On my recent flight to Phoenix, I didn’t get to see much through the window. I had an aisle seat, it was nighttime, and it was stormy. I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything because I figured that the best strategy on those first flights would be to focus on a crossword puzzle, or a book, or music on the iPod–anything to take my mind off flying.
After my friend’s wedding (which I will describe in greater detail once I have access to better photos and figure out how to embed video on my website), I flew to Albuquerque to see my sister. Once again, I had an aisle seat. It was a pretty short flight, maybe 45 minutes in the air, so I didn’t have much opportunity to look out the window.
On the flight home from Albuquerque, I was in a smaller jet that had only three seats to a row, one on one side, two on the other. I had the single seat, which meant I was next to a window, which meant I could finally gaze upon all Creation from several miles in the air.
After we ascended through the clouds, my face was virtually glued to the window. I was finally looking at clouds from above. It was astonishing. It was goose down as far as the eye could see. After a while–definitely long enough for the nighttime medication to kick in–I remember feeling perfectly safe and thinking that if the plane went down, we’d land comfortably on what was essentially a great big pillow. I knew it was irrational, but better to have that irrational thought than the one about the one-in-a-million chance of crashing.
Then we went a good bit higher–up above the clouds above the clouds. I started getting nervous again. Sure, we’d land on the big old pillow, but from this height, the pillow might not be enough cushion to save us.
(The ground–the part which actually would hurt in case of a crash–never entered into any of these thoughts.)
Now that I’m back on the ground, driving wherever I need to go, I’ve found that my attitude about flying has changed a bit. For instance, when I drive around town or on the interstates, my car shakes and bounces as much as, if not more than, the plane did during normal flight. Come to think of it, even the turbulence I experienced was only a little bit bouncier than a car ride. And come to think of it even more, I have to watch out for all these crazy driverseverywhere– but there were hardly any other planes in sight when we were flying! What the hell am I thinking, driving all over the place when I could be flying?