I used to fly frequently to visit my dad, a big transcontinental flight from NYC to LA every year. But that was when there were fewer restrictions on your liquids, and shoes, and carry-on items (I mean, I brought my VIOLIN with me with minimal stress) and checking baggage wasn't a sign of weakness.
But now I hate it, and I am heading into my first solo flight in over ten years to go visit a longtime friend in Nashville...tomorrow. The last time I flew solo was actually to go visit her in Brooklyn when I was first dating Bryce. I flew JetBlue and it was a gloriously short direct flight but it suffered a delay getting back into Rochester that involved me getting hit on by an Australian Elvis impersonator and not getting in until 3 in the morning (those things are unrelated). Bryce didn't have a cell phone then. That was the moment when he realized the value of being able to take a call in an airport. The fact that he stayed was a harbinger that we were going to last.
The time before that was when my dad flew me out for a week after the horrible (and yet in retrospect wonderful) revelations about my marriage, and I was so grief-stricken and shell-shocked that honestly I didn't care about turbulence or delays or possible in-flight disasters. I was probably a nightmare to sit next to.
So now, in this Summer Of Doing The Things, I am finally going to go visit my friend I've known since college but really became tight with when we worked together in children's publishing, a woman who I can have a phone date with after months of silence and end up yakking away for upwards of three hours. I always said, "I should come visit you!" but never really thought it would be a possibility, and then this summer I decided WHY NOT? We're not taking a big trip, I'm tutoring a bit, and it seems like the timing is perfect. I am so excited, and she's so excited, I've never been to Nashville, and we haven't spent more than a few hours at a wedding together in probably a decade, so this is going to be awesome.
I leave tomorrow. On a plane. By myself. And I. Am. FREAKING OUT.
First, I can't find my packing cubes. If you are unfamiliar with the joys of the packing cube, acquaint yourself! They are miracle accessories that help you Tetris your way to a highly organized suitcase and make it far more likely that you will fit all your shit into a carry-on. I discovered them around the California trip and I'll never go back...except I CAN'T FIND THEM. They are not in my suitcase. They are not under the bed. They are missing, and I am starting to hyperventilate.
Second, I got a text alert about weather in NYC. Like, "A Delta Waiver has been issued due to weather that may affect your travel. To rebook, search for alternate flights via blah blah delta website blah blah." WHAT DOES THIS MEAN???
|For 50% thunderstorms? |
No weather advisory or warning or anything?
And it DIDN'T say "heavy rain" twenty minutes ago.
I called to see what that means, and if I should reroute through a different connection, but the wait time is 34-48 minutes. They are calling me back. Goody, 34-48 minutes to perseverate about how this trip is clearly DOOMED between the Case of the Missing Packing Cubes and the Mystery of the Vague Weather Alert.
When I booked the flight, I sprung for the Economy Plus option to give me priority boarding, seat selection, the option to have a glass of wine, and peace of mind. I hate the boarding process, the cattle-to-slaughter feel of it all, and all I want to do when it's close to flying time is GET ON THE PLANE and open my book and settle in to my new cramped space in a flying object that I hope will sustain my life for a few hours at ridiculously high altitude. It was worth it to me. But now I wonder...if I have to rebook, will I lose that? I also managed to book flights that did not involve getting up ridiculously early or flying in the middle of the night -- is that now possibly endangered?
And, to top it off, in the time I've been writing this and checking flight info and weather info and generally feeling my heart rate skyrocket and my pulse lodge itself in my eyeballs, the radio station on downstairs CHOSE THIS MOMENT to do a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.
Maybe I should go read my book until the Delta agent calls me back. Maybe I should continue the search for the missing packing cubes.
Maybe I should position myself facedown on the floor of my office.
This is all just normal 21st Century flying nonsense, right? This is not some kind of harbinger of a fiery plummet into the Appalachians?
Thanks for virtually holding my hand as I basically spew my anxiety into the web. Breathe with me and tell me it's going to be okay. What are your tips for reducing flight anxiety?