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.
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!