I made it back from Scarsdale alive. Now how many people can say that?
I will admit to you how pathetic I was at the airport last Thursday. I'd woken up that morning filled with vim and vigor, prepared to stare Nature in the eye and say, "You don't scare me." But by the time I'd dragged my suitcase from my car to the Delta desk, I was very much scared. The winds were whipping up, blowing folks sideways as they crossed from the parking deck to the terminal. I wondered why flights weren't being cancelled.
By the time I'd gotten through security and found my gate, I was starting to get upset. I was not helped at all by the announcement that those of us on Delta Flight 6349 should be sure to use the restroom and get something to eat, because given today's winds, there would be no in-flight service. We'd all be chained to our seats.
This is the point I started to have a mild freakout. Why am I doing this, I wondered. Why am I willing to die for money? Is it really worth the risk, flying in Gale Force 8 winds? I considered turning around and heading home. I tried not to cry. I prayed for courage, but didn't feel the least bit courageous.
(Here is the benefit of being a wimp and a writer--you often have occasion to take notes for future efforts, should you live. For instance, when one is trying very hard not to cry, it is an interesting exercise to stand back from oneself and observe how it feels to try not to cry, as it may come in handy later when describing a character who herself is trying hard not to cry, which pretty much sums up my entire childhood--the girl who tried hard not to cry and always failed.)
So then I did cry, but comforted myself that a middle-aged woman crying in the airport is not a shocking sight. Women cry at the airport all the time. No one would automatically assume I was crying because I was a wimp.
And then, something happened. Or more to the point, someone happened. A man took a seat two spots over from me and pulled out some chicken fingers from a KFC bag. I looked over at him and saw he wore silver wings on his shirt pocket and a tie covered with tiny airplanes.
I leaned toward him. "Excuse me," I said. "Are you a pilot?"
He nodded. "American Airlines."
"Should I be scared about flying today?" I asked, sniffing and wiping my eyes. "Because I am."
The pilot, whose name turned out to be Jeff, laughed in a booming, friendly sort of way. He preceded to tell me why I shouldn't be the least bit scared. Only thing to fear in the air is thunderstorms, he said. He'd flown in winds twice as strong as the ones we were experiencing, nothing too it. Oh, some bumps, sure, but overall flying in big wind was safe as houses.
A man and woman sitting behind the pilot leaned over their seats toward me. The man said, "We fly all the time for our jobs. It's going to be fine today." The woman said, "We swear to you if we thought it wasn't safe, we wouldn't get on the plane."
Then the pilot asked me where I was going and why, and I told him I was making an author's visit to a middle school, and he asked if any of my books were available on Kindle, and I said, yes, I thought so, and then he bought one of my books. So, not only did I survive my flight to Scarsdale, I made a sale!
My flights to and from New York were fine, with minimal turbulence, by the way. All that fear for naught! Except that I felt taken care of. I'd prayed for courage, and what do you know? It came to me via a guy with wings. Go figure.
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