My rabid fear of flying brings out some of the weirdest ideas and spoken word. I’ve asked Toby Joe what clouds are, how a plane works, whether the wings are attached and if they can handle being hit with a 90-degree wind at 37 thousand feet. It’s almost as if when I’m afraid, I become a 7 year old all over again.
Last Saturday, as our plane circled New York City and more precisely, JFK, I began to freak out a little bit. Not that I hadn’t totally lost it before when we were flying up the coast of South Carolina and the pilot suggested we return to our seats because it was “Gonna get a bit bumpy folks. We are experiencing a wind shift at 90 degrees.” At that moment, I just sat there, white knuckled as the dripping sweat from the palm of my right hand saturated my left pant leg while my left palm took on Toby’s. Man, I know you’ve heard it before. Man, I know I’m predictable. But man, do I hate flying.
It was when I saw the lightening over Manhattan did I begin to realize we were going to die up there. That’s when I tried to convince myself that death wasn’t so bad, it was HOW it was going to happen that scared me the most. I sat there irrationally waiting for my life, Toby’s life, and my brother’s life to come to a blazing fiery end.
Fear is a weird thing. And if you have a legitimate fear of something, it brings out the most bizarre, irrational thoughts.
During our flight, I began to wonder about something. Let’s say that somehow we were all born with the knowledge of HOW we’re eventually going to die, do you think we’d still fear the things that we know won’t actually claim us?
A friend of mine used to remind me time and time again when I’d go into one of my regular moments of second-guessing everything and assuming the absolute worse, that “there is nothing to fear but death itself.” Granted, he was a goofy philosophy major who, back then, really wanted to believe it as well. But ultimately, I guess that’s true. When you boil it down, fear can be condensed to dying.
All that being said, and assuming that this (albeit sophomoric) philosophical view is something you might buy into, if we knew what would eventually take our life, would we still fear? Would it then boil down to pain? Would we begin to fear smaller things like riding a bike, crossing the street, using a sharp knife or driving?
And finally, could someone please tell me exactly how I am going to die so I can fly to India? Thanks.