I set foot on a plane for the first time when I was 23 years old. Nervous, I listened intently to all the safety procedures. I wanted to know what to do should my plane crash… because, after all, that was guaranteed, right? It was in the fine print along with what it cost to change your tickets and the official airline peanut disclosure (the one notifying you the peanuts contained peanuts.) Your first flight will crash.
Yeah… no. Didn’t happen (obviously) and in the years since I’ve become that passenger that sits down and opens a book. I might give a cursory glance at the flight attendants as they wave their arms and put the yellow life vest on… but I’ve heard it enough that I can practically say it with them.
I sometimes glance around me to see if I can see any first-timers listening to every word. I remember one flight where, during boarding, a mother ran ahead to take a picture of her daughter taking her first steps on a plane. It was half annoying, half amusing, half what-the-he….
Yes, three halves. Shut up.
The girl was a champ. Her first flight didn’t crash either.
So as I write this, once again I am somewhere between Tennessee and Texas. And as I gaze down at the clouds below us, I can’t help but think to myself… everyone should do this atleast once. Now, granted, if you battle claustrophobia, you might be the exception to my broad sweeping statement. But otherwise… you should do it. Yes, even you, Mr. Afraid-of-heights. That’s what aisle seats are for. Pbththth
But flying is an experience. If you dare and take an window seat, it makes you realize how small you really are in the grand scheme of this earth. As cars and trucks become like ants and the ground a huge quilt of fields, golf courses, houses and baseball diamonds, your own existence is realized as being one little piece of the world’s puzzle.
You encounter such a wide range of people when flying. The businessman, focused on the next big deal. The lover with a dreamy and excited look as they can’t wait to see their special someone (or with tears as they leave them). The family on vacation. The mother with a baby, hoping to not be THAT passenger that gives the entire cabin a headache. The Redneck. The socialite. The loudmouth. The child flying alone after a trip to see grandma (or a parent).
Flying gives you time to quiet your mind. Flying gives you time to read. Flying let’s you befriend a stranger (if you are so inclined.) Flying gives you… you time!
See, flying isn’t just about getting from point A to point B. It’s about the experience. Oh, sure, I’ve had bad experiences… a 7 hour delay (when I could have driven the trip in 3 hours). Terrible seat-mates. Rough landings. The time a woman REFUSED to trade seats so my husband and I could sit together on a 4 hour flight. A cabin full of junior high kids on a trip. Luggage concerns. Etc.
But on a whole, I take the good and shrug off the bad. I enjoy flying. A lot. I wish everyone else did, too, and I urge those non-flyers to try it sometime.
BTW — there isn’t really anything in any fine print about crashing. So stop looking for it and panicking. Sheesh!!