2004-10-21 - 4:16 p.m.
nervous and distracted
I got out of class an hour ago and I am so brain-dead, it's incredible. I cannot focus on anything. Time is moving at a surreal pace - it stretches and wanes, and then lurches forward, dragging me with it.
I realize that through time I have slowly been developing a dread - an irrational fear - of flying. Not the Erica Jong book, either (good lord, I'll bet not a single one of my students has ever heard of Erica Jong.)
My mind develops entire pictures of what could happen, right down to my white-knuckled hands gripping an arm rest and the lurch in my stomach. And these frightening images flash unexpectedly into my mind during the week that I am anticipating my flight. I never used to have these problems before.
I guess I am irrationally imagining that somehow I'm approaching that one flight in a million....(even though as a scientist, I know that this is not the way statistics work...)
It takes deep breaths and positive imagery to get me on planes these days, and many ritualistic repetitions of the Lord's Prayer to see me through. I remember recently sitting next to an Army Major who joked with me through the entire landing, just to keep my mind off the turbulence. A small kindness I'll probably always remember. Another time sitting next to Leticia, who asked me detailed questions and kept me talking the whole way across the Alps in a crosswind...maybe this is why people talk so much about their personal lives on planes...
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...they are just words, Suzi... - 2011-08-29