|Before Kids: 21 Year Old Good-Time-Fun-While- Flying-Me (thank you, Bridesmaids, for the illustrations)|
|After Kids: Flying Alone - Nervous Nelly - 41-year-old Me Hyperventilating & Dropping F-bombs- Me|
I should warn you - it's been a very long time since I've used the f bomb and other offensive language - but to better illustrate my point, I indulged for this one. Please, if you are offended easily by the Lord's name and the use of vulgarity - feel free to pass on this one. Clearly, when in stressful situations, my inner voice has a potty mouth and my inner voices need a valium. Thanks !
Recently I had to take an emergency flight back to Ohio by myself. As in - no kids - no husband - no one. Just me.
You'd think after being a flight attendant for so long that wouldn't bother me at all. The thing is, I was a flight attendant BEFORE I had kids. If you would have told 21 year old me that 41 year old me would be scared to fly, she would have laughed in your face and called you a liar. Turns out, it's true.
21 year old me flew sometimes EIGHT flights a day back and forth back and forth in and out of Boston. 21 year old me laughed in the face of turbulence, ate pretzels for lunch and threw back a few sodas a day to stay alert during the tough days. 41 year old me is the woman I joked with during my trips down the aisle because I could see her fingernails leaving imprints in the arms of the seat. 41 year old me is the same woman who could barely breathe when we were taking off, and the same woman who I had breathe into a paper bag to prevent hyperventilating.
Here's the thing, I'd be willing to bet that 21 year old you - and Post-Kids you is also very different. Our little people NEED us - we have a semi - legit sense of importance now and that is enough to strike fear into even the most wild and carefree heart. When I got on that flight by myself, as experienced of a flyer as I am/was, I thought for a millisecond to myself what if this is it for me? Please, please tell me I'm not the only one who has that less-than-a-second horrific thought of what could happen when you step on that plane? I hate that it even crosses my mind. I was always the flight attendant that could calm anyone down, I could ease and soothe, help and befriend, talk down and focus on other things. And here I was..the roles, reversed now. Luckily, by some miracle, I managed to take off and land twice without incident, and am happy to say I lived to write this blog. I'm kidding of course, but I am not joking about how different flying really is for me now.
I decided to make a list of how flying has changed for me - some ingredients of it is due to 9/11, some due to kids, some due to getting older - regardless - I'm hoping that by putting this out there, you'll say OMG ME TOOOOO!! So I don't have to feel alone in my shame of getting to be a Nervous Nelly in my old age. I will say, that I know enough about flying and evacuation and airplanes that I can talk myself down from almost any noise during a flight - but the simple fact that I can't even hear myself think over the pounding of my heart in my throat from one little bump, one weird smell, or a funny sound, that sometimes thinking it through is impossible. That brings me to my list - to get through this crazy evolution I've experienced - the easiest thing is to just find the humor in the truth of it. Enjoy.
How Flying Went from Fun to Fuuuuuuuu*k (How my Inner Voices Changed Over 20 Years)(black is then, red is now)
1. I paid little or no attention to the safety announcement, mainly because I had the spiel memorized, but also because I figured - eh, I'll cross that emergency exit when I get to it. In the meantime, I'm going to look at the InFlight Bar Selection in the InFlight magazine and shop skymall until she's done. Now - I listen to every damn word of that spiel and then panic trying to remember what she said - SHIT - DO I SECURE MY CHILD'S MASK FIRST OR MINE? I CAN'T REMEMBERRRRRRRR! WHO COULD BE SHOPPING SKYMALL DURING AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT LIKE THIS???2. Ohhh the flight is a little bumpy today..must be passing through a little rough weather patch. WHAT IN THE SAM HELL WAS THAT??? I DON'T WANT TO HOLD THE HAND OF THE WEIRD NERDY GUY DOING SUDOKO NEXT TO ME - PLEASE DON'T LET HIM BE THE LAST PERSON I TOUCH IN THIS WORRRLD! IT'S NOT FAIR I WANT MY HUSBANNNNNNND AND KIDS!
3. Any noise was fine, natural, and a normal - to be expected, noise of a healthy flying plane. WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT OMG OMG OMG JESUS MARY AND ALL THE SAINTS HELP THE PILOT LAND US SAFELY. MY HUSBAND WILL NEVER KNOW WHERE I KEEP ANYTHING - HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT ME....THIS FAMILY WILL NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT ME DO YOU HEAR ME GOD?? NO ONE KNOWS WHERE ANYTHING IS IN OUR HOUSE!!! I WANT TO LIVE!4. Upon takeoff, the view was breathtaking, I loved watching the ground get smaller as we ascended to our cruising altitude and oh look, a beautiful flock of birds are flying near the plane. OH MY SWEET JESUS THERE ARE BIRDS NEAR THE ENGINE OH DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, NOOOOOOO! THIS IS SOOO BAD!! I KNOW THAT BIRDS CAN CAUSE PLANE CRASHES ! BIRDS ARE BAD, VERY VERY BAD!
5. Look how stunning the ocean waves look below us! How I love this view when I fly! I'LL NEVER SURVIVE IN THAT WATER WHAT IF SHARKS EAT ME BEFORE I DIE OF HYPOTHERMIA? OH GOD THE TITANIC, ALL I CAN THINK OF IS THE TITANIC AND I'M LEO INSTEAD OF ROSE. I NEED TO CLOSE THIS BLIND IMMEDIATELY. I DON'T WANT TO LOOK!6. Aww that poor man is searching for something he can't seem to find in his bag. Maybe I should help him? WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT GUY REACHING FOR IN HIS BAG OMG PLEASE DON'T TELL ME THEY LET HIM THROUGH SECURITY WITH MORE THAN 4 OUNCES OF HAIR GEL...I KNEW IT, IT'S FLAMMABLE. OH DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN HELP ME. HOW WILL MY HUSBAND KNOW WHAT TO PACK THE BOYS FOR LUNCH, THEY ARE SO PICKY - THEY CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT MEEEEE.
7. That guy is taking a long time in the bathroom..tee hee..what could he possibly be doing in there? THAT GUY IS TAKING A LONGGGG TIME IN THE BATHROOM - OH MOTHER MARY NO NO NO - WHAT COULD HE POSSIBLY BE DOING IN THERE??? HE'S TAMPERING WITH THE SMOKE DETECTOR I JUST KNOW IT. OH GOD WHY DIDN'T I BALANCE THE CHECKBOOK BEFORE I LEFT FOR THIS TRIP- HE'LL NEVER KNOW MY SYSTEM OF ROUNDING UP TO MAKE THE MATH EASIER AND HE'S GOING TO SEE ALL OF MY CHARGES FROM AMAZON PRIME!
8. How fun to swipe my credit card in the seat back and make a fancy call from the plane! NOW EVERYONE HAS CELL PHONES SO YOU DON'T NEED THOSE FANCY PHONES ANYMORE. OMG THEY SAID TO TURN THE CELL PHONES OFF - NOT EVERYONE TURNED THEM OFF - I CAN HEAR PEOPLE ON THEIR PHONES PLEASE LORD DON'T LET US TAXI DOWN THE RUNWAY YET THEY ARE GOING TO INTERFERE WITH THE FLIGHT INSTRUMENTS!! I HAVEN'T DONE HALF OF THE THINGS ON MY BUCKET LIST YET - OMG I DON'T EVEN HAVE A BUCKET LISSSSSSSSSSSSST!9. The co-pilot has to pee...poor guy...when you gotta go, you gotta go. OH NO, PLEASE NOOO, IS HE SICK? WHAT'S HE DOING? WHAT COULD BE WRONG? HE MUST HAVE HAD SOME BAD AIRPORT FOOD AND NOW HE LEFT THE CAPTAIN UP THERE BY HIMSELF THIS IS SO BAD, THIS IS SOOO VERY VERY BAD. I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE HAD THAT BOSTON CREME DONUT THIS MORNING AND NOW IT WON'T EVEN MATTER..I'M GOING TO DIE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. OH PLEASE LET ME LIVE AND I'LL NEVER REFUSE DESSERT OR COMPLAIN ABOUT CALORIES EVER AGAIN!
10. Awww look at that tall dark and handsome dude sitting in the exit row! Wish I was seated next to him! OHHH SHIT - LOOK AT THAT TALL DARK AND HANDSOME DUDE IN THE EXIT ROW!!! WHY DID HE CHOOSE THAT ROW? BECAUSE HE HAS ACCESS TO THE DOOR THAT'S WHY - OH HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN TO MY FLIGHT OF ALL FLIGHTS - I JUST HAD TO FLY BY MYSELF DIDN'T I, I INSISTED ON DOING THIS AND NOW LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING!
Flying was fun back then - I'll admit it. Yes, I saw my fair share of scary things, but I experienced so much, and I met and was able to help so many people. It was a great experience for a curious girl full of wanderlust in her early twenties. Every city was a new adventure and every flight had something fun in store for me. Now, I find the joy and adventure in the eyes of my boys, and my husband and I are having fun watching their every experience. When the boys yell with delight at a plane flying overhead, I laugh at their innocence and revel in their curiosity - but I'm good down here with my feet on the ground. I'm good.
Until next time my friends...
Blue skies and puffy clouds, safe flights and full pretzel bags,