quote of the day + shameless self promotion (2)

a revelation

I used to hate flying.

"Hate" isn't the right word, really. I need one of those German cognates that denotes hate/knee-bending terror/extreme irrational thought.

Yes, I know how the physics of wings works. Yes, I know that I'm more likely to be killed driving to the airport. And, yet, that German cognate.

My only answer for a long, long time was to swallow a fistful of Xanax and hope for the best. Shortly after Maddy was born, tho, the fear of flying was replaced by so many other fears that it seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Let me say that I'm still not a fan. A day when I am not in the air is a good day indeed.

But I don't mind it, really. Even better -- I've just come to find it ridiculous and annoying in equal measures. This has only been confirmed by the recent war on liquids.

What's helped, too, is a new ability to block out everything and get real reading done on flights. This past trip I tore through Robert Charles Wilson's Blind Lake and only read it on airplanes. A stewardess, in fact, was horrified by the cover. "What are you reading?" she said, with the lip curl of someone being attacked by turtle poop.

Little things like that make it all OK, somehow. And other little things like the ravenous trash bin beasts in Atlanta. Or the view of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan as you come into the hellhole that is Newark. Or the sense of limitless possibility of destination, where I could choose to fly to Toronto or East Timor if I can work out the cash and customs issues. Or the civic pride that's blazingly evident in the Cleveland airport, which does, indeed, rock.

In airports, I can usually feed my Starbucks addiction. On my way back from Memphis, I discovered that it was once again Pumpkin Spice Latte season, which is one of the many reasons I love fall. While drinking it, I hatched my latest brilliant scheme, whereby I leave signed copies of my book in airports across the country and let people see if they can find them, scavenger hunt style. The fact that most airport bookshops don't carry my book is a non-starter. I shall carry copies with me and put them on the appropriate shelf, faced-out if I can arrange it.

Mostly, tho, I think the German cognate has let up a bit because I love seeing other places. I can't really call myself a traveler -- I want my other places to have real beds and real showers -- but I can admit that I do love to just be other places.

Of course, now that I've admitted this, I'll have a series of terrifying flights and be right back where I started. I hope not, mind, but the fates hate it when you say these sorts of things out loud. Still, it's nice while it lasts.


I used to work for a tour operator, travelled all over the place alone and eventually became terrified of flying. Or of takeoff rather, and I'll spare you the details. The last time I flew I used copious amounts of Rescue Remedy, Tylenol PM and vodka to cope. I also convinced several friends to periodically track my flight and 'help' fly the plane.

I'm usually ok once the plane is at cruise, so if I could just skip takeoff, I think reading alone in a small space for a few hours sounds fantastic. :)

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