Tag Archives: fear of flying

denzel and sandy take away my flight mojo

i think i’m scared of flying again.  i was scheduled to fly into laguardia this week to meet new facebook friends and reconnect with my son joseph.  then, as the dire predictions rolled in about hurricane sandy, i felt that familiar panic about getting on a plane.  the three days before imagining crashes,bird strikes, fuel starvation, sabotage–to say nothing of panic attacks, homicidal fellow passengers, delirious flight attendants, ebola virus transmission. .. .

i also watched the trailer for the denzel washington movie “flight” and although denzel is the sexiest man on earth, i wouldn’t recommend watching this. even if you’re the most placid of flyers or high on a mixture of ambien and margaritas, just the preview will make you think twice about anything aeronautical.

when i made a commitment to meet all 325 of my facebook friends during 2011 i was a white knuckle flyer.  okay, honestly, i was a three glasses of wine and an ativan before i get on the plane gal.  i probably was in more danger from that combination than anything else.

as the year progressed, as i got on a plane just about every week, i stopped being scared.  stopped thinking about it too much.  drank less.  didn’t even bother with the ativan.  started to feel wonderful as the plane gently or bumpily  lifted me into the air.

still, the hurricane spooked me and it’s been nearly two months since i’ve been on a plane.  i have fallen back into the habit of fear.  i’ve lost my flight mojo!

the airports of new york closed and i will reschedule.  but now i will have to teach myself again to sally forth.  at least i have a credit at delta airlines!

so here’s an experiment.  watch the flight trailer — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhUrWRV1cxs

now think about yourself on a plane.


the absolute worst thing about meeting my facebook friends. . .

t.s.a.

i made a new years resolution to meet all 325 of my facebook friends. in the year 2011 alone, i was on the road 50 out of 52 weeks and probably on close to a hundred flights.  i have continued to meet friends, past the 325 i had as of january 2011.  and today i’m on my way to florida.

the worst thing?  t.s.a.

they have done everything.  they have swabbed me.  they have sequestered me in bullet proof holding cells while they rifle through my bags (really, you have to hold my panties up to the light to be sure there’s not an i.e.d. in them?).  they have pulled me out of the line at the gate in order to do a “random” second search.  they have body patted me, wanded me, and once a female agent told me “i’m going to start at each of your ankles and move up your legs until i meet resistance.”  i said “isn’t that an r. kelly song?”  and when she was done, she said “nice brazilian.”

and every once in a while, when our citizenry is quiescent, the t.s.a. adds a new level of weird.  they’re now testing liquids a traveler has already purchased (at a really jacked up price) INSIDE the terminal, after they have passed through the slaughterhouse inspection.  i’ve had inner terminal searches when switching planes, but if someone grabs my pre-flight beer and says “that’s for me, baby!”  i’m not going to be happy.

and it’s the not happy that t.s.a. is now aiming for:  video has emerged of a woman who was approached by t.s.a. at the gate and told she was randomly selected to give up her $5 bottle of water.  she swallowed the remaining water rather than do it.  a bonehead move of rebellion?

by the time a typical traveler has reached the gate, they’ve forgotten there ever were founding fathers who were willing to risk their fortunes, their safety and their lives for freedom. can you imagine one of these dudes having somebody grasp their ankles and feel their way up? can you imagine them stripping down for the right to get on a plane to disneyland? can you imagine them standing by while their six year old cries because t.s.a. has to take apart her barbie backpack?

the woman was using her cellphone to video tape this, and lord knows, i’ve wanted to do that in situations when t.s.a. agents have genuinely scared me.  the video is rough and not very professional.  but one interaction is really clear:

“Let me get this straight,” the woman asks the TSA agent. “this is retaliatory for my attitude, this is not making the airways safer it’s retaliatory.”

“It pretty much definitely is,” the screener responds.

i’ve always thought attitude was the key–that air travelers have to present themselves as meek and unobtrusive.  no joking, no protesting.  but it used to be that you could heave a sigh of relief once you got past security.  no longer.

there is a rumor floating around the internet that t.s.a. is attempting to implement “stop, freeze!” regulations that would make passengers freeze on command, as a group.  anywhere in the airport.  i used to think that was crazy talk.  but maybe the point of security is not to find anything that’s going to hurt us, but rather, to make sure we are a passive lot.  because really, we all have seen ground and flight crew sauntering past the security lines–how come nothing random ever happens to them?

i used to drink the preflight beer because i was worried about the plane crashing.  as we all know, alcohol in your bloodstream is secreted into the air in the form of sweat.  the alcohol has a lower density than regular air, so the alcohol lifts the plane.  you didn’t know how aeronautics works?  the next time you see a woman drinking a big gulp margarita at the chili’s just inside the united terminal, you should say thank you!

now i think they should have preflight beers available BEFORE security.  of course, there’s another way:

no need for an inflight movie!  and can i get a tan while i’m in here?


on wednesday mark zuckerberg will send us a nice thank you note!

last year, in florida, i took off my sandals and swung on a tire. i didn't know that the grass had been spread with fertilizer. when i went to the airport, i was put in a bulletproof glass cage by tsa. fertilizer combined with other materials can be a component part in a bomb. i'm not a terrorist, really, i just look like one.

on wednesday, facebook will go public.  offering shares to the general marketplace, mark zuckerberg is going to find himself a billionaire.  and what exactly does he own?  everything about facebook users.  pictures, even the stupid ones.  updates, status, posts, comments, notes. . . all the timeline of our lives.  i’m grateful to facebook because it has allowed me to meet and keep friends.  last year, i made a promise to meet all 325 of the facebook friends i had on new year’s eve.  i did pretty okay, meeting 90% of them.  still, there’s a lot of information out there that mark and facebook own.  i assume a thank you note is coming after he collects his check.

this year i am trying to pay it forward on last year’s resolution.  last year, every facebook friend did their best to encourage and support me in my efforts.  and even a few friends who aren’t even on facebook!  i traveled around the world with my eldest son and met so many people!  i reinforced friendships, reviewed histories, suffered some disappointments but it was all worth it!

tomorrow i get back on an airplane for the first time since just before christmas.  i’m believing that my fear of flying is returning.  half of my fear dissipates when i make it through security.  i seem to have a veritable talent for attracting the “random” search and the “we just need to take apart your bag”. . . really, do they have to paw through my panties quite like that???

today, i heard from molly parshall that yesterday she hadn’t really been able to take the index cards and start on her goal of a) taking a train ride with her son blake and b) becoming a psychiatrist (or other professional) who helps those with agoraphobia.  instead, she was stuck in the house a little paralyzed with fear.  i wish i could have stayed longer in coldwater.  and maybe i should have.  but i know i’m going back.  because i promised that i would.

molly is a beautiful talented and very witty agoraphobic. we made up a program using small steps to get her out of the house. then i drove home to chicago.

 

those goals are pretty big ones, and the small things in between are just like my visits to facebook friends–

while i know she feels disappointed in herself–i think it’s a good sign that she’s spending a lot of the day playing farmville on facebook.  because if she wasn’t a little intimidated that would mean that her goals aren’t big enough.  last year, when i first decided i’d strike out into the world, i spent about a week utterly out of my mind with fear.  i feel for her, but i know she’s strong, brave and going to be okay.

tomorrow i’ll be in boston to meet lisa tabbi-fuller.  it’s her birthday and we’re going to play with heights.  mastering one fear is a good way of proving to yourself that you can master all fears.


the first mrs. sickles and the second mrs. sickles finally meet

i am pretty good friends with f2fb friend #164 carole smith, who is the first ex-wife of my ex-husband so i figured why couldn’t the two former mrs. sickles meet?

mr. sickles is, not to put too fine a point on it, quite dead.  but he figured prominently in a play i wrote called “murder on lafayette square”. . .  which was about that one time daniel sickles murdered attorney general philip barton key who was, well, schtupping mrs. sickles.

after being found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity sickles went on to serve as a general during the civil war. at gettysburg, a cannonball shot through his leg. he donated the leg and the ball to the walter reed museum in washington

 

the two actresses who played mrs. sickles actually had never met.  we got together to watch the play enter love.  f2fb friend #219 heather mingo and f2fb fiend #220 genevieve lally-knuth are both actresses and they have a lot of projects going on.  heather has a web series.  genevieve is presently working as a puppetmaster.

after the play we went to nearby hamburger mary’s to get something to eat.  but then there was a problem:  genevieve was nine days into a master cleanse.  she drinks a concoction of water, lemon juice, honey and cayenne pepper.  this is the same diet as beyonce, gwen stefani and other stars have used.  i wondered if i should warn genevieve that she might have her own line of designer clothes and several of her most treasured secrets aired on tmz.com–although maybe the diet doesn’t CAUSE that.

the four of us (genevieve brought her boyfriend rok) talked about travel, about art, about the play we had seen.  enter love purported to be about love in modern times.  it was set in an airport bar (i am spending a lot of time this year waiting for flights in airport bars)  and there was a song about fear of flying.  oh, what a rush of feelings that song gave me.  i think i have to find that hypnosis dvd because in two weeks, i’ll be flying into alaska to visit two facebook friends who live on opposite sides of the state.  and alaska has a lot of state for a plane to cover!

i got up to say goodbye, but i wanted to take one last picture–it was a lovely afternoon!

heather, rok, and genevieve--heather has invented a shoe that can be worn with or without a heel. rok and genevieve are heading for costa rica where they first met!


never leave your flip camera with your friends. . .

. . .  while you visit the ladies’ room.  you’ll be so surprised when you get home and download everything!

i went to pinstripes, a bocce and bowling emporium, with f2fb friend #217 nicole fleming.  i thought nicole lived in naperville.  i kept suggesting things to do in naperville–miniature golf, manicures, walks through north central college’s campus–and nicole always demurred.  i thought she didn’t like me.  turns out she lives in schaumburg now and she’s made some changes in her life.  a new job, a new place, a new beau.  LOVE has come into nicole’s life.

it had been an astonishing full year since we have seen each other and that’s the sort of one eighty that can happen in our friend’s lives and we can try to keep track of the status updates and emails but it’s not like playing a game of bocce on a saturday afternoon with a cold brewski.  we were joined by our mutual friends f2fb friend #18 and 20 susan vaughn grooters and charles seymour.  then i had to, ahem, powder my nose.  i left the flip camera on the table. . .

nicole has the glow of a woman in love.  or at least great like or great lust or great something.  whatever it is, she looks wonderful and we had a great afternoon catching up.  unfortunately, as a duo, nicole and i couldn’t catch up to susan and charles, who won all but one round.

medieval times is in schaumburg.  had i known that nicole lives there, i would have suggested it.  nothing like a turkey leg, pepsi in a paper cup, roar of the horse manure and the smell of the crowd.  but bocce is great for the genteel.

it was a wonderful afternoon.  i was sorry to say goodbye.  but i had to run off to see f2fb friend #218 rachel davis.  rachel had produced the movie “the misanthrop” which was directed by my f2fb friend #151 allen colombo.  eastman, my son and incidentally my very first facebook friend, was in fourth grade and played the lead’s best friend.  i very nearly made rachel faint when i explained that eastman is now in college.  nothing like hearing about kids now running the world to make you feel old.

i haven’t seen rachel in close to eight years.  she has married.  and just now is in the process of getting divorced.  she is in school to get her master’s in special education.  just like nicole, she has a glow about her–i didn’t get a chance to ask  because we were rushing, because we had to meet the first and second mrs. sickles* to see a play very aptly titled–

yeah, this play is about love but it's set in an airport. the "i'm scared of flying" song scared the daylights out of me! go to questensemble.org for more info!

*to my surprise, it would be the first time the two mrs. sickles had ever met!


facebook friends change me

i could not have done this in january.  this project has changed me.  i am transformed by every friend i meet just a little bit at a time.  this was a change that has taken six months of this project to come about!  i am grateful every day for my facebook friends.


when family is facebook

i had one day in new york city and instead of meeting with a facebook friend i saw my half sister casey (f2fb #31) and my son joseph (f2fb #61).  putting them together,  i was surprised to figure out that they hadn’t actually seen each other in fifteen years.  part of the reason is that i haven’t been good about travel and so i’ve not cultivated a “let’s hop on a plane and visit the relatives” sort of relationship to my family.

but part of it also is that my father (justin, f2fb #30) and my mother aleta put me up for adoption when i was three.  the patricks raised me and the theory at the time was that an adoptive family should do all in its power to erase a child’s memory of any previous life.  my clothes were changed on the day of the final handover.  i didn’t get to take my favorite stuffed animal.  my name was changed.   and i’m not sure how i came to understand that i would never again see my parents.

f2fb friend #88 helped me go through all the yearbooks of the university of chicago for the five years before and five years after my birth looking for young married students.  why?  i overheard mrs. patrick tell a neighbor that one of the adoption agency caseworkers told her that i was the daughter of two graduate students there.  i went to the cook county recorder of deeds and tried to get a birth certificate and was told that when you’re adopted, even as late as three years old, your certificate is revised to reflect the adoptive family details.

i found my biological family using a private detective.  the meeting between my father’s family and me seemed promising.  the one between me and my mother less so.  in both cases, though, there is a strong presumption that i am not really part of the family and yet i am.  there is some sort of provisional aspect to it.

after dinner, joseph and i walked to central park and i apologized–as i sometimes have–about my not being able to give him a robust and affectionate group of family members.  then he reminded me that the eastman family–of which he now has aunt susan, aunt julie, aunt clare, and uncle mike–has been that part of his life.  and their parents–dick and vivian–hosted us for thanksgiving, christmas and other holidays.  eastman, my younger son, is named not so much for any one member of the eastman family but for all of them.

i really hope that this facebook project brings casey and joseph closer together.  when they parted, casey suggested they hang out together sometime.  i hope they do!

then it was time to get on a plane.  the boy scouts suggested a bit of a dare.


sex tapes, artistes, and st. willebad celebrations!

everything is three hours away from anything else in los angeles, as near as i can tell.  and every self-respecting starlet and congressman has a sex tape or at least a self-portrait on the market, so i stopped in at creative artists agency.  they said i wasn’t a vivid or girls gone wild type.  they said they would try to position me with disney.

the people are so cool about decorating their houses for the holidays.  today is june seventh, st. willibad of wessex day.  here is how some angelenos decorated their house–

look at the st. willibad garlands on this fence!

 

los angelenos are exuberant artistes and they don’t require a gallery to show their work.  i was standing on the corner of sunset boulevard and silver lake, when i saw two youths creating a mural on the side of a building across the street.  unfortunately, every self-respecting avenue in los angeles has seven lanes in either direction so by the time i crossed, the two artistes had taken their spray paint cans and their ladder.  this is when i observed that everyone here takes their physical exercise seriously.  those dudes were fast!

embedded within this painting was an invitation to join the homeboys

there are a lot of social clubs in los angeles, like the university club and the union league club in chicago.  i think i would like to join the homeboys.

i met with becky hirschmann, who is a winnetka native forging a career as an actress in los angeles.  she used to be in children’s theater with my two sons.  i was amazed at how beautiful and poised she is–but then again, of all the gals i met in children’s theater, i always knew she would have her own television show.  she didn’t know much about my project to meet every one of my facebook friends.  she was surprised i am scared of flying–i didn’t want to alarm her by listing all the other things i’m afraid of.  but she was delighted to find out that she’s f2fb #145 and we bought a tiara to commemorate the occasion:

i will see becky again when she comes back to winnetka soon, or when i end up back in california (which i will since i have a lot of facebook friends here).  also, if she makes it big, she has promised me a guest house invitation!

then i headed for calabasas to meet my next facebook friend candice appleton vaughn.  calabasas is, as winston churchill opined, a gated community within a gated community within a gated community.  i expected trouble getting past the gates. . . but i had heard that britney spears lives somewhere nearby, so i’m in! and maybe i can get my new homeboys to help me!

my best anxiety attacks i reserve for the san diego expressway, highway 405 and the ventura freeway,  #101.


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