Sale of The Century and Fear of Flying

Sale of The Century and Fear of Flying

First Published on Myspace Blogs in 2008

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Part 1 Sale of The Century Audition Day can be read HERE

 

 

The months past quickly and soon July turned into August. Finally the phone call came on a Monday morning. Taping was on Wednesday, would I be able to fly down?

Umm…. well….. geez, hang on for a sec I will just take a moment and lock a box down in my mind before I answer that.

Oh Is the pope a catholic? Do Kangaroos poop in the bush? Will I fly down to Melbourne, to be chauffeured driven to the TV studios of the Largest TV network in the nation and then be pampered and spoilt in a dressing room with makeup and hair stylists, star spotting and dinner with a free appearance on TV where I could win some prizes thrown into the mix?  hmmm tough choice YES,  you betcha ass, of course I will be there, with bells on,

Fear of Flying? What Fear?

“what time does the flight leave”

Tuesday night I couldn’t sleep a wink and I was very tired when I dragged my bones out of bed before dawn to travel up to Sydney Airport. I was terrified, I really hate flying. Oh it’s not the flying itself I am scared of, give me wings any day and I will soar, a little lower than Icarus though. It is just that I don’t know who is flying the plane and what he did last night. That goes for the mechanics too. Were they hungover and missed an all important bolt that holds the tail rudder in place? Besides I am a writer, the planes I think about crash. What sort of story begins and ends safely at an airport with no drama in between? Even Mine here doesn’t.

My ticket was business class, to this day I don’t know the difference between the “classes” and I guess that is why I wasn’t so successful at school. All I know was that being seated squashed in the window seat, next to a fat fat man in way way too tight business suit was not the optimum way to travel. What is it with airlines, do they see I am so tiny and figure I can give three quarters of my seat up for Mr. 400 Pounds?

He was quite nice though and kept talking to me while the engines revved up and sweat began pouring out the palms of my hands. Maybe he sensed I was nervous, although that was not too difficult to guess with the stiff as a board, startled as a rabbit in the headlights stance I was taking myself as the plane itself was taking off. Of course he regaled me with stories of how he flies between the two cities every few days. He went on to explain in great detail to me all about the common woes of turbulence as I was watching the big monitor out of the corner of my eye flash through thousands of feet a second, climbing in altitude. “Most of the time you get some turbulence,” he said, “Oh, it is not often that the plane actually drops a hundred or so feet but it does happen.

 Gulp!!

 By this time I had turned grey and I looked out my tiny window over the wing just outside to get away from the claustrophobic atmosphere of the plane. Uh Oh bigger mistake, the wing was shaking, I could see it vibrating and wobbling out there. My writer’s imagination started to get away from me and I pictured the pop rivets working loose from the vibration, with the wing horrifically and catastrophically tearing away from the wind forces outside the plane. I never knew hands could sweat so much. I think at that point I turned green, I know I turned violently ill.

 I stood, turned to my overly friendly companion and looked at him regretfully, “Sorry, bathroom” I explained with a little shy smile.

Of course it took me five minutes to get passed him into the aisle. I should have just said Stay there! and then done a rabbit spring bolt into the aisle over his head but I managed to hold onto some sense of decorum in my mounting panic. I almost ran to the toilet and sat down, panting, trying to get my breath back and calm down the fear.

 Hey this was alright.

 

ok not me above could be me only not as cute

 

I told myself that it could be a toilet anywhere that I was now seated in with a puddle of sweat pooling at my soggy feet. I looked around and nodded to myself, “Yes, this in fact, could be a train toilet and I am not really on a plane, I am on a train or a bus even and this is the tiny bus toilet”. The sweat subsided and my breathing returned to normal slowly. I started to wonder just how long they gave you to go to the toilet in these things. I figured I had about fifteen minutes before anyone started to raise alarms so I set about getting myself quite acquainted with the tiny silver cubicle. I marveled at the curve and drop of the toilet bowl itself and how everything was designed for you to even have a shave in there if required. Finally I figured it was time to face the world again, or in this particular instance, the air outside my safe little haven. I sat on the seat for another minute or so composing myself and preparing myself. By now my hands had almost dried. I had never seen anything like it and I was amazed that stress and fear could do that to a person. I know now why they say never to trust a person with sweaty palms. I looked at my hands and imagined devious business dealings and sweaty palmed handshakes over transactions with millions of dollars of black market money. Ah it was all good, sometimes my writers imagination could completely get my mind off something else. What was I stressed about again? I stood up and walked out, confident I had overcome my fears as walked along the aisle towards my seat.

Uh Oh, I am in a plane.

 I cannot get away from it, there they are, those seats lined up exactly like in every writers nightmare novel and every disaster movie known to man. The double rows of seats at the side and the row of seats down the middle with a nice smiling cabin crew member standing at the other end, part way through the usual demonstration of what to do in an emergency or crash. She looked and smiled at me as I was walking towards her, in one hand she held the oxygen mask aloft and in the other she held a lifejacket as the video screen behind her demonstrated the flashing lights in the aisles. I went white, there was no other color left to go. My legs shook under me and my hands started pouring sweat faster than Niagara Falls pours water.

I wobbled to my row of seats and my overly friendly fat fat man with my eyes fixed on the life jacket waving around down the front in some kind of morbid fascination. Wasn’t this a “Glass half empty,” kinda thing. Why even mention crashing if this umm .. vehicle is as safe you proclaim. Sure enough the crew member was in fact now promoting the perfect historical safety record of the airline with an animated look of sheer bliss on her over painted face. By now my head was spinning and my face was changing colors faster than Michael Schumacher changes gears.

I began to squeeze past Mr. 400 pounds when I was silly enough to look up, straight out the little tiny window and straight onto a very wobbly vibrating plane wing. Uh Oh, Panic stations again. Too much, I really really want out of here. I turned and made a beeline back to the toilet. I somehow managed to compose my face as I tried to look like I had forgotten something in the tiny little silver cubicle.

After shutting myself inside and sitting once again on my tiny silver throne controlling my breathing and wiping my hands for a few minutes, I looked at my watch. Half an hour had gone past since we had taken off in Sydney. I quickly calculated the times and realized that there was only 35 minutes to go. If I spent another five minutes in the toilet, then went and sat down and focused on my book and book only, I might be able to do this.

..

I sighed and looked around again. I began talking myself up again. The sensible fairy sat on my shoulder and started chattering away. “Come on, after all you have done and all you have ever faced, you can’t even get to Melbourne without a sweat? How many planes fly around every single day without accident. It is safer odds than traveling in a car” She was right but then there was the imp on the other shoulder that was saying something else. “Yes but in a car you can often walk away or avoid the collision but in a plane there is only one way and that is straight down.” He was right too. Which part of me to believe?

Eventually I decided I more brave than I was scared so I gingerly stepped out again and walked steadily back to my seat, being careful to avoid eye contact with cabin crew, curious passengers and tiny windows.

Mr. 400 pounds looked quite contrite as I squeezed myself flatter than a thin based pizza in order to squash past him. “I say, I didn’t turn you a bit off with those turbulence stories did I lovey”

I turned and looked at him with a grimacy smile, concentrating hard on his chubby red face in order to swallow my mounting fears down. As I answered him I reached behind me and pulled the tiny blind down over the window and my horrifically picturesque view of a wobbling vibrating wing.

“Oh no not at all. I think the take off made me a tad queasy.”

I bent down and picked my book up and immediately glued myself in it. Only I couldn’t glue. The plane decided that it was just the perfect time to encounter my morbidly obese friend’s “Turbulence.”  The plane started bumping up and down and then dropped slightly, leaving my stomach still on the ceiling. It landed back inside me with a thump and I gripped my book tighter than a vice as the pilot’s voice came over the speaker system apologizing for the rough ride and explaining it would soon be over.

Ooh that sounded too ominous for my imaginative mind. I buried my face in my book and pretended to read as the plane bumped and wobbled along the journey south. It wasn’t working, I had to overcome this. With a thud that made my neighbor jump in his seat (if that was possible) I tossed my book back down onto my bag. I sat back, gripping the armrests as I talked myself into overcoming the fear. Slowly I turned and peered out the window.

Not good not good it’s wobbling out there. I forced myself to keep looking as I reasoned with myself and then I glanced down. I felt my mind drop the thirty or so thousand feet and shatter on the ground. I kept the mental hold and slowly my mind re melded as I took in the sights below. I was still scared but by now logic had beaten panic back into his corner.

I turned and started taking in my surroundings for the first time. As usual the other passengers fascinated me. The expressions on faces were so wooden and unmoving. It was more lack of expression in fact. Suddenly above my head in front the seat belts light flashed and the pilots voice came over the radio system. We will be landing in Melbourne Shortly and hope you had a good flight, yadda yadda, the voice droned on as I watched the altitude screen drop the numbers faster. Closer and closer to freedom I thought as I belted myself in and prepared myself for the landing.

I was so brave. As we were coming in to land I actually peeked out the window…….for a whole second until the orange panic button marked “not a good idea” flashed on in my mind. The Pessimistic Imp sat on my shoulder shattering away as he gleefully reminded me that most accidents happen on lift off and touch down but soon enough the sensible fairy came out racing out with gloves on and with a whopper of a right hook, King Hit the Imp and KO’ed him in one. Touchdown. Safety, We had arrived in Melbourne.

As we taxied to the terminal I gathered my bag together and started slapping myself and berating myself for being such a fool. I wasn’t too pleased with myself as I walked slowly up the tunnel, trying to regain my land legs and sensibilities while thanking my lucky stars that I had made it this far. Walking out into the terminal I was stunned to see a group of men in smart business suits with cards held up in front of them, calling out names. Oh seeing the men didn’t stun me, I had seen them before. What stunned me was the second man along who looked very dapper in a funeral like black suit was holding up a card with my very own name on it. Just for me.

I walked up to him and pointed at the card. He asked if I was Margaret and I said yes and He asked me to step over behind me to stand with two other people who were sheepishly waiting behind him looking just as lost as I was.

Mr. Chauffeur ushered the three of us out of the terminal into the hazy sunlight. In front of us was a huge shining black limousine. He opened the doors and told us to hop in and he explained her would be back shortly when he has picked some bagged up.

The three of us looked around at our surroundings and then into each others eyes. We all laughed at the same time.

Wow, star treatment.

And so it began but you will have to wait for the third and final Installment of Sale of The Century to find out just what happened at the studios

 

 

So Tell Me

Do You Like Flying?
What is Your Fear?
Have You Overcome Fears?
What is your worst fear experience?

and remember.. I would love to know and I love long comments.. *grins

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