As a small boy I was excited by airline flights. My family flew somewhere together once every few years. At that rate of experience, novelty hung on for quite some time.
I only got sick once during a flight. I still think it had little to do with turbulence and a lot to do with the way I was dressed up by my well-meaning parents. Those green slacks were just asking to be covered in vomit.
Last year, for my job as a travelling geek, I flew enough miles that Northwest Airlines gave me the status of Silver Elite. This meant free first-class upgrades and priority boarding. I already cashed in the miles for free tickets to my brother's wedding in New Orleans but the Elite status should last through the year. Unfortunately Northwest's flights are among the most expensive I can find; the "free upgrades" come at a cost.
In a few hours I'll be on a plane to San Francisco. The flight is scheduled for 7:11 departure. My usual pattern for an early flight is to stay up all night, clean the apartment and pack my luggage. This morning, as I lay on my bed faking a nap, I wondered why I developed this pattern.
Am I kept awake by a subconscious fear of flying? Do I avoid sleep because I have a terrible time waking up to an alarm and I dread missing the flight? Is the prospect of forgetting to pack an important article enough to prevent sleep? Would three hours of sleep be better than no sleep at all?
My alarm just went off; I've been typing this instead of sleeping. I'll try to catch a few winks on the plane, but if I don't it won't be a problem for very long. I'll be tired enough to fall asleep at a normal hour, several hours before my usual crash time.
During my last flight into Austin, as I often do I pondered the possibility of the plane touching the ground before its scheduled arrival time and at a location not well suited for jet landings. I wrote this down:
If there is no death unordained, and all of the passengers of an airplane will die in a crash, then the likelihood of a plane crash is equal to the likelihood of a plane being filled with people ordained to die.
I find this strangely comforting.