To begin with, I simply pretend I am fearless. As I walk through the airport in my trusty danskos, wearing my dark jeans (not these jeans since I do need to sit) and pulling my cute, red laptop tote on wheels, I almost convince myself that I am not anxious.
Which actually works, right up until the moment they announce our flight.
Once we are in the air, to stop myself from analyzing engine noises (like I am such an expert on what an engine should sound like), I stuff ear phones into my ears and listen to the airline music playlist.
This time I find some Broadway tunes...okay, then. I decide on Wicked, and select one of my favorite songs from that musical: Defying Gravity. Thirty seconds later I am mentally yelling at myself: What the heck? Defying Gravity? That's the song you want to listen to while flying in a tin can???
I move on to reading, but the novel I brought requires more concentration than I can summon and, besides, it's hard to read and analyze engine noises at the same time. When I reach into the seat pocket in front of me searching for lighter reading material, I accidentally pull out the laminated pamphlet diagramming emergency exits. I stuff everything back into the pocket.
The television monitor does help a little, and I measure time by watching Friends...one episode, and I mentally mark off thirty minutes. Two episodes...an entire hour has gone by!
Things are going just fine until two things happen: the seat belt sign comes on, and the pilot announces that we are going through some rough air (i.e. turbulence).
Now I don't -- can't -- listen to music, read, or watch television because I am too busy praying. I scrutinize the airline attendant's face to see if she looks worried...but she seem pretty calm, so I figure things are okay. I remember to breathe.
Eventually the four hours pass, and when we land I feel exalted. I go on to have three wonderful days with my husband...three days of dining in fine restaurants, walking in the evenings, talking about anything and everything, listening to Singin' in the Rain playing at the Bellagio fountains, seeing Jersey Boys, and eating pistachio and hazelnut gelato at the Venetian.
No, I may not like to fly, but I will do it. You see, when I weigh wonderful life moments against fear, I'll take the wonderful life moments every single time.
The Bellagio Fountains