I wouldn’t say I have a fear of flying. I just prefer not to fly. Judging by the persistent twitch in my right eyelid, which triggers about 10 seconds after I book a flight, and then ceases abruptly the moment my return flight rolls to a complete stop at the gate, I might even concede that staying grounded is a deep-seated preference.
I believe if God wanted man to fly, he wouldn’t have created steel-belted radials, cruise control and satellite radio. Besides, if it were natural for me to be jet-setting 15,000+ feet above sea level, why would I feel such an irrepressible urge to shakedown my friends for a couple of illegal tabs of Valium prior to my scheduled departure?
I recently had an opportunity to validate my strong preference to avoid flying. As I twitched and ticked my way to the boarding gate, I spied a young man in uniform approach the crew entrance door. I specifically remember thinking, “I wonder what his parents got him for his high school graduation…last month?” Flying lessons, I hoped, since the baby was my pilot. E-e-e-gads!
Flying into the nation’s capital, do I get treated to a spectacular fly-over of the White House, or a spine-tingling military escort to the nearest debriefing facility? No. Instead, I get tortured with a complete rundown on the Washington Redskins’ training facility in Sterling, Va. from not only the freak fanatic sitting next to me, but also the weirdo sitting in front of me. Geez. I’ve overheard more interesting conversations among members of the maintenance staff at the rest stop near Orangeburg. Being caught in the crossfire of conversations like this one just reinforced my aversion to placing myself in a situation from which I can’t easily escape.
I believe if the Wright Brothers could have foreseen the absolute disaster airport food would become, they would have focused their efforts on something more palatable than hailing in the Aerial Age. After sampling “the world’s greatest chicken” at Washington-Dulles and promptly trashing it in favor of a Hershey Bar and a bag of barbequed chips, I reconfirmed that airports are hazardous to my health.
I prefer to keep my tires firmly on the pavement. But maybe there’s still hope for me. Maybe when my pilot grows facial hair, when the airport diner serves a succulent chicken cordon bleu…and hell freezes over…I’ll have a change of heart.
Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor