Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Monday, July 23, 2007

Holiday Snapshots: Turbulence

The wobbling stopped and I loosened my fingers from the seat rest, surprised at the strength of my own grip. What's wrong? I scolded myself, never been in a plane before?

The plane was almost at cruising height now, and the engines weren't working as hard as they had been. It's meant to sound like that, I told myself, pulling my magazine from the seat pocket in front. That tinny whine is normal. I flicked through, my eyes not finding anything to distract my ears, which were straining to hear any sign of engine trouble, approaching storms or wings coming unattached.

The cabin dropped suddenly. My stomach lept up to my throat and the girl in front let out an involountary whoop. I giggled. Nervous laughter bubbled up and threatened to spill over my bottom lip, but the next hit came before it could; an uneven tumble, this time accompanied by several gasps.

I focused on the young family across the aisle, keeping their baby son entertained by greeting each terrifying drop with smiles and the clapping of hands. They were doing an amazing job and I almost envied the boy, oblivious to the alarm building up around him.

I eavesdropped the conversation behind, but finding them talking about near-death plane experiences in the Caribbean, switched off again.

After taking out a book and abandoning it, I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. At each jump and shudder I concentrated on my breathing. Slow. Calm. It's nothing.

Soon, the flight evened out, and I almost forgot about all that air underneath us. I wondered what could have changed this attitude to flying. Especially at the beginning of a summer full of air journeys.

Then it hit me.

Damn National Geographic and their plane crash investigation series.

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