Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Free Falling Anxiety

So it turns out my fear of flying, which came to full hyperventilating flower very recently, has really been messing me up. You see, I only returned from Thailand and the barely mentioned flight from hell across the Pacific in mid-December. It’s been just over two months, which seems to be enough time to get totally ramped up on adrenaline and whatever other chemicals go into fear, and not nearly enough time to get over said fear.

I’m starting to get over the fear—I don’t know if my body’s just used up all its chemicals or what, but in the last couple days I’ve actually found the fear response to be a little tedious. I mean, there’s evidently been so much fear in my heart that it’s turned into a sort of free-floating anxiety that, for the last couple weeks, had tinted every thing I do. For example, my new credit card came in the mail, with the sticker on it listing the 1-800 number you need to call to activate your card. “But what if somehow this letter has been sabotaged, and the number is for a crook and not the credit card company???” With considerable trepidation, I beeped in the number and activated my card. So far, so good. There have been others, though—What if I break my leg skiing? What if someone drives into me at 70 mph on I-5? What if the cleaners messes up my sequined dress? What if I’m five minutes late to my appointment for checking my contacts? All of these thoughts, and countless others from which I will spare you, have been racing through my mind with increasing density as I approached today, the day of my next intercontinental flight. You can probably see why I’m beginning to find the whole fear thing tedious, boring even. In fact, I slept better last night than a couple previous nights, and this morning I woke up feeling pretty normal. Really, if I were leaving in a week, I’d probably be fine.

I do have a sizeable arsenal to help me through the flight, however. I recently acquired an iPod nano, and boy does it rock. I have 24 hours of story, read by the deep, musically soothing voice of Frank McCourt, and about 3 days of music in genres including classical, jazz, Dave Matthews, Sting, accordion (in case I miss Ian too much), and general rock, as well as 20 pictures of friends, relatives, dogs, friends dogs, and horses. I also, thanks to my dear sweet brother, am the proud owner of a pair of noise-reducing headphones. So far I’ve only tried them with Ian’s car on a wet day (boy is that a noisy ride) and the vacuum. They’re pretty darn cool. My mother-in-law slipped me four of the anti-anxiety pills she uses when she flies; my own mother recommended Vitamin C (she’s right though, it is a cure-all) and gave me a book her entire book group pronounced profoundly terrifying and riveting. Heck, if I can be scared of something other than the turbulence . . .

With the cheapness of my ticket, I fear I’m going to be in one of the middle seats in steerage on the British Airways 747, but my grandmother pointed out that at least I would have two hands within easy reach if I got scared and needed to squeeze the life out of someone. “You tell them Grandma said you could,” she told me.

Regardless, I’m very much looking forward to the trip, which encompasses London, Porto, and Lisbon, all places I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in my past. I’ll be traveling for the first week or so with my cousin, and we’ll get to visit friends. The real reason I’m going now, though, in February, is the international singing debut of Anne-Carolyn, who’s been singing the socks off audiences in Atlanta and New York, as well as rubbing shoulders with only slightly more famous musicians (it’s only a matter of time, AC).


allyson said...

bon voyage, Cal. You're going to have such a great time. Give Anne-Carolyn a big hug and kiss from me. xo a

Anonymous said...

Have a great time...give my best to AC.