Oh, tired. Very very tired.
The guy I sat next to on the first flight, who was startlingly intelligent and, more importantly in this context, a radio frequency engineer, told us the following. That these safety measures, like the three ounces of liquid bullshit or the no cell phones at take off and landing, are designed to make us feel better, to give us the illusion of control. Because honestly, if something happens, we're totally fucked and there's nothing we can do.
But I think it's so true that we either need to feel like we have a modicum of control over our outcomes, or feel somehow responsible for anything going awry.
Last night we chose to switch flights, but could do nothing about our luggage. So we got to BWI at 9:40 and our luggage, which we had to wait for or risk losing forever, arrived past midnight.
As you know, I fully anticipate death when I get on a plane. I don't sit down intending to die, but if the slightest little thing goes wrong, or there's turbulence, or even funny noises, I immediately go into "this is it" mode.
I've been assured by an aerospace engineer that planes are so over-engineered that turbulence will not take you down. And there's plenty of time for pilots to figure out what to do on the way down if an engine stops working or something. That said, I still have to sit there and remind myself of that. While my eyes are clamped tightly shut and my hands clenched in some form of supplication.
It turns out it's take-off and landing where you're most likely to die. Because there's not much time, and there are so many other planes around. You clip one, you fall to earth, and that's that.
Last night the plane that we switched to shim-shim-shimmied down the runway trying to take off. Truly, the plane was doing a model walk down the runway. Side to side.
We're in this big metal thing that is supposed to be gaining enough momentum to get off the ground by going forward. None of this side-to-sidiness. Either our pilot is not on top of his game or the runway is too slick or some combination and we will surely collide with another plane.
And in my mind it is my fault. Sorry, sorry, sorry Jen. I'm the reason we're going to die in this stupid plane from Philly to Baltimore - a distance we could've walked in less time than all the waiting took. I'm the one who wanted to switch planes. I should never have wanted to switch planes. And now we're going to skitter straight into another plane. And that will be that.
Quick pre-death review: I should totally have kissed the cute guy on that earlier flight. And finished my book - now I'll never know how it ends. And had french fries instead of broccoli with my turkey burger. Who the fuck has broccoli before flying? At least we had the 22 oz. beers. And where is my goddamn Snickers? Oops, sorry God.
I think it's fairly tawdry to bargain with God in moments like those, although I am not above begging desperately when someone else's life hangs in the balance.
And so I don't. I just remind myself of all that is good and kind in the world. And try to remember to breathe. Which helps with the not losing of the shit.
And then you live through it, even the landing, where once again you are pretty certain of death, because the plane is doing a scary bumpy-bump swishy-swish while you are in the air, close to landing, and then rumbles and brakes down the white, mist-enveloped runway before coming to a sloshy stop. When you land, and you might even realize that you are on the verge of tears.
But then you have the next three hours for all of this to dissipate, for thank goodness to turn to pure exhaustion and annoyance, as around 10:30 you stop checking the board obsessively and simply begin to alternate limply between the big wooden bench and the floor near the baggage revolvey thingies.
And you realize full well that you have not one drop of control over any of it.