airplanes don’t make nobody happy

i’m grateful for planes.  don’t get me wrong.  i started off this morning in chicago, darted over to detroit and picked up a flight to los angeles so i can visit with facebook friends.

i thought my flight was at two o’clock. so i had a leisurely morning of working out and scoping out then i looked at the ticket and figured out that the first flight of the day would arrive in detroit at two o’clock. i needed to be at o’hare at NOON. what a delightful sprint to the airport. followed by a sprint from one terminal to another in detroit’s airport! i think i left the coffee maker on in my ex-husband’s apartment!  he’s in montana, i’m in los angeles and the coffeemaker is in chicago.  i have a feeling i might not be invited to use the apartment again!

my panic attack started as i boarded the flight from detroit to los angeles.  the plane was cramped that a flight attendant started using my head as a elbow rest as he stowed luggage.  the lady in the seat next to me fell asleep with her head on my shoulder.  the flight attendant stepped on my foot three times.  the guy in the seat behind me was quite pretezel-like and managed some stretching exercises that involved him raising his hands in the air and then back so far that if i had given him a tube of mascara he could have done my makeup!

i started shaking.  crying.  thinking about that coffeemaker and the entire building burning down.  all the apology notes i’d have to write.  i took two ativan and tried to concentrate on an episode of “how i met your mother” on the overhead screen.

and then something curious happened.  the flight attendant, for whom i had no good feelings, had relocated a passenger in the row across from me to the back of the plane.  and the attendant sat down next to the remaining seated passenger.  it took a moment to realize what i was looking at–a flight attendant trying to calm someone in the midst of a panic attack.  i wasn’t the only one having trouble.

the flight is over, i’m on the ground in los angeles.  if you’re in chicago, you might notice a curious burnt coffee smell wafting out of the streeterville neighborhood.  i get ready to meet a facebook friend tomorrow.  and i have decided it’s okay to have panic attacks on planes.  because that’s what airplanes do!

7 responses to “airplanes don’t make nobody happy

  • Bruce Cohen and Friends

    I really like airplanes, keep it up on the air. Yes air planes, trains, auto’s and bikes, walking and undergrounds. Well your journey continue, don’t know most anything about lots of my facebook friends.

  • janelle

    LOL, I’d be fine on airplanes if I could run up and down the aisle a few times to get rid of my nerves but I think that would be frowned upon and I would be arrested for being a terrorist.

  • marcia giella

    i just got back from round trip to california, and although you describe my flight better than I, I vowed to never fly that airline again. Jet Blue and Southwest are the only airlines that have enough room and comfort; and direct flights only going forward. It is a very “inhumane” experience for me. I am small and flexible and come back riddled with aches and pains that hopefully a massage will quiet this weekend. My sister now ONLY takes vacations that she can drive to…which is limiting (a “former” agoraphobic with panic attacks)…but I unfortunately realize that once again, the rich are able to purchase comfort with first class; while the 99% sit with the pigs and chickens. I also noticed the BIG problem with obesity…and although politically very incorrect…prayed that another “small” person would sit next to me. I salute you for your unending patience with your travels and your mission…and don’t see air travel for another 3 months…when I hopefully will be able to afford the Jet Blue or Southwest flights.

  • E. A. Isaksen

    Oh my goodness, what a tale! You are just so brave Arlynn…. I am housebound, as I told you in my last email, so can’t even imagine getting to an airport. let alone on a plane! KUDOS to you.
    Btw…my website for agoraphobia awareness ( is coming along and yes, I can list the apps on there if you get me the info when you get a chance. I will also have a line of t-shirts, mugs, christmas oranaments, wallets etc….. We need to get the word out to generate more support than we have ever had!
    What a warrior you are !
    Ellen I so new here I still don’t know how to follow this blog automatically, but I will!

  • Don Wainwright

    I’m not prone to panic attacks but here’s how to get around the airplane congestion feeling: Good Bose noise-cancellation headphones, good music (chamber music), and a great book. Bore in on the music and book and blank out the whole airplane experience.

  • kaiamorrigan

    Reblogged this on Notes from a "Closet" Writer and commented:
    Arlynn serves up her wisdom with sides of humor & hope. I LOVE this blog and am inspired to work on bothmy own issues & blog mmore.

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