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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

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Touching base

Just a short post to say I have been in Appalachia for the past five days attending a dreamwork conference and got home last night. Patrick was beaming proudly when he met me at the airport, because he kept everyone alive during my absence (actually, we don't know about one of the cats yet). I don't want to take away in the least from this substantial accomplishment, but I am a little overwhelmed this morning all the same. I'm sure the place looks no worse to the objective eye than it normally does when I am home, but there's a difference between the mess I helped to make and the one that I didn't. My piles of crap have an underlying rational order, imperceptible to the untrained eye. His piles of crap make no sense at all to me.

Nevertheless, he has taken to bed for a week, and I am once again queen of all I survey. In a gallon of coffee or two, I will set to work moving the piles of crap around to my liking.

Before that happens, I do want to say a word about my terror of flying, which seems to ratchet up with each passing year, and which events of the past weekend did not help to amelliorate one tiny bit. I find it is taking more and more psychic energy to muster the courage to embark and stay onboard the "winged cannister", as travel humorist Bill Bryson so reassuringly puts it. (Thanks, Mr. B....last time I pick up one of your books at the departures terminal newsstand, no matter how much I adore you.)

Reasoning it out with a friend en route to the airport yesterday, I acknowledged my fear is decidedly irrational. I mean, which is really riskier, being ushered through clear skies by highly trained ground and air crew, or trying to do self-pyschoanalysis on the phone while hurtling down a serpentine mountain highway at 75 miles an hour?

What I have concluded is that it is essentially a control issue for me. There is something about the idea of having to passively sit for several hours, trusting innumerable unseen forces (the pilot, and the laws of aerodynamics, to name just two) that depletes all the oxygen from the air around my head. I think I would be okay if I could sit up front with the pilot. "I think we were supposed to turn back there," I could say. Or, "Don't you think we better stop and and get directions?" They wouldn't have to pay the slightest attention, but it would make me feel much better. Maybe I could have a dummy control panel to fiddle with. I would pay extra for my "special" seat, and if they don't institute something like it very soon, they are going to have to bring back unfettered cocktail service. Trust me, it would be easier on everyone's nerves to just bring me into the cockpit.

Filed under: fearloathing, domestic
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