I’m sitting on an aeroplane out of Budapest when I hear it. For a split second, time slows down and the sound is no more than a quiet inlet of air, the sound you get while driving when you’ve wound the window open, just a slither. Then it explodes. Whoosh! It’s a hot summer day and the roof of the car is now down. I can’t even hear myself think.
My lizard brain reacts and I lurch forward in my seat, which on a budget airline, doesn’t give me much room to manoeuvre. The door of my aeroplane has been ripped off and we are all going to plummet to our death.
I’m about to die, but I’m not ready yet. I am so excited to live, for what comes next, and I haven’t spent enough time with the people I care about or said goodbye. I would really like the opportunity to say goodbye. There are so many things that I haven’t done. How can this world be so full of opportunity and then take it all away? This should not be my time.
Why isn’t anyone else screaming?
The sound stops. ‘They’ must have closed the door of the aeroplane. Heart pounding I wiggle back into my slightly too small seat and try to continue reading about a far off world, India. I can’t concentrate. What just happened? Why is our plane still flying? Can anyone else hear my heart, it is beating like a drum?
Two minutes later, the door of the plane opens again and once more, no-one panics. A third time, a fourth. What the hell is.. oh.. The toilet. I am sitting at the very back of the aeroplane in the aisle. Statistically, this seat offers the highest chances of survival in a plane crash. This isn’t a negative paranoia, just a simple precaution to increase my chances of survival in an unfortunate event. Over ninety per cent of plane crashes have at least one survivor after all. This statistic gives me a glimmer of comfort when flying (submarines nor spaceships offer this comfort: they are two of the few experiences in life that I never wish to have the displeasure of experiencing).
So, the toilet. Apparently the toilet on an aeroplane is extremely loud and never before have I sat with my back against it. I am pleasantly surprised to find that I am not about to plummet from too many metres above the ground into an international headline.
I will live another day. And my world is full of opportunity. I cannot wait.
This is a true recount of my thought process as I flew from Budapest to Stansted a few days ago. I do not have a phobia of flying, but I am pretty terrified of turbulence and planes landing. This experience served as another reminder to make every single day count and that is fully what I intend to do. Before continuing on another big journey, I am choosing to spend some time with people I care very much about, my family. What would you think if you didn’t have much time left? What would you do? Why don’t you do it now anyway (just in case)?
I’m, not afraid of flying, but I too always have that moment on an airplane where I imagine it will crash. Usually at the first sign of turbulence, I have to tell myself, calm down, it will all be over soon! But of course then I get a grip, have a glass of overpriced wine, and all is well. I suppose my strange fascination with reading about plane crashes doesn’t help…
The wine certainly helps. Here’s a good one for you: http://planecrashinfo.com/ . My favourite pre-flight bedtime reading.
Fun post, but poses a real question. And I’m not sure of my answer yet! Get back to ya!