Fear of flying

Renée’s dad swung by this afternoon for a quick visit and a cup of tea. He’s a burly, big-hearted man - a real, bred-in-the-blood French Voyageur - the kind of guy that works in a sawmill, makes beautiful furniture out of gigantic logs, and is most in his element when he’s outdoors. He’s a swell guy.

Renée’s dad Marcel used to, as you would expect a man’s man to do, fly planes for a living - specifically with Canadian Airlines (which I would link to, except that they were bought out by Air Canada a few years ago). For someone like me who is irrationally terrified of flying, chatting with Marcel about aviation always helps calm the uneasy beast inside.

Lately we’ve had a lot to talk about.

Of course, we’ve talked about the current situation, and the incredible downturn in plane travel. But we also talk about how Canada’s second-largest airline Canada 3000 just went bankrupt and laid off thousands of employees. We talk about plane crashes, and the vicious air disturbances that possibly ripped Flight 587 apart, and how the turbulence created by a plane is like “twin tornadoes that can really shake up a plane”.

Now, I have no real reason why I am not what they call “a good flyer”: I didn’t take my first flight until I was 20 (which was uneventful), and never experienced horrific turbulence, shaky landings, or anything out of the ordinary. I’m not afraid of heights (I’ve even gone parachuting and bungee jumping and that went fine), and years of tooling around North America in a stinky van during my band years has resulted in more close-calls than I’ve ever had in a plane.

And yet I’m totally terrified when I’m on a plane.

Somehow, talking with Marcel makes me feel better, even when we talk about horrific things like engines falling off of planes. I suppose, for that, I am grateful.

What scares you? And do you have anyone (or anything) that helps you get through it?

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