Monday, November 24, 2014

It's all in my mind...?

"COS 09". Licensed under Public domain
via Wikimedia Commons.
So, my kid, Balthazar, texted me last Monday with some good news about school. After effusive huzzahs on my part, it occurred to me I'd not told him about an upcoming business trip which required me to fly and took steps to remedy that lack tout de suite.

You see, I have a terror of flying that demands Xanax to get me through it, and feel compelled to let my kid know when I'm about to go up, up, and away. Mostly because, what if something horrible happened and he learned of my demise with no idea, even, that it was an imminent possibility? I mean, how fucked up would that be? (OK, the whole demise thing's the most fucked up aspect, obvi, but still, I imagine the shock would be exacerbated if you didn't know that your loved one was even flying anywhere, yeah?)

I'm even in the habit of texting him immediately before and after my flights, with the first text invariably reading, "I'm waiting to board my flight to [insert place name]. I love you." ('Cause, you know, just in case those are my last words to him, they should be loving, you dig?) And I text him when I land to let him know I survived being airborne. His replies tend to be, respectively, "Woooo love you too" and "Swag." Because he's a man of few words.

Anyway, to advise him of the business trip I was to embark upon that very week, I intended to text him:
I'm due to fly out to Arizona on Wednesday and due back on Sunday.
Auto-complete, however, saw fit to change a word in that sentence, so that it came out:
I'm due to fly out to Arizona on Wednesday and die...
When I saw that last word, I froze. I felt completely chilled. I FREAKED OUT. I choose to finish the sentence after the word Wednesday and then quietly had a nervous breakdown.

I checked my horoscopes; they warned me about challenges with travel. (No joke.) I whipped out my tarot cards and got messages regarding travel, hassles, shocks, and profound changes. (I'm totally serious.) I suddenly saw the words "plane" and "crash" or "accident" appearing all over the place.


I took TWO Xanax pills on my flight to Phoenix. Apart from a few bumps, it went fairly well. I took care to buckle up as I taxied to/fro the hotel. When I learned that my hotel housed (I kid you not) a venomous Gila monster, I sure as shit kept a respectful distance from its glass case. I double locked my hotel room door. Every time I returned to my room, I checked the closet, bathroom, and balcony. I took note of the folks around me everywhere I went, cellphone in hand, should the numbers 9 - 1 - 1 need engagement. I took hyper-vigilance to a whole. 'Nother. Level.

My return flight SUCKED. We hit turbulence (or it hit us) the whole five-fucking-hours. I again took two Xanax and only just stopped myself from downing a third. I considered booze. I prayed. A LOT. I promised God I'd start going to church again (it's been about a year and a half, I think, since I've attended mass regularly).

I survived the flight. But my nerves are SHOT.

Was it all in my mind, this terror which cast a serious pall over a trip to which I'd been looking forward with pleasure? Surely, the inciting text planted the seed of "Holy shit, I'm gonna DIE!" which my fertile imagination nurtured to full bloom. But, in my own defense, though the overwhelming strain I felt from the moment auto-complete fucked with my fragile little mind may have sprung illogically, the things I feared were worthy of the emotion. Planes and cars do crash. People commit unspeakable atrocities against one another. And gila monsters are deadly.


I'm exhausted, peeps. And I'm grateful that I've no work-related reason to fly anywhere any time soon. Though I'd better see my doc about a Xanax refill. Just in case.


  1. Auto complete can be a curse sometimes. I'm glad you made it home safe, even if you are a bit frazzled.

    Here's an example of my own craziness. The word Xanax freaks me out. Seriously, it's spelled the same forwards and backwards. It also starts and ends with "X" which has the freakiness of bilateral symmetry going on. It's almost like the word is an oddball reflection of itself.

    Okay, maybe I've gone off the deep end, but at least the descent into madness has been an interesting one.

  2. If I never set foot on a plane again it'll be too soon. Glad you made it there and back safely!!!!

  3. I always end up next to Xanax people on flights. They tend to wander around aimlessly and spill coffee on me :)

  4. I laugh nervously with you. I hate flying too. Many people are crazy, and many are stupid. Chances are the pilot is one of the two. I just don't feel good blindly trusting the pilot. They don't even let you meet him so you can size up his sanity. I think fear is a reasonable response.

  5. Believe it or not, but I'm more afraid in cars than in planes. Have a lovely weekend.


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