PART ONE : Fear of Flying – Grumpy Style
Let’s set out our parameters first. We’ll move from the philosophical to the logical in an attempt to explain Grumpy’s feelings about commercial flight.
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” –– Leonardo da Vinci
Not on your life, Leo. It says here that there is more to taking a plane flight than feeling the bliss. Never did da Vinci envision airport parking, security checks, turbulence, delays, cramped quarters, X-ray machines, luggage limits and trying to pee when your knees are knocking and the closet sized room is moving hither and tither.
More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination.” — Wilbur Wright
Wilbur, I not only can conceive it, I can truly feel it.
“Excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost”, is the nature of the game. However, I feel you could substitute the word “excitement” with any of the following nouns: frustration, distress, anxiety,irritation, claustrophobia and abject fear.
Yes, abject fear strains every one of my nerves to the utmost
The perfect peace he speaks of comes when those wheels finally touch the ground upon landing and the passengers clap and cheer, knowing well they get to live – yet another day. No doubt, there is a certain peace in that.
Now don’t get me wrong, Grumpy does not fear flying. He simply is not a theme park thrill rider and is a more contented human being with his feet planted firmly on the ground. Really, he prescribes to the loathing part when he contemplates the idea of fear and loathing.
LOATHING: (Noun) a strong dislike or disgust; an intense aversion.
Yes, that’s exactly what Grumpy’s talking about! He has an aversion to flying.
So, to begin the first part of this series about flight, Grumpy will share some of his journal entries, written as he prepared himself for an Alaskan Cruise five short years ago. This trip included a five hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver and a 21 hour ship, bus, and plane trip from Anchorage, Alaska to Vancouver and back to Toronto.
GRUMPY’S ALASKAN TRIP JOURNAL ENTRY 2008 : Thoughts About Flying
Really the reality of flying doesn’t scare me one bit. Is it not the fastest means through which we travel great distances?
Packed in like so many sardines we strap ourselves into those great flying buses and wind our way into the stratosphere. I never once wonder how something that weighs as much as a lake freighter stays up in the air. What’s 40 000 or 50 000 feet anyway –that’s only about eight or nine miles off the ground! (12 or 15 km for those of you who are metrically inclined) Heck, that’s only about the distance from my house to the town of Simcoe –a mere ten minute drive.
For a guy that experiences vertigo on the middle run of a step ladder, flying is a piece of cake.
GRUMPY’S FORTUITOUS FLYING TIPS
ONE: Your car will get you to Florida in less than 22 hours. A plane flight takes less than three. Do the math. You get more quality time with you family on a motor trip and – you are the PILOT and the Captain.
Drive – don’t fly.
TWO: You should never drink and drive. You should always “drink” and fly; unless you are the pilot, of course.
I could write a book about this recommendation. My buddy always maintained that flying inebriated was the only way to go. Of course, he’s deceased now and you guessed it, his demise wasn’t triggered by a plane wreck.
Nevertheless, I’m always willing to give the old college try and usually test this theory long before I board the plane or arrive at the airport for that matter.
The problem, of course, is that there are certain effects of altitude which you might have to deal with. The first thing is that the buzz hits you sooner and harder and your bladder fills to a new found capacity. The worst moment occurs when that damn “FASTEN SEATBELT” sign flashes and you have to pee like a racehorse. Have you ever stood in a slow moving line when your bladder is as big as a basketball? Defying gravity doesn’t mean that there is no gravity at all, my friends.
Besides, when a guy tries to pee standing up in a buffeting bathroom, away back in the tail section of an airplane, it’s not unlike trying to pin the tail on the donkey like a 6 years old who is as dizzy as a whirling dervish.
Well, I guess!
How about the suction in those toilets? I swear they launch their contents into outer space. Talk about space junk.
Maybe that’s why Henry David Thoreau foretold, “Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.”
Well, look out David, those meteorites you see in the night sky might be frozen ice of a different origin.
THREE: You should always drink and fly but under no circumstance should you drink beer.
Beer is a carbonated gaseous concoction developed purely for land creatures. Take beer in the air and that gas you ultimately need to release expands and contracts with every change in altitude. Now you have a bladder as big as a basketball and a colon stretched as wide as a dirigible. You’re either going to explode or catch fire or both. Releasing the hounds might just set off one of the many detectors in the cabin, making flatulence every bit as dangerous as dynamite hidden in someone’s shoe.
Heaven forbid that they add a new security check for that faux pas!
“Sir, would you please step aside. Our x-Ray indicates that you’re bloated and we’d like to check you’re bowels for flammables!”
FOUR: The mile high club is overrated. It’s hard enough to pee at 50 000 feet let alone try anything else with your equipment.
FIVE: No matter what anyone tells you, it doesn’t matter where you sit on a plane if it crashes – you die.
That’s why the silence on a plane is so all encompassing on take-off and landings. Everyone one of your fellow passengers understood Physics 101 –what goes up must come down. That’s why they coined that oxymoron called a “crash landing”. I don’t think you can have both?
Comedian Ron White has a great story illustrating this very fact.
He’s flying home to LA when the pilot comes on the blower and announces, “We’re not going to land in LA as planned as we must make an emergency landing.”
Very concerned, the fellow sitting beside Ron turns to him and asks, “Where do you think they’re taking us?”
To which Ron replies, “Given the circumstances, probably to the scene of the crash!”
We’ll leave you to ponder these first few TIPS before we move on to the next FLIGHT BLOG. Please do discuss these ideas among yourselves. I invite you to leave a comment, as well. Everyone I know has a story about a flight experience. Really, sharing flight stories probably falls a close second to women sharing their birth experiences, don’t you think?
Hey, can anyone share a story about giving birth on a plane? Now that would really be something. Talk about bloating, basketballs and gravity?
Until the next time, Grumpy says, “Stay classy, my friends!”