Fear of flying


The solution perhaps

I’m not a nervous flier. No valium or Xanax for me, thank you.

I note that I am managing my claustrophobia very well. I am in a window seat and legroom is scarce, which isn’t great when you’re over 5’8″ and your legs make up most of your height. Thanks, tall gene.

I don’t complain, though. I hate people who complain; selfish, idiotic people who don’t realise it’s not entirely, if it all, the fault of the person they’re yelling at. I’ve dealt with enough of them in my own jobs. ‘They shout at the uniform, not the person,’ they used to tell us in the bowling alley where I worked as a teenager. Well, whatever they’re shouting at, even if they’re shouting at the wall, I never want to be that person who yells and complains. Who can’t be pleased. I never will be.

There is a young mother who looks like Lily Allen carrying a sullen toddler. The difference between her and Ms. Allen, however, is that she is permanently grinning, like she’s been slugging out of a bottle of liquidised Prozac. Just as I’m wondering who’d win in a fight between the two of them, the kid starts to whine. Great. The only thing worse than small children on aeroplanes is screaming small children on aeroplanes.
His mother’s smile doesn’t waver. ‘Come on, Daniel,’ she says, looking apologetic to the poor woman who she’s about to sit next to. ‘We’re on a plane, look! We’re going to fly!’

Yay! We’re going to fly!

I discreetly read over the shoulder of the girl next to me, poring over one of those magazines that I hate. Kim Kardashian’s still pregnant. I hope the sprog has more sense than her. Hang on, why do I care? Dip dye is still in. Some girl I’ve never even heard of has apparently started a cosmetic revolution by wearing a bit of smokey eyeshadow. Sod you, Cara whatsyourname. I’ve been doing that since I was thirteen. Next to her is a guy in a leather jacket chatting away across the aisle to his girlfriend. The plane staff struggle to move past them, but neither of them apologise. I think they are rude.

I’m not a nervous flier. No valium or Xanax for me.

I’m not sure I like being able to see the wing moving though as we take off. Though take off is usually my favourite part – I feel like yelling ‘WHHHEEEEEE’ – I’m a little concerned about that clicking sound I keep hearing. What the shit is it? Is the aircraft about to fall apart? Click, that wing looks flimsy. Holy hell. Did I tell my mother I loved her earlier? I can’t remember. Am I wearing any make-up? My reflection in the window tells me no. Damn! And I’m wearing these grotty jeans. I feel like I should be a little more dressed up for an event such as my death.

What is that noise? It sounds like the floor is falling away.

The girl next to me turns the page in her magazine. The guy on the end of the aisle is terrorising an air hostess about food.

I don’t complain. I hate people who complain.

The clouds are pretty. England looks like a toy town from up here. Size is all messed up now. If the plane crashed on a group of houses, it would probably only completely destroy one or two. From up here though it looks like we could flatten an entire village.

The clicking stops. Phew.

But that wing looks like it would snap if I stood on it. Stop looking at it. How does it keep the entire thing up in the air? How are we up here? Physics, I know. But I don’t even understand most of the jokes in The Big Bang Theory. How the hell am I supposed to know how a plane works.

Pass the valium.

Fear of flying was written by Stephanie-Louise Farrell.