Thursday, July 3, 2014

Aviation Traumatization

    
     While everyone is out enjoying the holiday weekend, I'll be hunched over my computer with pages of edits to complete on my upcoming book, "Who Stole My Spandex." Well, not just that….I'll also be sipping champagne on the beach while the fireworks are lighting up the night sky.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share with you one of my earlier posts that was featured on In The Powder Room awhile back. I wrote it in honor of all my friends hopping on planes for their summer vacations. You won't see me doing any plane hopping this summer. Here's why:




      I don't fly. Ever. But I used to. I come from a family of avid travelers and grew up with parents who, for some sadistic reason, thought it would be fun to drag four kids on a jumbo jet each summer to every national park known to mankind. While my siblings enjoyed these little forays into vacation hell, I was the nerdy kid popping Dramamine like Tic Tacs before boarding a flight. I learned at an early age to control my fears and my sphincter muscles in order to avoid an unexpected accident on aisle five.
By the time I got married, I was a seasoned flyer. It still gave me a nervous stomach, but at least I was no longer white-knuckling a barf bag during takeoff.

Things changed once my kids were born. I started questioning that pesky mortality thing and feared my babies would end up motherless like Bambi. It didn't help that I was a sucker for all those airplane crash documentaries either, but I believed my phobia was validated after a few hair-raising experiences of my own. No amount of Xanax, vodka, or cocktail peanuts was going to get me back up in the skies.

My fear of flying has been compounded by the Bermuda Triangle, which is only a mile off the coast where I live. Many flights out of Ft. Lauderdale circle over this mysterious patch of the Atlantic Ocean where dozens of planes have fallen off the radar and disappeared. There's a reason it's nicknamed the Devil's Triangle, and the idea of becoming fish food or part of an Unsolved Mysteries episode just doesn't appeal to me. I prefer to think those planes detoured through the Twilight Zone to Gilligan's Island.

Beyond the frightening takeoff and landing aspect of flying, the plane itself is a claustrophobic's nightmare. Being herded like cattle into a steel contraption that resembles a giant MRI tube is not my idea of fun. Nor is fitting my ass into those narrow seats, then needing the Jaws of Life to get out. The oxygen masks above should drop down automatically every time someone farts on a flight. And every overhead bin should be equipped with a mini-bar to relax phobic flyers.

Airplane bathrooms are another issue to contend with while flying forty-five thousand feet in the air. Forget being inducted into the Mile High Club. Every time the plane hits a pocket of turbulence and drops a few hundred feet, so do my bowels. I have an irrational fear that of I sit too long on an airplane toilet, my ass will get sucked out into the stratosphere. I think this was the start of my Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The only way you're going to coax me into a flight today is if you promise me a bottle of rum and a first class seat ... next to Johnny Depp. If the plane nosedives into the Devil's Triangle, hopefully I'll be transported to Gilligan's Island.
     
      If you need to find me, I'll be the one sipping Pina Coladas in the tiki hut with Johnny Depp.



****Originally published by In The Powder Room under the title The Reason I'm Not In The Mile High Club in November 2013. Reprinted with permission.  


********Want more MENO MAMA? I'm over at Huffington Post TWICE this week! Whoo-Hoo!! First, I'm sharing my list of things I will never do on summer vacation. The second  feature on Huff Post is about empty nesting--what else?!? I'm also featured on Scary Mommy with a more serious post--"A Letter To My Younger Self." You can find all three sites here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcia-kester-doyle-/things-not-to-do-in-summer_b_5523838.html   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcia-kester-doyle-/from-empty-nest-to-full-house_b_5538248.html  http://www.scarymommy.com/to-my-younger-self


31 comments:

  1. I've become the other way... I wouldn't fly and then I had to for training for my job...I flew 10 times in 6 weeks... so now I'm used to it :-)

    Airplane washrooms are the worst... ...

    Also, I might think differently if I lived near the Bermuda Triangle...:-/

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    1. I think that once you do it numerous times, you get numb to the fear. Believe it or not, I used to fly a LOT when I was in school. But now…..no way!

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  2. I grew up with airline employees for parents. It was all first class travel for us.
    Not long ago I asked my dad when they stopped giving out pillows on a plane. He said they still do in first class.
    In the past ten years air travel just sucks. Thr whole security bs has ruined it for me.
    I have suddenly become a fan of driving.

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    1. So true!! At least during the years when I DID fly, it was fairly easy. Now they weigh your stuff, charge extra if it's over the weight limit, they don't feed you anymore…..too much money for too little service and hassle.

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  3. I've flown all my life. After my fearful-flyer Mom died she left me her fear, it came out of nowhere. I took a SOAR fearful flyer course and disappeared again. If I didn't fly I'd never be able to see the things I've seen in places like Morocco, India and Europe. And I sure love doing that.

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    1. That's really interesting---it worked for you! I've thought about enrolling in some sort of class to get over my fears. I really want to go back to Europe!

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  4. I really don't enjoy flying either. I feel like a sardine and I don't like touching strangers and sharing my air even if they have their cootie shots. Ya know Marcia, if you eat too many of those "tic tacs" weird stuff can happen. Just sayin.

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    1. You are so right! Last time I flew, I had to skip the little whiet pills and I went for the wine…and the vodka. That did the trick.

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  5. Yeah, pretty much a white-knuckle flier here as well. My preferred mode of travel? Horse. Now I take a sleeping pill when I get on board. If that big silver sucker goes down, no way I'm ever going to know about it!

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    1. I'm with you---ride a horse, drive a car, or take a train. No boats, though…..TITANIC.

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  6. I'm convinced "Bambi" is the impetus for every mother's fears about her children :) Flying doesn't bother me, but my poor hubby is another story - and his father was a pilot. He must love me because he flies where I tell him to!

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    1. Wow---his dad was a pilot and yet he hated flying?? I don't feel so bad now, hahaha!

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  7. I have flown all of my life, and never had any fear. I worry a lot more when I'm driving a car. But now I'm sort of wishing I hadn't read this ... :)

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    1. LOL! No worries---you really ARE safer in a plane than a car. Did I mention I have driving phobias, too….?

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  8. I don't love flying but I grew up flying and have my whole life. I've been to so many states and other countries and I have to admit that the trip has always been worth the flight. Now what I cannot stand is sitting in a car for 10 hours. Those are the worst trips for me and the ones I avoid all (most) all costs.

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    1. It's rough to drive that much, for sure! A few months ago we drove to Ohio---it was only supposed to be 17 hours but it ended up being 19…..not fun….

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  9. I don't like flying either, just not worth the aggrivation or expense. I take busses or trains everywhere. Figure other than an emergency, the only way I'm flying is if I'm crossing an ocean someday.

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    1. Ack! Flying over the ocean--- that would scare the crap out of me!!!

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  10. I love flying some people find it amusing that I do as I am afraid of open heights and I have to remind people that in a plane I am not in the open and yeah I know there are risks with flying but hell there are risks with everything right I could get hit by a bus while walking a car could drive through a window and hit my while I am at Macca's eating or I could be on a train that derails so there are risks with everything

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    1. You are so correct! I know my fear is irrational---I need to go to one of those classes that teaches you how to get over phobias.

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  11. Flying doesn't bother me much and I've been around the world a few times. I even think I could parachute out of a plane---provided it was on fire. Happy 4th.

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    1. Hahahahaha I'm having heart palpitations just THINKING of jumping out of a plane. NOOOOOO!!!!!

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  12. I so want to get you on a plane with me. I'll plow you with rum so much you will think I'm Captain Jack Sparrow!

    Maybe we'll even join the Mile High Club! That, or you'll probably vomit on my lap! ;-)

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    1. If I'm that lubed up on rum, I'm thinking BOTH of those things will occur! BAHAHAHA!!!

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  13. My husband refuses to take a plane also. We drive everywhere. I have flown a couple of times and loved it!

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  14. Hi Monica! Hope you got a lot of editing done this weekend! I only recently found out that my Mom didn't like to fly. She always told me that she really liked trains, and that's why she and my Dad took one on their honeymoon. My Dad just outed her this weekend! So you are not the only one for sure.
    You'll get where you need to go without a plane. John Madden got all over the USA in a bus to different football fields to do commentating. If he can do it, so can you :)
    Ceil

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  15. Just so you know, there are far more deaths every year linked to butterfingers-and-rum cake consumption than in aviation accidents.*

    If you don't want to fly, you don't fly...don't get the phobia though, because I would have LOVED to have flown on family vacations every year when I was a kid...instead we took the damn train from Orlando to New Yawk every year...which meant sleeping overnight in the chair which I wasn't comfortable with. The first year we did it we got hit by Hurricane Agnes and it was touch and go for awhile whether we'd make it out of there alive. (We did, in case you're wondering :)

    Granted, that was still better than what my parents did *before* we started taking the train...THREE MOTHERFUDGING DAYS OF DRIVING IN A MOTHERFUDGING CAR BEFORE THE INVENTION OF DVD PLAYERS OVER THE WINDSHIELD. I tell you, THAT was torture for a very small child. I wonder why the hell my parents didn't think of the train before that. I mean, the damn things had been around for 100 years. It was hardly newfangled technology.

    A couple of hours in a plane flying in the clouds? Well that's the closest to my Peter Pan fantasies that I could get. And at least back then they didn't make you take off your shoes and check your butt for explosives in case you're like Osama Bin Laden's 84th wife or something.

    You, you kids. You had it easy. ;)

    Too bad you didn't live in Orlando, or I didn't live in Pompano Beach. We might have been childhood friends. :)

    *Okay I admit I made that up...but seriously, you're more likely to die in a car crash than in a plane crash. :)

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    1. Now why do I get the feeling you're trying to convince me to get over my fear so I'll hop on a plane to visit you? If you supply the drinks and some sort of knock-out drug, then I'll consider it----butt check and all. :)

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