I’m afraid to fly. I do it all the time, but it’s one of the hardest things I do. The only reason I get onto planes is because it’s just bad karma for me to get up in front of hundreds of students every year and tell them to face their fears and see their worries as challenges and then say, “But as for me, I’m taking the bus.”
So I fly with my friend, Dr. Smirnoff, and I go where I need to be. But I have never exactly “relaxed” when approaching an airport.
Trains, however, usually relax me. Often when planning my trip to NYC from Hartford on Amtrak, I permit myself the luxury of indulgence. I bring my headphones, an actual fun book, and a sandwich from home to eat during the three-hour journey. I can take a nap, lose myself in a novel, and not worry about turbulence up ahead.
True, if it some terrible weather happens—such as drizzle—the trains could be delayed for hours. But even that usually doesn’t bother me all that much (unless I have a lunch scheduled; then a small sizzle of panic can set in) because you always feel—if worse came to worst—you could exit the train and either go home or rent a car and get to your destination. This is not something available to you in terms of air travel, especially if you’re circling O’Hare. You can’t say to the crew, “Okay, enough already. Drop me off and I’ll get car service from here.”
But I have a complaint to make to the Amtrak folks. It has nothing to do with drizzle delays or with the fact that babies are permitted in the so-called Quiet Car, which is not a policy I understand, but I’m not making a fuss.
Amtrak, I’m complaining about the fact that you raised my fear of flying anxiety level deliberately by several of the ads you’re using to promote the use of trains. There are ones saying, "Not everyone was meant to fly." Nice. Thanks for that. Thanks for undermining 30 years of therapy.
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