I took this photo with my iPhone shortly after take off as we flew along the coast of Florida on my way to Washington, DC. I am amazed at these phones and how clear the photographs are. Gotta love modern technology!
I'm a nervous Nellie when it comes to flying. I've always been like that and I've flown all my life as an Army brat and former Army wife. You'd think I would get used to it, right? Not. You will find me sitting with my seat upright, tray table up, my cell phone on airplane mode, eyes shut, and I'll be the woman holding the arms of her seat with a death grip. I just never have gotten used to not being in control of my life. I don't enjoy giving my life to another person aka the pilot(s) for any amount of time. Hey, what if his wife just left him or his favorite dog passed away? What if she's decided to quit flying after this flight because she'd rather continue being a barfly? Then, what? Where would we be?? In the Atlantic Ocean if it happened on my flight.
When I board any plane, I always check over the pilot(s). I check for bloodshot eyes, shaky hands, and black circles under the eyes. I do! I could lie to your face here and now and say that I don't, but I damn well do :) As I walk down the aisles, hoping my carry-on doesn't bump someone's arm or head, I'm checking out all the passengers for terrorist(s). Who looks nervous, has shifty eyes and I even check out the grandma's because no one would suspect them. The perfect cover. When I take my seat, I look around for anyone who looks ill or ready to croak. I wonder if it's their last day on earth and we're all going down with him or her. Is it you or you, I wonder as I look over the passengers near my seat.
Yes, I'm a mess when I fly. The photo I took out of the window was taken when we were at cruising altitude, I think it was 32,000 feet and the seat belt sign was turned off. It is then that I can relax and stop reciting Mother Theresa's novena and put away my rosary beads. I've already prayed for my children, my family and friends and I've promised God that I will improve on those things that I don't do well at. Yes, I bargain with God, but He knows me well :)
I don't like not being in control of my life. I just don't. Last year, I flew five times and this year, I've already flown twice. I do it, but I don't like it. I hate connecting flights and will pay for a non-stop flight any time I can. Much like trying to find an agent or a publisher for my novel, I send out query after query, but I don't like it. I understand that's how it's done these days, but I don't have to like it. My publishing life is in the hands of so many other people and I'm not in control. I find that very annoying when I'm ready now! I've already begun writing novel #2 which I'm enjoying, but I sure would love to see novel #1 published before I finish.
On the flight home from FL, my sister and I were going home after visiting our father and his wife. I sat in the middle seat, my sister had the aisle seat and a lovely young woman sat by the window. When the turbulence hit (damn!), my sister and I linked arms. I chided myself for not drawing up a damn will before I left home! The young woman leaned forward and smiled at us and said, "I'm a nervous flyer, too." So, I did what any compassionate, scared out of my wits woman and mother would do - I took the young woman's arm and we linked arms. I didn't even ask her if she wanted to link arms! I just took her arm and we stayed just like that for about five minutes until the turbulence subsided. My sister screamed at one point during the rollercoaster ride through turbulence which surprised me and I could do nothing but laugh at her! I didn't know she was a nervous flyer, too! It made the moment lighter, but I did have to laugh at her. I didn't scream! I don't know who needed the hand holding more on that flight?
The young woman thanked me when we landed :) When I land an agent or a publisher, I'll thank them, too. It's nice to have someone in your corner, ready to hold your hand through the publishing process. Not that I need major hand holding, but it's a new business to me. It would be nice to have a champion on my side as the writer's life can be lonely and unforgiving and yes, at times, downright scary.
I've decided. I'm taking the Amtrak trains to any future book signings.
Peace and love to you,