who Is it just me or is flying terrifying to everyone?
It's just me. I know it is. Or rather, it's me and a few other people making up a very small percentage of individuals who fly and feel physically ill at the idea.
Driving though! Driving I have no problems with.
Now logistically, I realize how stupid this is. You have a 1 in 5,000 chance of dying in a car accident. You have a 1 in millions chance of dying on a plane.
I've never been a very rational person, though. Ask anyone I've ever dated.
The emotional realm, people. That's where I tuck in at night.
Which explains why none of these stats keep me from jumping into my car on a daily basis and traipsing off to work. Why I don't become paralyzed with fear behind the wheel desperately needing to turn up the dial on some Beyonce so she can sing me through to my destination. Why I don't feel the need to curl up into the fetal position and cry when my car is pummeled with a windstorm.
Now...why is this?
While I'd like to chalk it up to my anxiety, the truth of the matter is that when I fly I turn over all control to two strangers that I may never see or even speak to. To all those pilots out there who feel that the public doesn't appreciate you–I appreciate you. Me. I do.
See, I'm one of those rare passengers who boards the plane with crazy eyes, scanning about desperately for my day's pilot as I cling to my bags and wonder if it's too late to turn around and run. It's as if my snap assessment of an individual in a pilot's uniform will hold any water when it comes to how well he or she can handle an Airbus in the event of an emergency (hint: it probably won't). Still...I want to see my pilot. I want them to say hello to me with a small twinkle in their eye, like they know what I'm thinking and want to reassure me it's all okay.
Usually they're in the cockpit going through checklists. I appreciate this too.
Control. It’s a pesky mother trucker. I have yet to meet another human who voluntarily gives up all control. Sure there are people who require less control. As a for instance, adrenaline junkies don’t look to lock their hands around the neck of control as they tumble from a plane with nothing more than a parachute to keep them from plunging to their doom. Still, there is probably something they seek to control (or that they wish they DIDN’T seek to control). Finances. Job. Significant others. This is how we are. We're human.
What happens when we lose control?
The fear seeps in.
Fear is the brain’s response to new things or things that go against our safety and well being. On the one hand, that’s really cool.
On the other hand, it’s a very primal response to very modern problems–and it really sucks. I mean...we all have problems. Varying levels of them, sure- but it's something humans have in common.
There are things we can do to deal with this fear response. And we have to, don’t we? The truth is that when we don’t face our fears, they start to build up until we're paralyzed by them. When I was younger I'd read books about old ladies who shut themselves into their homes, never again caring to see the light of day.
I didn’t understand this urge then. There were so many WORLDS out there to explore. There were so many PEOPLE to meet!
Now I understand the appeal. Now that life has roughed me up a bit.
Sometimes the very idea of stepping out of my front door is almost enough to overwhelm me. But I can’t let it. Frankly, neither can you. Or you can but...you shouldn't.
We don’t get to choose when we go or how we go (usually).
We only get to choose what to do with our time here.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a flight to book.
Allison Janda is a self-published author. She has three dogs, one of which acts more like a cat.