Sunday, February 01, 2009


Today I spent more on a single purchase than I ever have before in my entire life. Except for the day we closed on our house. I bought our tickets to Rome. Six tickets to Rome, to be exact.

Our trip to Rome is going ahead. I've already rented an apartment, a lovely, centrally located apartment, and not the ugly slipcover apartment. Now, with the tickets purchased, this trip is pretty much a fait accompli.

I've been looking at tickets since before Christmas. I don't like to fly, so I don't do it very often. In fact, I'm embarrassed to confess that I haven't been on a plane since before 2001. That was when my uncle died suddenly and I insisted I could drive to the funeral and Jon had to all but kidnap me and force me onto a plane. I recall him dialing the airline to buy my ticket while I sat in a chair and cried.

So anyway, in choosing flights, I'd been checking the safety records of the airlines I was considering. There was a Swissair flight I was attracted to, because the Swiss seem to be an efficient and reliable and safe sort of people (I know, Swissair Flight 111. Shut up.), but that flight turned out not to work for us.

In the end, I decided that what I really want is an airline that distributes Ativan with the drinks. Is that unreasonable? Then I had a better idea. You know the oxygen masks? What if they delivered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen? Wouldn't that be fun? Because if you're going to die in a fiery crash, shouldn't you have the option of anesthetizing yourself? I think I deserve a prize for that idea.

Here is what I ask of you, dear readers. Fearful fliers: How do you cope? Confident fliers: Why are you so confident?


  1. I'm not afraid to fly, so I can't help you there, but I'm so jealous of your trip. How long are you staying? I've been to Rome, and it is the single most amazing place I've ever been. I hope to go back sometime soon.

  2. Pack an iPod with music that calms you. Plug in as soon as you're allowed and stay plugged in.

    Also needed: Whatever magazines make your heart go pitter patter, gourmet chocolates and other snacks, and a Sigg (or some other kind) water bottle that you can fill at the airport after you go through security. I like to pack knitting to keep me calm, but some airports are better than others about allowing knitting needles on board (even if they're plastic or wood).

  3. I meditate and pray. I'm of the fearful nervous sort. I also update my funeral plans and remind Mr. D who he's allowed to marry should I crash and die.

    Still--so exciting for you! Rome! I cannot wait to hear all about it.

  4. i'm somewhere in the middle. i'm usually really nervous leading up to a big trip, but once i'm actually on the airplane and flying i calm down. until there is turbulence.

    i am also nervous about driving on long road trips. i will often have insomnia the night before a long road trip which only makes matters worse.

    how do i cope? little ritualistic things. i wear things i find sacred (like little red cords blessed by the dalai lama, or prayer beads around my wrist). i say a prayer during take off and landing and turbulence (i like om mani padme hum, a buddhist prayer, but it can be any prayer of course), i indulge in a thick glossy magazine, watch the movies and try to sleep. also, i do this totally new age thing sometimes where i visualize the airplane surrounded with a white protective light.

    but some people just take a sedative and are done with it!

  5. I'm so scared to fly, that I wouldn't even be planning a trip to Europe...

    Everyone's suggestions sound good so far.

  6. These are sweet postings. Now for some truth from a Secular Lifeguide, the bargain airfare one: NYTOL, NYTOL, NYTOL (or SOMINEX, SOMINEX, SOMINEX), taken as prescribed, 1/2 hour before you board the plane. Then NO BOOZE on the plane. Bring your creature comforts, as recommended by these fine other posters, but when the drugs kick in, don't fight it and SLEEEEEEP! We evolved to create sleep aids just for this purpose. Oh, yeah, and don't forget the ear plugs. :)

  7. I have never in my life worried about a plane crashing. I live in fear that my luggage will be lost. That's what you should fear, my friend. Luggage gets lost way more often than planes crash.

    I know, that's totally helpful, isn't it? You're welcome.

  8. Last time I flew to Europe was 1999 and it was BRUTAL. A man of some heritage I'm not going to name was sitting next to me. He hadn't bathed in quite a while and spent the entire night flight chanting prayers. I didn't sleep a wink.
    I would vote for knocking yourselves out with sleepy meds.

    That being said, are you going to learn a few phrases of Italian before you go? How long are you ataying?

  9. I don't enjoy flying. At all. But not so much that I can't get on a plane. I cope by having wild fantasies about what I would do in the event that the plane crashed. I make the whole scenario so preposterous and over the top that I eventually conclude that that could never in a million years happen so I must be safe.

    I know. I need help.