En route to solid ground

Speaking of airplanes, I don’t really like to fly.

The past few years or so–going on about twenty-five years now, if you want to know the truth–I have gone on driving vacations. I really have no desire to fly if I don’t have to. I would fly if the right opportunity came along. All I have to do is forget my last flight from Palm Springs, California, to Chicago back in 1979. Whew! What a flight!

I remember waiting in line to board the plane and just by chance I was standing behind the two flight attendants for our flight. I expressed some of my concerns about flying, such as looking out the windows and watching the wings flex up and down during the flight. I also mentioned how I didn’t like when an airplane would hit an air pocket it lose altitude suddenly. The flight attendants reassured me that that was normal during a lot of flights.  When we boarded the plane I sat directly behind the flight attendants. I asked them to hold my hand if we hit an air pocket. They just laughed, but I was serious. They told me not to worry about a thing.

Anyway, we were flying what seemed a normal, uneventful flight, except when I looked out and saw the wings flexing up and down over the Grand Canyon. The flight attendants smiled at me and reassured me that the wings were designed to flex during flight. They probably thought I was a big baby. Later, we hit an air pocket and the plane fell a little. I tried to show the flight attendants that I wasn’t scared even a little bit during that slight loss of altitude. They just smiled at me again.

Suddenly, the plane started bouncing and the pilot announced that we should all put on our seatbelts. The flight attendants sat down in front of me, put on their seatbelts, and told me not to worry about a thing. Wow, did we ever hit some turbulence! The plane shook like the Millenium Falcon when it reached warp speed. Everyone on the plane remained calm, including me. Then we hit a major air pocket. The plane started falling and it felt like a roller coaster descending the first big drop. But it kept falling for much longer than a roller coaster. I wanted to show the flight attendants how calm I could be during this air pocket. Suddenly, both flight attendants started screaming. That’s when I began to worry and I looked out the window to see if the wings were still attached to the plane. I thought, if these two seasoned flight attendants are screaming like this, surely we will crash. I tapped one of them on the shoulder and asked her, “Does that mean you won’t hold my hand?” They were so embarrassed when they remembered that I was sitting behind them.

Well, needless to say, we landed safely in Chicago, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. And that was the last time I flew. But I’m not afraid to fly. Not really.

Is the plane falling out the sky?