Archive for June 27th, 2008

Plane With Fire

Friday, June 27th, 2008

I’m going to California over the weekend and I have mixed feelings about it. I love California. I have an exciting new client who’s putting me up in the new Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego and I’m sure Pacific sunsets are just as breathtaking as they always were. I know I have nothing better to do – so what’s the problem?

I don’t like to fly.

Yeh, yeh – I know – flying is the safest means of transportation next to the elevator – blah, blah. I still don’t like it.

My fear exploded in 1975 when I took my first transatlantic flight to France. Flying – over the ocean. Where do they land if something goes wrong? Aren’t they mocking you when they talk about that stupid “floatation device” on which you’re sitting? Is that really supposed to help you when the closest shore is hundreds of miles away?

I thought about this too much before my flight. I was talking myself out of going when some good friends intervened with pharmaceutical assistance. We were having a few drinks at the airport bar when they gave me what they called a “mild sedative” to relax. In fact, (they said) the meds were so light – they would take one themselves to show how mild they were – but I should probably take two for the long flight. Right.

The pills and alcohol had quite an effect. I was more than relaxed. In fact, had they taken me to Seabreeze Park, put me on a kiddie plane ride, and told me I landed in France, I probably would have searched for my Passport.

Somehow, I managed to board the plane and pour myself into my window seat before I passed out. After a time, disaster hit – and it wasn’t a dream. I opened my eyes and FLAMES were shooting from the wings! Really! “JESUS CHRIST!” I shouted. The older woman next to me quickly spoke. “It’s OK, Sir.” she said, “The stewardess said not to wake you. The plane has some minor mechanical problems and we have to land back in Toronto. But before we do that, they have to burn off all the fuel so we can land safely.” Right

It must have been relatively safe because they let people use the rest rooms.  There was a long, long line.

####