One week ago today, I was flying to London on a one-day trip for a workshop. I flew to London City Airport, which is the most convenient airport in London and by far the windiest. As a nervous flyer, let me tell you this: I appreciate the convenience, but I become a ball of nerves for the entire hour and twenty minutes that it takes to fly there.
On my way to London, I was lucky to sit next to another nervous flyer, who was lovely and was more than happy to have someone to talk to. At one point during the landing, we literally said, in unison, “It’s fine, it’ll all be ok.” It made for a nice laugh. Needless to say, we both survived the worst.
But the way back wasn’t as much fun. I was already a bit on edge because, for starters, it was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting while I was on my way to the airport, and I wondered whether this was going to have an impact on me making my flight. Thankfully, it didn’t. Secondly, even if the entire city of London had decided to make its way to the hospital, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference, seeing as my flight was delayed by two freaking hours.
The flight back home was ok; I was expecting there to be a lot more wind, but I think that’s understood when you’re afraid of flying. You’re always surprised to discover it isn’t as terrifying as your mind convinced you it would be.
Then my least favourite part began: the landing. Which led to the most curious reaction.
While I dug my fingernails into the plastic armrest, the inspiration switch clicked, and suddenly, I had to – I needed to – write.
Decisions, decisions: do I let go of the armrest and reach for the notebook and pen peacefully resting in my handbag, or do I succumb to fear and just focus on saying what might well be my last prayers instead? I’m ashamed to admit I chose the latter. It was agony.
I tried to memorise everything about the scene that had begun to unravel in my mind, while the plane hummed, and the flaps unfolded from the wings like the plane was stretching its arms after a long flight, and the loud and lengthy zipping sounds of hidden doors releasing the plane wheels beneath us, getting ready to hit the ground running. Or rolling.
I was more miserable than usual when I got off the plane. What kind of coward decides the fear of flying is too great for you to reach for your notebook? Thankfully, I did get to memorise what I was thinking about; if there is anything useful about this exercise is that it’s kind of like writing, losing your notes and having to write everything all over again. Not only do you get to appreciate your ideas much better, but you also often find new ways of writing that hadn’t occurred to you before. So even though holding on to the armrest was a pretty lame thing to do, in a way it was also positive. Ish.
I have an uncle who says the great thing about having to do something for the second time is that you end up doing it better and faster than the first time (he’s an IT person). I used to roll my eyes when he said that to me as a teenager, but who’s laughing now?
Have a good night and thank you so much for reading!