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Friday, October 28, 2011

Fear Knots

With so many friends and customers trotting off to exotic destinations lately the topic of conversation turned to holidays at work today. While I couldn't be buggered with all that chasing down of cathedrals and Neanderthal cave paintings I totally get the lure of Italy & France - it's the chance to bond with their gloriously delicious food.

For me a tour of these countries would involve a maybe five simple meals a day, plus snacks. I sometimes wonder whether I was a hobbit in my previous life. Unfortunately I don't think I'll ever manage to get to these countries though, because the odds of them building a bridge between Australia and any of the other Continents in my lifetime are slim. And I don't fly well.

"More chance getting killed in a car on the way home tonight than crashing in a plane," one of the girls at work said in an odd attempt to make me feel better about flying. It doesn't. 

"That's not it," I informed her. I thought the conversation would move on, but it didn't.

"The food can be a problem," prompted another of the girls. 

"That's not it," I said. You see, the problem I have with these long flights is I refuse to sleep on the plane.

"Can't you take a pill?" someone else suggested. 

"That's not it," I told her, and I realized I'd begrudgingly have to spill the beans. The reason I won't sleep on the plane is the first thing I do when I wake up, just prior to full consciousness in fact, is toot. It's biological or genetic or something. So I have this fear I'll let off a bum burp rather loudly, possibly even asphyxiate a few passengers, and then have to spend the entire flight with everyone looking at me.

Although tooting involves a completely different orifice I gather it's an extension of my fear of public speaking.

And it's not that I'm not afraid of flying - I am. That and a whole gambit of others. Being a parent can do this to you - suddenly you see the potential for disaster in every puddle of water and Lego block. There's my fear of heights, my fear of drowning & conversely my fear of dying by fire, my fear of snakes and my fear of being eaten by sharks, tigers, hippopotamuses &, since Jurassic Park, velociraptors. My fears could fill your average theatre.

Only thing I'm not scared of is actually dying, but the how I die is a whole other kettle of fish. And in fact I suspect my fear of flying is more my fear of the two minutes of plummeting out of the sky than the actual impact. But no need to go into that here, I can save it for when I get me a good psychiatrist. And trust me, he's gonna be rich.

Never quick to quit, the girls at work tried to allay my fears so that I might one day bite into a chocolate eclair or have Foie Gras on toast for breakfast in the home of the guillotine (fear of having my head chopped off, Highlander style, isn't in the good seats in the Auditorium of Bruce's Fears, but it definitely gets invited to the after party).

"I fart on planes all the time," said one of my lovely workmates. Don't be shocked. I'm the only bloke at work and this conversation is lame compared to some of the topics I've had the pleasure of trying to ignore. "Nobody can hear you toot over the sound of the engines."

And for the first time in many years I actually thought flying might be doable for me. Until I got home.

"Oh, they'll hear YOU alright," my sweet wife told me. "Although there's a chance the people up in business class might just think it's really bad turbulence."

I never like air plane food anyhow.

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