My friend R.O. hates to fly. And she’s one of the bravest people I know – as an oncologist she helps patients face fear of death, as a mom, she shows her daughters women can do anything they set their minds to. One of her favorite things to do is explore other cultures and try new things. But flying?
“I’ve cried, I’ve covered myself with the blanket, I’ve asked the stranger next to me to let me hold onto them, I’ve tried medication, wine, it’s still just awful,” she told me. She hasn't let her fear stop her from going places. But it’s hell getting there.
On her most recent flight to New York City for Thanksgiving, she did something different on the descent:
“I held my copy of Some Nerve to my chest and told myself I could get through it,” she said. She credited the book with helping her through the landing. I'm sure it had more to do with her talking to herself in a positive way.
On my own flight home from Santa Fe earlier this week my seat mate asked the flight attendant: “Aren’t you afraid that the more you fly the higher your chances of something bad happening?” The flight attendant, a mature looking woman who’d been doing this her whole career looked incredulous. “No, absolutely not,” she said. “It’s much safer up here than down there on the highways.” The statistics bear that out – in 2011 in the U.S. there were over 32,000 motor vehicle fatalities and in the same year there were no commercial airline fatalities at all.