baltimore, Twin Cities."
Don't be afraid. Call me.