THE FEAR

Remember when I said I was so relieved to be able to go on holiday despite the best efforts of the ash cloud, that I wasn’t even feeling a smidgen of my usual fear of flying?

That was before I read this:

[Source: warning, this link is to the Daily Mail, proceed with caution!]

(And oh hey, remember when I said I’d never read the Daily Mail ever again? Wish I’d kept THAT promise…)

You see that, people?  That “terrifying mid-air drama”? That “plunge” from the sky? That “hitting severe turbulence”? That right there would kill me. I would die. And I don’t mean I’d die because I didn’t have my seat belt on (I ALWAYS have my seat belt on…) and I got thrown around the cabin like a rag doll, I mean I’d die because of THE FEAR. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve come very close to dying of THE FEAR on previous flights, and those were ones with only very mild turbulence. Some of them were flights with no turbulence at all, and I still almost died of THE FEAR.

(Two days after 9/11, Terry and I flew back from Spain, where we’d been during the attacks. Naturally, I was terrified, and this was intensified by the fact that the airlines at the time weren’t allowing passengers to bring anything into the cabin at all, so I was denied my usual coping mechanisms of book and music. At one point during the flight I got up to go to the bathroom, which was at the very front of the plane, right in front of the cockpit. As I stood there awaiting my turn, the door to the cockpit opened, and a young woman came out. Seriously, she looked about… twelve, maybe? She looked at me. I looked at her. We both looked at the locked door of the bathroom. “I have to go before you,” the woman suddenly announced, glaring at me. “Because I am the pilot.” I nodded dumbly, and let her go first. Then I stood braced in the doorway of that cockpit, knowing that the only thing standing between a planeload of people and a fiery death at the hands of the maniacs who were almost certainly on board, was… me. I am glad to report that I rose to the occasion. I did not shirk my duty. I protected that cockpit as if my life depended on it – which it basically did, as far as I was concerned – and it was only as I walked back to my seat afterwards that I realised there must’ve been a co-pilot in there anyway, and my fears of the woman never coming out of the bathroom, and me having to guide the plane to safety, guided only by a small team of people on the ground and my sketchy knowledge of Microsoft Flight Simulator were, um, ridiculous. I remained in a state of constant vigilance and total and utter panic for the rest of the flight, though. I’m still in that state now, actually.)

So, readers, please give a warm, Forever Amber welcome to: THE FEAR! It’s back, and it’s bigger than ever! One terrifying mid-air drama, coming right up!*

(*There’s almost almost a terrifing mid-air drama when I fly. Unfortunately, the drama is normally provided by me…)


12 Comments

  • Alex says:

    Oh, I so know how you feel. And I’ve had some scary flights (nothing, I repeat, NOTHING that actually put us in danger for real, but that means nothing to the evil demons of The Fear), but I’ve had many more completely calm and safe flights, which is what you’re going to have.

    You are. And then you’re going to have a wonderful holiday, make me wildly jealous and come back to hopefully decent UK summer weather and stuff like that.

    It will be amazing. :)
    .-= Alex´s last blog ..Election 2010: Do Ealing’s candidates have a good online presence? =-.

  • Louise says:

    Good luck Amber, I know no amount of “it’ll be fine” comments will help, so I’ll skip those. Don’t die, see you when you get back…. if you get back (it’ll be fine really!)
    .-= Louise´s last blog ..Mail =-.

  • Claire says:

    Good luck Amber,

    I am eye rolling, horse rearing, terrified of bridges and heights so totally understand THE FEAR.

    The holiday will be worth it, you seem to love it in Florida :-)

    7 weeks, 2 days and 4 hours until I get to go on holiday – I have to move house first!

  • Selina says:

    We were at dinner the other night with a group of friends, one of whom is a nurse. She also has a fear of flying, not because she’s scared they’ll crash but because every single international flight she has been on has had some sort of medical emergency which has resulted in her performing CPR on someone. One of those someones even died, so they rolled the body in a blanket and placed it across some empty seats, because what the hell else are you going to do with a dead body on a plane? And as they were disembarking at the end of the flight a very frazzled mother carrying a small child got tired of carrying the child and put him down on the dead person’s head. True story. That’s not going to make you feel any better about flying, but it’s a good story!
    .-= Selina´s last blog ..Your daily dose of pretty: Hen and Chicks Lasercut ring stack from LicketyCut jewellery =-.

    • Amber says:

      Um, no, that doesn't really make me feel a whole lot better! :) It is bizarre, though… a couple of years back, my friend Erin (celestialpoet on Twitter) was on her way to back to Australia from here and THREE people died on the flight. Three! And one person almost died. I should probably stop thinking about this …

    • Alex says:

      I'm terrified of flying, but for some reason that DID actually make me feel better. I think it was the black comedy element…!

  • Rock Hyrax says:

    Oh dear, you are excited: two entire paragraphs in parentheses!

    Look: it's the FAIL – 'nuff said…

  • Erik (Sorrento) says:

    I've flown the London-LA route many many times, included that exact flight number. I experienced the worse turbulence of my life on that particular flight. But that was over northern North America. The light in the story was over the far-north Atlantic. You're going way south of that. You have a better chance of banging your head in the shower than on the airplane.

  • Stacey says:

    Two days before I left to fly to London, there was a horrible plane crash that killed everyone on board. When we got to the airport all the newspapers had that as their cover story, it was the news story on the airport tvs, etc. Once on board, I settle in for the nice long 12 hour flight, and a couple hours in, the pilots come over the intercom and say that by the way, we're flying the same flight route as the crashed plane. That was terrifying but since it was my first flight, I was still excited enough that I managed to put it out of my head. A few hours later, the pilot comes back on and says that if we all look out the left side of the plane, we can see where the plane crashed. Of course we were still to high up in the air to see anything, but since I had a window seat and it was on my side of the plane, everyone came rushing over to try to see something. I was then more terrified of the plane being overloaded on one side and that it would start doing rollovers in the air.

    We landed safely, had a great week in London and Paris and a mostly uneventful flight home. Since my hometown airport doesn't do international flights, we had to switch planes in Dallas for a two hour flight home. That plane had mechanical issues, but they couldn't switch out to another plane for some reason. The entire flight back we had a extremely terrified flight attendant that didn't like to get out of her seat to serve anyone drinks. She stayed buckled in her seat with huge eyes for most of the flight, rushed through drink service and then strapped herself back in her seat till we landed.

    The scariest part out of all the flights on that trip for me, was the drunk couple in front of me that fought the entire 12 hours. It started off being funny, but towards the end of the flights they started saying things about how they'll kill each other, leave the body in London and fly home, stuff like that. They finally got cut off from more drinks and the man didn't like that and started yelling at the flight attendant. She finally gave in and got them more drinks, and they kept on fighting.

  • Lindsay says:

    I'm terrified of roller coasters, elevators, skyscrapers, and in general being anywhere high up because of something man made. I have no problem cliff jumping, however….
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..New Blog! =-.

  • Sally says:

    Hey Amber! Have a great holiday. My all time favourite scary flight was the one where a priest sat across the aisle from me, clutching rosary beads and a bible .. who kept WINKING at me. I thought my time had come………..

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