In a couple of hours time I will be hurtling towards certain death faster than a speeding bullet, screaming in terror and thinking of my children.........or so I imagine every time I step onto an aeroplane. Which is far too often for my liking recently but it has to be done.
I am well aware of the old adage that flying is safer than driving but that doesnât wash with me. I know the tin can I am about to strap myself into is the one thatâs going to hit the deck, hard. Of all the thousands of flights zipping around the world without a hitch, mine is the one that is going to cop it. Thatâs for sure.
On approach to the airport the butterflies in my stomach have worked themselves from a flutter the night before to a furious frenzy. I am breaking out in a sweat and my survival instinct is having serious words with my rationale, insisting I turn around, right now! Do I do it? No, I head off through the airport doors, my internal row still ragingÂ as my body moves forward awaiting the final decision. Flight or Flee!
While I am going through the motions my mind is jumping between snapshots of my flame encased âflightâ falling from the sky and an image of a Gin & Tonic while sitting at the airside bar. The old d onkey and carrot syndrome. I haveÂ just got to get through security first.
This is another terror I have to endure for no other reason than I feel guilty. My untimely death has now been replaced, briefly, by another picture. One of me walking through the metal detector setting off ringing bells, sirens and fashing lights, a swat team will appear and I will be rugby tackled to the floor. Why? I have no idea. But I am sure it is going to happen. So I try to act ânormalâ which apparently makes me look decidedly dodgy. I am always searched, my bag rummaged through and mechanically sniffed. On two occasions they have even brought out the canine variety to give me the once over, these dogs are extremely thorough with no crevise left unsniffed (blush). Hot and flustered I stuff everything back in my bag, rearrange my clothing and search fleetingly for my dignity. Nope, itâs gone. Ah well, Iâm sure it will catch up with me later. Just keep moving.....cue Gin and Tonic image.
Feeling relieved that after strict scrutiny I am no longer considered to be a risk to worldwide security, other passengers, or carrying cocain for a drugs cartel, I make a beeline for my boarding gate to assess the que situation. Now this is where I get obsessive. Travelling on the cheapest of flights (which doesnât evoke alot of confidence to start off with) I donât have the option to book my seat first and as I have a prefereance I will be as devious as I need to be to get it. Being first in the que is the obviouse and by farÂ the easiest method so I always make a point of being ridiculously early. Once I am satisfied that no one else is about I head to the bar.
Here I feign a bright and breezy attitude to the barman, concealing my inner turmoil, âItâs still not to late to turn around you knowâ, Â and as my Gin and Tonic is put in front of me I try not to grasp it too eagerly. This then goes down in surreptitious gulps while keeping one eye on the departure gate and with a fair amount of fidgeting going on. If I can get another one in before anyone makes a move I will, but as soon as they do, I down it in one and start sprinting, literally.
Providing all has gone well my feet hit the tarmac first and I am power walking towards the steps at the back of the aeroplane. I have done my research you see, Air Crash Investigation on Discovery and a good bit of Googling.Â These were my findings.....
Over the wings you may survive a crash, as it is the strongest part of an aeroplane, but you have a good chance of being burnt to a crisp while still in your seat once the fuelÂ tanks ignites. In the front youâll be the buffer as you smash head first into the side of a mountain. If seated away from the exit doors you will have to fight your way through panicked passengers or clamber over mangled and dead bodies to get out. If you go down over the sea, you are basically stuffed and it doesnât really matter where you sit. So after years of deliberation and trying out every area of an aeroplane I finally decided on, and felt most comfortable in, the last seat at the back on the aisle. Why? Well...... you are first to get served from the drinks trolly and you are right next to the toilets. Which is extremely important after several Gins on an empty stomach.
Once in my seat..... we wonât go into my reaction if someone has somehow managed to get to my seat before me. Errrrm.... maybe a glimpse....ouch....Nah, we really donât want to go there. So anyway, once in my seat I strap myself in tightly and send out hostile vibes as I really donât want anyone sitting next to me. I am not being unfriendly but if I am going to die I want my own space to do it in and not squashed into someone elses. And then I wait, while every other part of body is trying to convince me the final decision was 'Flee' my head is poo poohing it telling me not to be so silly and to stay put. So the conflict continues.Â Itâs not to late.... itâs not to late.... itâs not to late. Still I sit there. They are closing the doors.... get off... get off... get off.Â But too late, my fate is sealed, as are the aeroplanes exits.Â Death is imminent. I have my phone in my lap ready to switch on and send my children an already prepared text telling them how much I love them.
We lumber down the runway with me gripping the arm rests taking note of every rattle and jolt, cursing myself for not getting the hell out of there when I still had the chance. After an interminable amount of time we are finally airborne being buffeted by turbulence as we break through cloud pockets. At this point I am wild eyed, gasping and squealing at every bump and dip and know with heart thumping horror and absolutely certainty, that this is it! Only to find that it isnât. The flight levels out, the seat belt sign goes off and the stewardessess spring into action. All the other passengers are looking relaxed and calm. I, however, am looking a bit sheepish. Ok, ok so we made it up here...... but we still have to make it down! Whereâs that drinks trolley? Ah ha! There it is..........
âIâll have a large Gin and Tonic please...........actually, make that two!â