I am utterly terrified of flying. I mean, fucking petrified. The idea of even stepping inside an airport, much less an airplane, makes me nauseous. It has nothing to do with 9/11 either, because I was like this long before then. I’m not afraid of heights, not entirely, because I’m fine in tall buildings or on Ferris wheels. I used to love to go up to the top of the Sears Tower (I refuse to call it the Willis Tower) or the Hancock Building when I was a little girl and look out across downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan. On a clear day, when you looked through the telescopes they have on the observation deck, you can see Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan. Pretty cool.
My fear is from the extreme height the plane flies at, not to mention the fact that I can’t see the ground if I look out the window. I’ve only been in an airplane twice in my life; Memorial Day 2001. My family was moving to Georgia that summer, as my dad’s job had transferred him there, and he’d already moved down there in February to look for a house and of course to start work. We flew down there to see the house he and my mom had purchased, the school my sister would be attending for 7th and 8th grades, and where shopping/entertainment venues were. My sister had the window seat both down there and then back up to Chicago, but you couldn’t see the ground, not when there are clouds underneath you. I will say one thing; flying above the clouds and seeing nothing but bright blue sky all around you was pretty damn neat. It was cloudy and drizzly when we took off, but once we got above the clouds…I only wish a sight like that could be possible from terra firma.
I know the fear is irrational, and stat monkeys love to spit out that you’re more likely to die from slipping on a banana peel and falling head first into an abandoned well than you are from a plane crash, but isn’t the point of all fear the fact they’re irrational? Phobias aren’t supposed to make sense.
The only other fear I have that is as crippling as my fear of flying is my fear of death. I think everyone is afraid to die, except maybe those suffering from a terminal illness who have chosen euthanasia as their way to go on their own terms, but the thought of dying sometimes keeps me up at night. Much like my fear of flying, it’s irrational. We’re all going to die eventually. No one lives forever. I think however, the reason it’s such a terrifying thing to think about is because it’s hard to process the idea of the “after.” What happens when it’s it’s all over?
Wow, I got kind of deep there, didn’t I? Maybe I should save the existentialist philosophizing for Fridays.