I’m fascinated by my husband’s fear of flying. In all other areas of his life he’s calm, laid back and logical. A little socially awkward and shy but very down to earth and grounded. He’s funny, too, really funny — it’s one the of the reasons I fell in love with him. Not that that has anything to do with flying but when I’m describing him to others, his sense of humor always comes to mind.
Ask him to take a plane ride and the smart, logical man I married disappears. He turns into a puddle of worry, stress and obsessive thoughts about dying in a plane crash.
I actually enjoy flying. I still look out the window like a child, in awe of our ability to make and operate these giant machines that transport us around the world in the air. I mean it’s freakin’ unbelievable if you think about and I’m grateful to experience it. Right now I’m in Vegas, 2,100 miles from home and it look only 5 and half hours to get here.
That’s amazing! And I feel so lucky to live during a time when it’s possible to travel across the county in mere hours instead of days or even weeks.
The Husband does, too, but it doesn’t help remove the real fear he experiences about flying.
I convinced him to join me on this trip to Vegas. He loves it here (we drove in 2005 and that is fun, too!) and he knew the only way he’d be able to come back without exhausting his vacation time was to fly. So he hesitantly agreed.
Yesterday was the big day. He nervously mentioned the flight throughout the week. You can tell the fear of flying was already weighing on him.
We had an early departure so waking up at 5 a.m. and rushing didn’t give him much time to ponder on the way to the airport. Then, the line at security took so long we had to rush through the terminal to board.
In hindsight this was probably a good thing. He had no time to sit, ponder and visualize the plan crashing over and over again. We were go-go-go then settled into our seats.
Take-off was fine. He just sat back and tried to relax.
We downloaded a few movies to watch during the flight and they successfully distracted him to the fact he was 30,000 feet up. I mean, I’m sure it popped into his head now and then but it was mostly a smooth ride so he was able to relax.
Then the turbulence hit just before descent.
I tried to distract him with Skymall magazine but it wasn’t working.
(Side note: We found our ugly sweaters for this year’s Christmas party!)
That’s when I asked if he’d rather I talk to him or leave him alone. He closed his eyes and said, “I’m fine” and we held hands until we landed.
When we landed and the plane stopped he said,
“Well, even if we die on the flight home we at least got to enjoy Vegas!”
That, right there, is when I realized how real the fear of flying is for him (and I’m assuming others). The flight home didn’t even occur to me and besides short “oh shit” moments during a flight’s rough turbulence, I really never stew over the idea that I may die on a plane ride. Sure, it’s a possibility but so is getting hit by a semi on the highway.
I don’t understand it but I respect it, and I’m proud of The Husband for stepping out of his comfort zone once again for me.