I don’t like flying

Over the past two weeks I have been in too many planes in too little an amount of time.  I don’t like flying and I haven’t even flown all that much in my life.  Part of my dislike of flying has to do with the general travel anxiety I experience whenever I am preparing to go anywhere of considerable distance.  The other part is that nagging pessimism in the back of my head that says, every time I get on a plane, “you know if something fucks up while you’re in the air you’re pretty much guaranteed to be dead?”  This second factor of my dislike of flying was somewhat rubbed in my face further by the drunk woman sitting next to me as I flew from Philadelphia to Burlington over a week ago as she insisted on discussing the inevitability of death in an airline related accident.  Now I am an aware individual who has heard that one is much more likely to be in a fatal accident in a car than in a plane but that has done little to make me feel any better seeing as I have a very strong dislike of the thought of dying in either a car related accident or plane related accident (all and all both sound like pretty shitty ways to go).  

The drunk woman from Philly to Burlington represents another aspect of flying that I sometimes find distasteful, that being you have no clue who you will be sitting next too (unless you happen to be traveling with some other people and you bought your tickets together).  Of course the same thing can be said when you take a bus, or are in a waiting room somewhere, but on a plane there always seems to me to be a certain cramped quality of this other acquaintance.  The person next to me on my flight from Charlotte to Philly was great, she was all off in her own world reading her magazine and left me peacefully to my book and looking out the window.  The drunk woman on my next flight wouldn’t stop talking and all I wanted to do was take a nap and I’m not a rude enough person to tell a stranger that I’m not interested in their conversation or even harsher to tell them just to shut up.  On the return flight from Burlington to D.C. the woman sitting next to me couldn’t stop complaining about how the flight was delayed and how she was worried about missing her connecting flight.  This pissed me off because I also was concerned about missing my connecting flight but was trying to remain rather stoic about the whole situation in the awareness that there was little I could do about it besides hope that I’d make my next flight on time.  The last person I had to sit next to from D.C. to Charlotte was not that bad, probably because he was from Nicaragua, and spoke very little English, so we both kept to ourselves.  Now I have nothing wrong with meeting new people if these people are going to be interesting people that can hold a good conversation but in my experience on planes I have yet to meet any such person and so I prefer the general indifference of association with the people sitting next to me.  Yeah, we are all on the same flight but that is about all we have in common as far as I’m concerned so I won’t bother you and hopefully you won’t bother me.  And if you do talk to me please don’t be drunk and talking about how if the plane’s wing falls off we’ll probably all die in a big fireball somewhere over New York.

I am grateful that I don’t have a job or lifestyle that demands regular air travel because honestly I don’t know if I’d be able to cope with the stress that develops for me.  The only up side I could see is that I’d probably have a reason for getting some serious meds for when I fly, and if that is the only thing I can think of as an up side then really it’s just not that good. 

~ by Nathaniel on December 31, 2007.

2 Responses to “I don’t like flying”

  1. Next time, listen and nod for the first five minutes of your neighbor’s monologue, and when he/she finally asks you a question, answer with your best French-accented “yes.” (Remember to smile enthusiastically as you do this. Repeat two or three more times until your neighbor starts to wonder what the hell is wrong with your brain. Then offer this in your best foreign accent: “I sorry. I no speak English.”

    Strike the coup de grace by adding “I am der Switzerland. No uh… English.”

    That’ll put an end to any verbal nonsense.

    I had an old salesguy try to strike up a conversation with me on my last flight. Nice guy, I’m sure. Very friendly, sober, decent oral hygiene, etc. But I really didn’t want to make conversation with a strange old man on a plane. It just seemed like way too much work at 35,000ft. (It’s hard enough for me not to drop the F-bomb at sea level, so I assume that flying high above the clouds would require at least 5 times the amount of effort.) That’s why I always carry twice as many magazines as I could physically read in the time it takes to fly from point A to point B. I started reading and only looked up from my smi-gloss pages when he was gone or asleep.

    I want a curtain next time. Airplanes should equip all seats with them.

  2. […] flying time again.  All I can say about this is “Ugh.”  As I have written previously, I do not like flying, however I am trying to approach the necessity of flight proactively.  First off I am luck that I […]

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