Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Takeoff

Made it back to Bratislava, Slovakia in one piece. It's cold but not uncomfortable; this morning big, fat snowflakes are falling and clumping on the street. I gloriously had a seat open next to me the entire 10-hour flight from LAX in Los Angeles to London Heathrow.

It was not a full flight, perhaps a quarter empty. I was on the aisle and as we were taxing down the runway, the woman at the window seat suddenly begun gasping quietly and fat tears rolled down her cheeks. When the plane lifted off the tarmac her hand shot out and she grabbed my forearm with alarming strength. She gasped and cried for several minutes, gripping my arm tightly, until we leveled off and her personality instantly changed. She apologized sweetly for nearly ripping my arm off; if she hadn't soon thrown a blanket over her head and gone right to sleep, it would have been the start of a Sophie Kinsella novel.

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1 comment:

Tim said...

While flying to my dad's funeral last February, I had to sit next to a young African American woman. As we landed in Denver, she started freaking out. It turns out she'd never flown before, and was a very, very nervous flier.

I am a thrill-a-minute flier, and love take-offs and landings.

Anyway, she was about to flip out. So I patiently held her hand, explained every noise, talked about what was going to happen, etc.

Her fear level was still sort of high, but the explanations really helped.

She landed without incident. So did the plane.