The Window Seat

A warm summer’s day, just outside Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

If you ever have the unfortunate experience of sitting next to me on an airplane, let me apologize in advance. I’ll need to have the window seat, and I get up frequently to nurse an overactive and jittery bladder. I’ll be wiping the sweat from my palms onto my pants whilst my legs bounce at an alarmingly rapid and out of sync beat. I’ll make nervous inane chit chat upon take-off, prolonged turbulence, and landing. I may ask you to hold my hand. I’ll draw on the in-flight magazines. I’ll write notes to the cabin crew on the motion sickness bags. On long flights I’ll watch the same movie 2-3 times. If you’re really unlucky, I might quietly cry unexpectedly. I’ll drink as much wine as I can get my hands on, and if I’m cut off, I’ll attempt to persuade you to buy it for me. So now you know what you’re in for, and it’s too late to change seats.

Normanton River, Karumba, Far North Queensland Australia

Moorings on the Parramatta River, Sydney, Australia

Moorings on the Parramatta River, Sydney, Australia

As for the cabin crew; I’ll be the one who is white in the face. I’ll be the one who ritualistically touches the outside of the vessel before boarding for some unknown reason. I’ll be looking to you for comfort, support and possibly sympathy. You’ll ask me how I’m doing as you scan over my ticket, expecting me to say ‘fine’ and move on to my seat, but I’ll reply with the truth: ‘oh, I’m just terrified’. I’ll be the one with correct change jingling in my hand for 10 minutes before you and your drink cart reach my seat, I can already taste the fermented grapes. I’ll be the one attempting to buy two bottles of Sauv Blanc at once, claiming vehemently that I’m not an alcoholic, I’m just scared, and yes, I know it’s only 7am! I’ll be overly excited when the food comes, welcoming the distraction it provides far more than its flavor. I’ll be judging the safety of the flight on your demeanor, so please don’t look nervous, scared or upset in any way while on duty. Your job cripples me with fear and, because of that, you fascinate me.

The long and winding road.  {Sydney, Australia}

The long and winding road. {Sydney, Australia}

Bay Bridge, San Francisco CA

Bay Bridge, San Francisco CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, to my intense irrational fear of flight; I’ll be the one making the choices around here. Legion, are the opportunities and adventures I would miss out on if I let this silly behaviour stop me from following my path. I’ll be the one hopping around the world exploring, the one living my risks. I’ll be the one splendouring at the bird’s eye view with white knuckles from the window seat.

 

Sydney Harbour entrance

Sydney Harbour entrance

Coming in for a landing, Sydney CBD

Coming in for a landing, Sydney CBD

Sun halo over Maui, HI

Cairns, Queensland Australia

Silhouette of Sydney Harbour

Silhouette of Sydney Harbour

Opera House, Harbour Bridge,  North Sydney

Opera House, Harbour Bridge, North Sydney

Southport, Queensland Australia

Southport, Queensland Australia

Gateway Bridge, Brisbane, Australia

Gateway Bridge, Brisbane, Australia

Rainbow over Western Australia

Downtown San Francisco, Trans America Building

Downtown San Francisco, Trans America Building

Honolulu / Waikiki, Oahu, HI

Honolulu / Waikiki, Oahu, HI

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco CA

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco CA

Oahu, HI

Normanton Cemetary, Far North Queensland, Australia

Mornington Island, Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia

Mornington Island, Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia

Mining outside Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Valley Isle, Maui HI

The Valley Isle, Maui HI

HC&S Sugar Cane processing plant, Maui HI

Wailuku / Kahului area, Maui HI

Olowalu, – Honoapiilani Hwy, Maui, HI

Prop flight out of Cairns, Australia

Prop flight out of Cairns, Australia

New South Wales, Australia

Pure Outback, Far North Queensland, Australia

Hawkesbury River, New South Wales, Australia

Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Chao Praya River flowing into the Gulf of Thailand

New South Wales, Australia

New South Wales

A line drawn in the sand… New South Wales, Australia

Cairns, Australia

Cairns, Queensland

Waterways in Queensland, Australia

Waterways in Queensland, Australia

Cairns, Queensland

Highways near Bangkok, Thailand

Queensland, Australia

Queensland, Australia

Please; No Furbies on the aircraft!

Please; No Furbies on the aircraft!

From one of my MANY bathroom breaks!

From one of my MANY bathroom breaks!

Sometimes you need not conquer fears, but merely have a distraction from them long enough to get the job done.

 

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7 thoughts on “The Window Seat

  1. Stormy says:

    Birds of a feather… Years ago I was filming a movie called Donnie Darko, it was the plane crash scene and I was so freaked out and pale the director cut the scene to see if I was ok. I was pale green, sweating and trembling. We we in an air conditioned set in burbank. I went on to take flying lessons and came very close to buying a bear cub but thats another story. Water is a much more civilized way to travel.
    P.S. :) Welcome back, we missed you.

    • I just borrowed that movie from the library a couple days ago. Looks like I’ll have to watch it tonight! You’re so right, water is the preferred method of travel. Although I also have a soft spot in my heart for trains as well. Over land / sea travel makes the world feel so much larger and I dig that. :)

  2. Sully says:

    Between the nervousness while flying and the love of train travel you sound an awful lot like Pop… Except he prefers beer. :-)

  3. Steven says:

    Great post, great pics!!!
    Cheers.

  4. s/v Ocean Gypsy says:

    Tina: I KNOW the following comments will be of little comfort………..but I feel compelled to offer my unsolicited opinion nonetheless. For the last 25 years, my profession has been the airplane business; flying, building, testing and certifying. In this day and age, only laying in bed is statistically safer (and even then not by much) Before you are in a “plane crash” you will have been 11 times more likely to have been hit by lightning….twice…., 127 times more likely to have been bitten by a shark and thousands of times more likely to be in a FATAL car accident, About the only less-likely event than a plane crash is being mugged by red-headed twin albino Hungarian transvestites, wearing prada, on their way to Open Mike Night at Dr. Chang’s Sushi Bar & Pleasure Emporium. In other words, as you sit at the window seat, be more concerned about an infected hang-nail leading to amputation than the wings falling off the airplane. But, as I said, rational explanations to the irrational (fear) is……well, irrational. The science behind getting 175,000 lbs of metal into the air is very similar to sailing. The physics of lift, center of low pressure, and venturi effect are identical in both airplane and sailboat.

    What you need to do is CHANGE the experience in your mind and heart. Close your eyes. Those bumps and blips you feel in the airplane is just your “ship” riding the currents in the air (like the ocean). Like your rigging, the flexing wing is intentional and graceful, and in no way different than the flex in spars and rigging when close hauled. The airplane rides over turbulence, the same way you approach a 5 meter wave on your surf board, only to glide over the top effortlessly. Then open your eyes and look out the window. See what only birds and The Gods saw for most of human history. Look at Mother Earth and see her in a way that, to this day, only 2% of the population of our planet has ever seen.

    Consider. Perhaps, like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, that airplane has a soul and WANTS to get you to your destination, be it to visit loved ones, take you on your next big adventure, or recover from a broken heart. Feel the animal carrying you aloft. Like a horse at full gallop, or a motorcycle with the throttle wide open, or a raft on Class IV white water rapids. Do not be afraid. Be Intrigued and in Awe!

    Oh, and don’t let the bugger in the seat next to you steal your peanuts!

    Woops, the 50 cents in the Karma Meter is up, so I will dial back the cathartic introspection and let you get back to digging your nails into the seat armrests.

    BTW, love your photography. An “eye: like yours is a gift!

    PAX
    Ken

    • Hi Ken,
      Your words, and perspective, are much appreciated! I love the analogy of a plane being like the Tin Man. I assure you, I’ll think of that next time I reluctantly board a jetliner. Such are the nature of irrational fears, that no amount of reasoning will change them, and I do find comfort in your suggestion to change the experience. I wonder if I haven’t trained myself to be afraid simply because my mind is used to that reaction while flying. So, I’ll continue to observe this strange fear and see if I can at least modify it, if not rid myself of it.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Tina

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