It’s a Long Way Down

Yesterday I flew back to Utah after my Christmas vacation in Arkansas. Despite all the weather problems going on in most of the US my flight was on time, no mechanical issues, no worries… until we got just outside of Salt Lake. Apparently it had begun to snow and they hadn’t been able to clear the runways yet and were blocking all planes from landing or taking off. So we flew in circles for a little bit before we got the go ahead. When we finally began the dissent we hit a bit of turbulence because of all the windy weather. Now I may sound crazy but I don’t mind turbulence and actually think it can be a little fun but this ended up being almost a half hour of steady rocking and shaking. At first I didn’t really notice it and kept reading but after about 20 min. I got a headache and that hot, sweaty, constricted throat feeling you get when you’re about to ralph. So I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths and after a min. or so I felt fine. Others were not lucky as I noticed the flight attendants collected a few of the barf bags from passengers. I bring this up not to gross you out but as I sat there with my eyes closed, I thought of another experience I had with flying a few years ago.

My mom’s former boss had a couple of those little personal planes that he would use to fly to the car auctions in Dallas. I had flown with him once maybe twice before and got in for another trip to the auctions. I sat up front with him while two other people were in the back. As we were in mid-air taking off my door flies open. He had apparently not locked it when he shut the door and I didn’t know he hadn’t. Well the lady in the back starts to freak out a little and is holding on to my arm (yeah like that’s going to help if I start to fall) all the while repeating, “Oh my goodness. Oh. Oh. Oh my goodness.” My mom’s former boss let out a stream of profanity and tells me to hold the door closed with my hand until we land and he can latch it. Sure. No problem, my arms are buff because I can bench press….well nothing actually.

You know the weird thing? When my door flew open and I looked down it was like some freaky out of mind experience. I saw what happened and even looked down at the ground but the gravity of the situation never fully registered with me at all. I was completely calm inside and out. Matter of fact, I thought the whole thing was kind of funny and tried very hard for the remainder of the flight not to burst out laughing. What is the matter with me??

Anyway, I did miraculously hold the door closed until we landed and he could secure the latch. When took off again and made it to Dallas without anymore mishaps. And though I had been calm throughout the whole ordeal, the next time we flew I made sure to ask him about the latch before we took off.


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