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