Weekend Getaway: When the Neuroses Come Out and Play

January 22, 2008 at 12:16 pm 2 comments

This weekend I have the distinct pleasure of leaving the cold, dreary Pennsylvania landscape to visit my friend Bird in the cold, dreary Kentucky landscape. Seeing as how I love both Bird and My Old Kentucky Home [which was really only my home for 4 years of college, but still – home nonetheless], I don’t mind that I’m not escaping to any sort of warm, tropical climate that will heal my disgusting, cracked, Crypt-Keeper dry hands.



In fact, the only thing I do mind is the fact that I have to fly. And the connection in Midway. And the possibility of lost luggage. And the germ carnival of the airport. And the danger of my shampoo leaking all over my clothes. And the inevitable delays. And the opportunity for forgetting a wide array of things I cannot live without back at home. And – while I’m at it – I might as well worry about my cat dying and the state of the economy. You know, for good measure.

In short, I am a delightful traveler.

I never used to be this way. My parents took us cross-country for vacation every year, beginning when I was a mere 6 years old, and I loved it. In fact, the experience of the airport and the airplane used to be one of my very favorite parts of the trip. I still have a huge collection of plastic airplane wings, and I’ve already shared with you my affinity for a certain odd Halloween costume. Yes, I was quite the little traveler in those days, imagining what it would be like when I was finally a grown-up and could travel even MORE, and spend even MORE time on MORE airplanes and in MORE airports until I eventually subsisted only on honey-roasted peanuts & ginger ale, wearing a suit fashioned from airplane blankets & in-flight magazines and washing my hair in the tiny lavatory sink with hotel-sized bottles of Prell.


I’ve seen the future, and it’s go-go-boot-clad and GLORIOUS.

Alas, that was before I had the chance to mature into the majestic, fantastic, gigantic pain-in-the-ass worrier that I am. These days, traveling is pretty much porn for my over-anxious brain, and I have to make a constant effort not to cop-out and drive everywhere.


Because driving is just SO much safer, you know.

I think I do a pretty good job of forcing myself to fly despite the colon-spasms and shallow breathing it causes me. I’ve gone on two trips overseas, both of which required insanely long flights, and I’ve taken steps to lessen my flight-related anxiety. These steps include – but are not limited to – meditation, exposure therapy, research, visualization, Dramamine, and gin.


Two-hour delay, six-hour delay – who gives a shit?

Also, I’ve realized that, in general, most of my problems stem from the anticipation of the event rather than the event itself. Like Carly Simon, anticipation is making me wait, but is also making me entirely unsure of what my bowels are about to do next. And we can’t have that, now can we? Especially if my luggage gets lost and I don’t have a change of pants.

But the good thing about being an “anticipation” worrier is that once the event is underway and the flight takes off, I’m totally fine. I can listen to my iPod, read my trashy magazine and enjoy a $4 mini-bottle of chardonnay that tastes like feet.

Oh, until we hit turbulence or the plane turns too steeply. Then I’ll grab the armrest and squeeze until my clammy hand has left condensation on the metal. This was especially charming the one time I went to grab the armrest and accidentally grabbed the wrist of the woman sitting next to me, who was asleep.


Not for long, she wasn’t.

But once we land and I get off the plane, I realize how awesome it is to fly, how incredible it is that I can travel hundreds of miles in mere hours, and DEAR SWEET JESUS, HOW I WILL HONOR EVERY SINGLE PROMISE I MADE TO YOU AS WE WERE TAKING OFF.


As long as it doesn’t interfere with my current lifestyle, of course.

Because – clammy hands and wile bowels aside – it would be a real shame if I let my anxieties prevent me from traveling and all the wonderful experiences that can bring. I cannot imagine what it would be like to never know the horrific stench of an in-flight fart, or to never battle a drug-resistant head cold contracted from a surly flight attendant named Bruce. A world without 9-hour flights spent watching Amanda Bynes movies is a world without happiness, of that I can be sure.


The hallmark of a life well-lived.



Entry filed under: And you KNOW THIS!.

Small Talk Cheers & Jeers: Post-Traveling Edition

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Husband of Said Turkey  |  January 22, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Both the picture of the car wreck and the picture of the nun are priceless. I’m sure someone died in a horrific fashion in that car accident, and now we’re laughing.

    See? Travel accidents CAN be fun!

  • 2. Unpainted Arizona « Jive Turkey  |  May 13, 2008 at 9:29 am

    […] Flying […]


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