I wrote this as a writing exercise. Given the topic of "flying" and limiting myself to 15 minutes...
My father instilled in me a great sense of respect--er, fear--of certain things. Some of which might seem irrational to some people, such as fear of electrocution if I showered while it was thundering outside. I literally used to stand at the back of the tub to lather up. Then I would move forward and rinse off as quickly as possible, thus minimizing my time beneath the water flow as well as, I believed, my risk of being electrocuted.
There was a healthy fear of tornadoes learned as well. If a tornado warning was issued for our county--or even if there was only a tornado watch that Dad thought should be a warning, and was sure the National Weather Service had somehow overlooked the F5 bearing down on our town--we would have to leave the house, get in the car, and ride around until the threat had passed.
To this day, I've never understood how being in a three thousand pound car was safer than being inside a three bedroom, brick home. But, father knows best.
I was also instilled with a healthy fear of flying, or so I thought. Dad would not and will not get on a plane. He almost died nine years ago and his last words to Mom before ER workers temporarily paralyzed him were, "Don't let them put me in a helicopter."
They didn't. They transported him in an ambulance. And when I first got in to see him he had a tube down his throat and couldn't talk, but he kept making a circular motion with his finger. We finally got him a pen and pad and he scribbled, "helicopter?"
So it's probably no wonder that when I planned my first flight nearly two years ago, I was more than a bit anxious. But why? Because I had always been conditioned to be?
Turns out most of my anxiety had to do with figuring out where to park, where to take my luggage, how to fill out the luggage tag and attach it to my suitcase, finding my gate, and other airport-y things.
Once I was seated in 16-C and the plane began to taxi towards takeoff, I felt a strange peace come over me. It was as if the planets had aligned. Nerves had completely settled. Worries had disappeared.
And at that moment I knew, that for the rest of my life I would be able to shower fearlessly, even when it was thundering outside.
"Give me a ticket for an aeroplane. Ain't got time to take a fast train. Lonely days are gone. I'm-a goin' home. My baby just wrote me a letter..."