I don’t like to fly; as a matter of fact, I hate it. However, I recently believed I was becoming more zen about the whole process. Just when I thought it was safe to go back to the airport and fly the friendly skies, travel trauma strikes again.
It’s funny how my martial arts training keeps me from embarrassing myself. I recently went to Pittsburgh for a long weekend. I was okay on the flight out, but the return to Denver really tested my patience and my perseverance. For some reason, TSA always plucks me out of the security line to go through the naked scanner. It only happens in Pittsburgh, and it happens every time I go through that airport. It’ s as if little bells go off every time I enter the terminal announcing to the security team, “She’s baa-aa-ack!” It irritates the heck out of me to be hand picked (so to speak) and be ordered to go through the scanner or face a pat down in front of hundreds of gawking strangers.
Just a nanosecond away from a major hissy fit, I faced my opponent and prepared for battle. I found my composure, slowed my breathing, stepped into the offensive machine, and assumed the position. Through my training, I developed the skill of a cold stare. Okay, who am I kidding….I have had that since I was a child. I used that stare as I looked directly ahead of me and continued the laser look at the TSA when they finally waved me through. I probably ought to be a little cautious with that, but I just couldn’t help myself. Besides, I was raging inside.
By the time we boarded, I had calmed myself down and managed to find a happy place. Of course, the glass of wine I had at the bar before boarding helped considerably. We settled into our seats for our connecting flight. My natural good spirits restored, I cheerfully started the countdown to getting to Denver, seeing my dogs, and being in the comfort of my own home. Ahhh, home. I only had three short hours to go.
Then came the dreaded news: we were number 23rd in line for take off, but no aircraft were able to take off due to storms in the area. For two hours we waited while I sat squished in the middle seat. I again practiced my composure, my breathing, and dodged the elbow strikes that kept coming from both sides. At least it kept me moving. I got the opportunity to practice my ninja disappearing act when the gentleman next to me tried to make eye contact and engage in conversation. Now if only I could master the disappearing act the next time I go through the naked scanner, maybe it won’t bother me so much.
We finally landed in Denver. As I was getting off the plane, one of the flight attendants apologized for the delay and for taking so long to get us to our destination. I thanked him and said, “At least you got us here in one piece….I give extra points for that.” He smiled back at me and said, “What a positive way to look at things.” Well, I do prefer looking at the bright side of every situation. But it’s going to be awhile before I get on a plane again. At least until I get a bit more proficient at disappearing.
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP