My present state of thinking is that flying is simply a necessary evil. (Perhaps a bit extreme? Let me just say that flying isn’t my favorite form of transportation.) On Saturday, I took my third and fourth flight in my Chronicles of Marmia, leaving the hotel in Texas about 10 a.m. and arriving home in Florida some 10 or so hours later. Can you say “quick trip”? I can’t.
When we arrived at Love Field (and, no, the gouging cab driver did not laugh when I asked if it was so named because the runway was shaped like a heart), we discovered that our plane would be late. And so we did what any sensible women (who had missed breakfast and were locked in an airport with no Internet) did. We took a leisurely lunch. Over that lunch, we reflected on what we had learned, how that should affect our teaching (more on this in a later post), and our strengths and weaknesses in general. Time flew though we were not, and before we knew it, our three-hour wait was completed.
On boarding the plane, I found an aisle seat. Score! The flight attendants urged passengers to take the first available seats they saw to try to make up for lost time. Just before take-off, the pilot told us he too would try to make up for lost time, not a comforting thought, especially as the engine’s roar was reminiscent of our lawnmower.
I had realized during spring break this year that I was afraid of heights, especially when I am not confident of the medium making me high (as in creaking wooden bleachers or airplanes with lawnmower engines–not high as in the “medicines” they use in California, thank you). While I love the view from a plane, I find that I merely resign myself to a state of forced calm–or concentrated prayer. Sometimes driving in a car–or riding in a car–I feel a sense of panic or fear. And, maybe because I can do something about it–Stop driving? Press on my passenger-side imaginary brake? Yell? Punch?–I go with the panic. In an airplane? I have no control. Therefore, subduing the fear–sustaining the prayer–is my best bet.
But when the pilot in the winged lawnmower reiterated the “make up for lost time” statement, I was silently screaming, “Better safe than sorry!”–until the babies on board started crying. Then I was all about making up for lost time.
The nice thing about delayed flights is that it cuts down on the layover for the connecting flight. In fact, I literally got off one plane and walked onto another. Despite the fact that everyone had boarded except those on my first flight, I managed another aisle seat. Score two! In the row behind me, a young child (whose father rammed his knees into the back of my seat the entire trip) kept my flying fears at bay with his comments:
- “We need face masks?” when the stewardess demonstrated their use,
- “We’re going down!” when we hit some turbulence, and
- “Mama, there’s smoke coming from the engine” when we were going through clouds.
Despite the commentary and despite landing in the bands of Tropical Storm Debbie, our flight was smooth and uneventful. Brittany masterfully completed our two-hour drive on wet roads, and when I got into my own car and drove across the prairie, my last leg of the journey, I breathed in a spray of colors that followed a grand finale sunset. I found it a perfect bookend to our trip. The Chronicles of Marmia had begun at sunrise four days before, and miles of significant and silly moments had filled the shelves with new inspiration.
(Having said that, might I add that I am happy God chose His beautiful sky–rather than my experience with airport security–to bookend my chronicles? I made it past security in Dallas with ease.)
It is good to be home.