It’s Friday, May 25, 2012 and for a split second I think it may be my last day on earth……or above earth as is the situation. The seat belt sign dings and flashes as the turbulence starts. Then a pleasant sounding voice comes over the intercom, “The captain has turned on the seat belt sign. Please return to your seat and refrain from using the toilet”.
I am sitting in seat 18F and the responsiblity of the exit door overwhelms me as I grip the seat arms in fear.
The Air Canada airbus 321 rocks and shakes high above the prairies as we head east to Toronto sending my body into shock.
First, blood quickens through my veins and my heart beats faster and faster causing a tightening in my stomach.
A tingling sensation runs down the back of my neck and slowly down my arms to the white knuckles of my frozen hands.
I put Fifty Shades of Grey in the seat pocket, no longer able to find happiness in my make-believe affair with Christian Grey.
‘Am I going to die today?’ As fast as the thought invades my mind, I know I must take control of the situation.
I do not like how my body is reacting and I am not going to tolerate my mind adding to the misery.
I take a deep breath. Then another. And again until my body starts to relax. It’s working. I feel better but I know it’s not enough so I chant silently to myself:
‘All is well. I am safe. I trust in the divine.’
The more I say this in my head, the more I relax. I continue this mantra until I succumb to the fact that whatever happens is meant to be and I am safe no matter what.
I fall in and out of sleep for the next half hour or so but return the my inner chant whenever coherent. The seat belt light stays on for the remainder of the soul-shaking flight.
I fly often and I am not an anxious flyer but I do not like turbulence, I mean really, who does? Fear is an emotion that sometimes cannot be stifled but it can be overcome. I may feel fear the next time I fly in rocky skies but I know that I can relieve myself of the effects by calming my mind and my body will follow. Only I can do that, for myself.
Jeez, at least I didn’t have to deal with a mistaken intercom message like the British Airways passengers flying from Miami to London!!
I don’t want to leave this post having you all afraid of your next flight so here are some funnier, less threatening intercom messages from the many entertaining and amusing flight crews from around the world.
On landing the stewardess said, “Please be sure to take all your belongings. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.”
“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane.”
“Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”
“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the bag over your own mouth and nose before assisting children… or other adults acting like children.”