|So I'm a chickenshit, okay?|
I've done it before. I've flown because I've "had" to for work. My employer insisted upon training in Vancouver. I'll spare you the details, but I cried most of the flight and the landings and takeoffs, while routine, left me resigned to meet my Maker.
It was that bad.
Hey, I have problems with step stools. Put me in a steel tube hurtling through Earth's upper atmosphere and my confidence hardly goes up. I'd need to sport natural feathers to feel confident flying anywhere.
I didn't go to Panama City to visit my father.
I can't tell you how stupid I feel; how embarrassed or ashamed. But a phobia does not respond to logic. It beats logic down with a simple backhand and laughs in logic's face.
I had a meltdown. I had a panic attack. I did not get on the plane. And I have done nothing but regret it ever since.
I disappointed myself. I had resolved to be stronger and I wasn't. I broke my first resolution.
I looked in the mirror that morning and saw the fear etched so clearly on every pore of my face and I broke. I failed and now that I don't actually have to get on the plane I feel stupid. I feel like I've missed a golden opportunity. I feel childish.
I have a phobia, and it is no small demon to vanquish. We all have our own. My mother dislikes water, as does my brother. I have a friend who would sooner be burned alive than face a spider. There is no rationale whatsoever. They just are.
I had every intention of getting on the plane and I didn't. The loser is me, and to another degree my father who was looking forward to my visit and had made many detailed plans to introduce me to the beauty and culture of Panama.
The airline has credited me for the full value of the flight I missed, so in truth I've lost nothing but face here, and to that I must own up. Lying is not one of my talents.
There's the loss.
As for the win, my mother's cousin and her husband came to visit today. If there's one thing that can put a halt to my self-flagellation it's family.
K2 and her ex-soldier hubby Oddball showed up and immediately called me out on my failure to get on the plane.
"I had a panic attack!" I said in self defense.
"Screw that," snapped Odd. "I'd have gotten on and let the air marshals sort it out."
He's braver than me, but then again he was a soldier. He's also endearingly silly.
His wife K2 was featuring a Newfie slang app on her iPhone. One of the translations featured was "Hey, what's your name buddy?"
"Oddball used that one at a party," she said.
"It's true," said Oddball. "I asked a guy - What's your name buddy?"
"How'd you know my name?" the guy asked.
"What? I asked for your name buddy."
"Yeah, how'd you know that?" asked the guy again.
"What the hell, buddy..."
"What?" said the guy innocently enough.
Apparently that's when his wife poked her head out of the kitchen. "That IS his name. Buddy."
"He had me going for awhile," confessed Oddball.
"How much did you have to drink?" I asked.
"I asked him if he knew how many people had that name," laughed K2.
We all watched the Habs beat Tampa Bay.
"I'm rooting for Tampa Bay," said Oddball. "Go Tampa Bay."
"Watch this power play," I said confidently. "The Habs have the worst power play in the entire NHL."
"Jeez, I never knew how negative you were against your own team!" said Oddball, who is not a hockey or sports fan. "Go Montreal! They're gonna win 3-2. I'm calling it now."
RDS chose that moment to put up a stat that declared that the Montreal Canadiens had the worst power play in the entire NHL.
"See?" I said, waving my hands around. "I'm not negative. Just stating the facts!"
He chose to root for the Habs anyway, so my powers of corruption appear to be intact. When they won he said it was his doing.
"You have to come back for every game!" I told him and K2.
"See you Monday," said Bro.
Mom won $10 betting that the final score would be 3-1 while I had put money on OT and Bro had put his money on clinging to a slim one goal lead. At least I didn't have to pay her $100 since it was Cole who got the 3rd goal and not her boy Plekanec.
I suppose one of the benefits of missing the plane to Panama is that I can actually catch some Habs game live instead of on the PVR. But it's a small consolation.