I love to travel.  I do not love to fly.

The mere mentioning of traveling somewhere that involves flying (even those dream trips we all plan in the far off future) cause me to break out in hives.

“Flight attendants, please prepare the cabin for take-off.”…..ugh, some of the words I dread most in life.  Well I take that back, the seatbelt light coming back on in mid-flight and then the pilot coming on (in his deepest voice) saying, ” Uhhh, passengers, we are anticipating some ‘choppy air ‘ and need everyone to return to your seats and fasten your seat belts.  Flight attendants, please suspend all drink and snack service and return to your seats for the duration of the flight.”

Yep, those are the ones I dread most.  I have had this happen a few times, and will have you know (on a particular occasion) that I stared holes in the flight attendant in my view sight the entire time (making eye contact on several occasions) to watch for any “irregular” reaction.  Because logic told me, if the flight attendants were calm, then surely we’d be ok?   I am pretty sure she was about to call the pilot for some back up to the crazy lady in seat 34D, but alas, the choppy air subsided and she instead decided to come check on me and make sure I was alright.  “I just don’t like turbulence,” I said in my saddest and most frightened 6 year old voice I could muster up.  She smiled and asked me if there was anything I needed for the drink cart- “um…yes, please!”

I have only once REALLY embarrassed my husband when brought to tears on flying back from England a few years back with his family after a lovely vacation.  If you don’t know, I will go ahead and tell you, there is some “choppy air” up there around Maine and Canada.  I think I almost hyperventilated.  Since then I have followed a strict diet of Tylenol pm and chardonnay  or bloody mary (if I feel like I need my veggies) prior to any flight.  He now is not embarrassed, but rather annoyed when his wife has her face pressed against the window drooling out of one corner of her mouth while he is trying to entertain the kids.

Now I am going to really throw you for a loop.  I have a friend who is a pilot of a tiny little airplane.  I don’t love flying in it, but I don’t hate it either.  I have not flown with him a lot, but he is very well aware of my phobia and is considerate of my “situation”.  I get to sit up front and he tells me EVERYTHING that is going on.   He explains every noise and every move he makes.     Twice we have been in the plane getting ready to take off and something has happened and he says “Sorry folks, we aren’t going to be flying today.”  No problem here!

So that brings me to my more recent flight two weeks ago…

(Let me stop and say that I am very fortunate and happy that I have gotten to travel like I have and take our kids cool places.  SO for those of you who are rolling your eyes at this post…well, I am too much of a southern lady to tell you on the internet what you can go do but if you’d like to talk about if over coffee I’ll do a dang good job making you feel like an idiot before it’s all said and done.)

I have been taking a yoga class to try and help me with some aches and pains I have been having from training for a half- marathon I am running next week. (Stay with me, I know this seems like I am on the Tylenol and chardonnay diet as I type, but I will bring this back full circle.)  It was Wednesday morning and we were flying out that afternoon to Utah to see my brother-in-law and his family.  The guru teaching always starts by asking what is going on with us physically and mentally.  It was a small class and my husband wasn’t there to be totally embarrassed, so I just blurted out, “I am afraid to fly and I am flying to Utah this afternoon.”  The only other girl who was in the class just happened to be a retired flight attendant.  Of course.  The guru was very calm and told me this trick of how I could find my pulse and use my breathing to regulate my heart rate and calm me down.  Thanks, I’ll try that….right, like that was going to work!

We arrive at the airport and  all members of my party (Frank and the kids) were all looking for something to eat, whereas I was looking for the nearest bar.  I’m thinking the pulse trick may not work so I am going to need some back up.   As you can imagine, trying to get the 3 year old (who was very excited about his first plane ride) to sit ANYWHERE for ANY length of time was quite a challenge.  The clock was ticking…time was running out and I was going to have to rely on the pulse trick after all!

Did I mention this was the same night tornado’s were going through Birmingham, AL?  For those of you who may be geographically challenged- Birmingham is on the way to Utah.

Pilot comes on, welcomes us aboard, goes over the safety…yadda yadda yadda…it’s time for take off.  I feel for my pulse….I CAN’T FIND IT!!!!  Dear Lord, I am already dead!!!!!!

I feel the other wrist….where is it!!!  Back to the other wrist…press harder dammit!! It has to be there somewhere???!!!  Ahhhh…there it is…thumpthumpthumpthumpthump….breath deep…thump-thump thump.  Breath. Thump- Thump- Thump.  Thump- Thump. Thump- Thump.  Wow, this really does work.  However,I had to do this the ENTIRE FLIGHT.  It worked, but I may have done major damage to my wrists in the process.

Bottom line, the pulse trick did work, but it helped a lot when that drink cart came rolling down the aisle.

I hope that this fear will lessen with time.  I am trying to be better about it “outwardly” because the girls have picked up on it a little and that is definitely not a trait I want to pass down to them.  Until next time….



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