This is a little embarrassing to admit, which should give you an idea of how serious it is, since I rarely feel embarrassed by anything. But here it is. You be the judge.
I’m scared of submarines. Not the sandwiches, you do-do, the vessels. It is a strange fear, I know. Especially since I live in the desert, and there is little risk of me ever strolling down the street and running into one, but last I checked, fear isn’t usually rational. Right? Right? And just to lay it all out on the table for you, I’m actually terrified of submarines. It’s not that they make me a little uncomfortable, it’s more like if one appears on the screen in a film (because let’s face it, that’s the only way I am going to be seeing a submarine. Right? Right?), I have to leave. And my heart races, and I feel very much like I may vomit up a lung. It’s your classic anxiety.
I’ve had this fear for years. Recently, the kids discovered it, and now refer to submarines as “boatmarines” instead, which is so very, very kind of them. But even Luca seems dismayed, and has asked me why. “Why are you afraid of sub– I mean boatmarines, Mama?” I honestly don’t know how to answer him. I’m not a fearful person (Oh! Except I hate it when people touch me with their feet! Don’t ever do that.), and I would hate to think that I may be a bad example for my boys, but for the love of all things holy, fear has crept in. And now, it goes beyond my old fear of submarines. Now it’s something else.
I’ve been flying since I was a baby. I’m told that I was put on the floor—where you now stow your purse or backpack—and sent hurtling through the sky towards . . . well, I’m not really sure where I was going. I was a baby. And then of course, in the eighties, my parents’ divorce sent me once again hurtling through the sky, as an unaccompanied minor, from one state to another. We did that a lot, my sister and I, and I remember it fondly. It felt both ridiculously silly (or maybe I was just ridiculously silly, with freedom) and risky, which as a teenager, was awesome. Then of course we had the trip to France thrown in there. So, you see…lots of flying. And never once did I panic about it.
Here are some brief details from our most recent trip to New York:
1. Flew out of Phoenix at 6 am, after spending a horrible, sleepless night in a hotel where we woke up at 2:45 instead of 3:45 because some asshole changed the clock.
3. Talked a lot about how we always over pack.
4. Talked about how next time we should not pack so much.
5. Rearranged the luggage, 3 times.
6. Left 2 hours late out of Phoenix with too much luggage.
7. Were assured we would have no trouble with our connection in Chicago, since all flights were delayed.
(This whole trip was so riddled with travel issues that I can’t even begin to write about them all.)
While we were in the sky, headed to Chicago, I realized that I no longer like to fly. Actually, that isn’t right. My heart no longer likes to fly. Well, that and my head, and my central nervous system, and I suppose my endocrine system, since I sweat like a pig from the stress and anxiety I feel as I’m flying. It’s so very . . . odd. My body has taken my desire to travel completely hostage! AH! Hostages! Add fear of being taken hostage to the whole thing! Dear SIPNEL! I don’t ever want to become a hostage!
Alas, I am a hostage to my overwhelming fear, which brings a great shitball of irony to the whole mix.
Shitballs! Great! Another thing to fear! ARGH!
What is mystifying to me is the complete inability to control the fear that I feel. It’s overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. And it has greatly intensified since I had my children, because how on earth am I supposed to explain to them, as we plummet toward earth, why I thought it was a good idea to strap them into a metal death machine that is shooting through the sky at top speed?
Usually, while flying, I reach a point where I just sort of accept that, yep, I’m going to die. The plane is going to plunge and smash into the earth and I will burn up and be, well, dead. That’s just all there is to it. Once I accept that, I actually calm down a bit and make it through the flight. It’s completely ridiculous, right?
I hate that I fear anything. I want to be completely fearless in my life! The truth is, I’m just not. I genuinely don’t want to get hit by a submarine. Totes. And I really, really don’t want to be set on fire, ever. I certainly (clearly) don’t want to go down in a plane, and I would rather not be hit in the face, ever. I would prefer you never touch me with your feet. And I’d rather not find another (yes, another) band-aid in my soup. I’d like to get through life unattacked. I would love to never, ever have to see a clown hiding in a cupboard or other dark, gloomy space. But mostly? I would rather just be totally, and completely fearless.