April 3, 2009

Into The Great Wide Open

I woke up this morning in a cold sweat. I'd had one of my plane crash dreams again. Oy! These dreams have haunted me since I was five or six, for what reason, I'm not sure. I didn't even step into an airplane until I was 12, and that was to take a quick trip with my uncle, who piloted the plane, to the state capitol. So it wasn't as though I was a frequent child flyer, but the nightmares still came. You can imagine my apprehension when I would step onto a plane and leave my life in the hands of a complete stranger flying a big tin can 30,000 feet above the earth. Call my nightmares what you will, but something always nagged at me, instincts perhaps? I always wondered if it was a premonition, a warning sign. Maybe I was just Patsy Cline in my past life. Who knows.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I am completely fascinated with airplanes. If I see or hear one overhead, I have to look at it. It's just another one of my obsessive compulsive rituals, such as having to read every damn sign I pass on the interstate. Only on the interstate? Yes, only on the interstate. It's a seriously annoying habit and I know it's incredibly weird. Thank you very much.

I have always looked at airplanes and wondered who was in them? Where are they going and why? I'd judge the direction of the plane and always try to guess where they were headed and once even went so far as to look it up on the airplane radar. LOL Don't laugh at me. Anyhow, airplanes just aren't natural. If we were meant to fly, we would have wings. I hear the statistics, I know they are relatively safe. You have a better chance of dying in a car crash, blah, blah, malarkey, blah. Statistics aside, if you have a fear of flying, none of those statistics matter.

As I grew older I did fly quite frequently and every time I (reluctantly) stepped on a plane my nightmares came to mind. Is this the day I'm going to die? Is my seat partner's number up? If his number is up, that means I am going to die with him and that's just not fair! Humphf! However, I was good at ignoring those nagging voice in my head and irrational thoughts. I knew I was being ridiculous. Here I was thinking we may crash and burn and the guy next to me is practically licking his free peanut bag and slurping his bloody mary with the celery sticking out. Talk about reality check. I was fully aware of my unhealthy mental sparring and would find a way to shove it to the darkest recesses of my mind, usually with vodka.

I always avoided the seat that had the exit door, incase I suddenly freaked the F out and decided to grab the big red handle and scream "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!" Not that I ever would, mind you, but just like imagining a roller coaster flying off it's rails, I let my imagination get away with me. Heh. Yea, I don't like those exit doors, or what's on the other side of them....nothing.

Not that my heightened imagination or dreams are completely unwarranted. I have had some bad flight experiences, as many have had. I have only flown with other people twice, but mostly I've always been alone for some reason or another. Once I was by myself on a 757 and the woman sitting next to me (in the aisle seat) was very large. VERY. LARGE. My first thought was that incase of an emergency, I was f'cked! How would I ever get around her? How would she ever even get out of the seat that she is now wedged in possibly forever? Not only was she a hefty lady, but she was also apparently an emotional basket case. (NO JUDGEMENT!) I am able to hide my fear behind my bloodshot eyes, but she didn't drink and lordy, did I want to hand her one! It was one of those situations where we sat on the runway for hours before we could take off and the longer we sat there the more she cried. Now I may be afraid to fly, but a big ole cry baby I am not. This woman was shaking the row she was sobbing so hard. Who knew you could have turbulence and not even be off the ground? She kept praying and stating she didn't want to die and the longer this went on the more annoyed and nervous she made me! Hell, she even had the baby crying across the aisle. I had one of those mental scenarios where I would grab her by her huge shoulders and shake the shit out of her and follow it up with a good , hard slap! "Get a hold of yourself WOMAN!" And yes, at that time, I really did want to jump out of the exit door, or cry right along with her.

Another experience I had, was a short flight in a little puddle jumper in the middle of an ice storm at night. Perfect conditions for flying around in the air, ain't it? Coincidentally enough, I was THE ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANE! Well, that's it! If I am the only one on here, then that must mean I'm the only idiot dumb enough to fly, therefore, my time is up. Sianara sweet world. Yea, I'm totally rational. Wink.

The pilots were very friendly and even let me wear the headphones for reassurance, like I was a little kid. I would have preferred not to wear them, as all I heard for a solid hour was ice, ice, and more ice. The pilots kept telling me it was all normal and we were fine and that they were de-icing the plane. I could see the de-icing of the wings when the little lights would flash and light up the snowy night. Calm my nerves, it did not. They would turn around frequently and smile at me. I wanted to tell them to keep their eyes on the damn road, and not the crazy eyed lady sitting behind them with a fake smile plastered on her face.

I thought flying was suppose to be a serene experience. Floating through big puffy white clouds toward a gorgeous amber sunset. Not a jarring, fist clenching, hit your head on the luggage bin, off road experience. This was probably the worst flight I had ever been on and the most scared I had ever been as well. I have never flown in such horrible turbulence or conditions and was white knuckling the arm rests to death. I actually got very nauseous too, which never happens. I felt as though we were popcorn kernels in a hot frying pan. We were all over the place. I'd never been so happy to reach the ground, ever.

Back to this nightmare that started this whole blog. In my dream, I was boarding a plane and the pilot winked at me. I wondered why he'd done that, then as I took my seat he kept staring at me with this "I know something you don't know" look in his eye. Of course it's my dream, so NO ONE else noticed any odd behavior. Pfft! The plane was full of business men in suits, looking all too self important and for some reason I had a big red coat on. Hmm. I kept noticing these stares from the flight staff, but tried to ignore it. All was relatively normal until the flight attendant asked me if I wanted something to drink. As I looked at her to answer, she also winked at me and smiled that knowing smile. Who are these people? Zombies? Robots? The Stepford Crew? I asked her why everyone was smiling at me and she didn't answer. Then the dream skips ahead to later and I am squeezing into the bathroom and on the wall was a lever that said "DO NOT PULL!". Well, that's like asking me not to touch my hot plate, so I pull it and damnit if there isn't a whole big ass room in the back of the plane and it was full of red coats. TWILIGHT ZONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Instinctively, I knew something fishy was going on. I didn't know if they were going to snatch my coat, or my body. (Dreams are weird). I was caught in the coat closet by the flighty flight attendant from earlier and she wasn't smiling this time, she looked panicky and told me in a strained voice to 'take my seat and buckle up'. Turbulence was getting worse and I fell a few times on my way back. The plane's nose kept dipping and diving and I knew something was terribly wrong. I knew we were going to crash and that was it for me. I never made it back to my set, because I woke up, but the feelings that dream produced are always the same ones....terror. I knew I was going to die and was going to fall a long way before I did. Ugh. LOL I still can't figure out the freaky red coat room. Damn, I have some bizarre dreams.

Needless to say, flying is a fear, but it's not one to keep me from going somewhere, if I MUST, but I have always wondered if my fears are from instinct or complete and utter irrationality. Don't even get me started on 9/11. That mess had me wracked with horror. So, what are your phobias and fears?


KLS said...

tornadoes, and yes, I too have recurrent nightmares, for as long as I can remember, from them! I also have the fear/fascination thing as far as they';re concerned.

Forget Patsy Cline. I think we smoked crack or did PCP and LSD in a former life. And lots of it. We were probably roadies with Bob Marley or Jim Morrison...

Christy said...

I think you're right. LOL