Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flight or fright

Had a lovely Japanese home stay student a few years ago who described her job with airline as "fright attendant". I thought was very apt as have spent years dreading getting on planes after horror flight involving alarming amount of plummeting.
Was small plane, and situation not improved by cabin enjoying clear view of pilot fighting to keep plane upright whilst wiping sweat/tears? from his face. Man behind me was sobbing volubly, while cabin mates held hands across the aisle or scribbled notes to loved ones... self too terrified to do any of above, just prayed all would be well - which it was. But result was that henceforward boarding what is essentially just big tin can full of explosive material and hanging far far above ground for hours at a time, shifted from the logical side of my brain (which was only very sparsely furnished to begin with) into emotional side of my brain. Any suggestion of getting on plane stimulated instant rush of adrenaline to the terror and tears departments.
Fear of flying was not actually huge impediment for many years, as could barely afford to take bus let alone fly anywhere, but business has grown, and in last 2 years have had to fly several times a month sometimes several times a week.
First few times was total embarrassment- begging for medicinal alcohol from attendants before seat belt sign even lit. Sobbed noisily all over long suffering publicist after 5 flights in 4 days, and shrieked with terror on "vomit comet" leaving Wellington on a windy day, but even I can see I'm getting better.
Used to have to talk relentlessly to unsuspecting passengers to distract myself from slightest bump. So would know more about them than their gynecologist at the end of a 50 min flight. God help you if seated next to me on a long haul.
New I was doing well when headed off to Invercargill - Southland NZ last week - Flew from Auckland to Christchurch then had to change to small plane to go the final distance. Cant say I enjoyed flight, but was OK. Invercargill was cool (literally 5 degrees), lovely people and a unique and fascinating landscape. My biggest concern was that flight took as long as flying to Gold Coast only when landed was SOOOO not in Brisbane!
Am quite proud of self as am not brave or adventurous sort.
Wondered if others had conquered or were in process of facing a fear?