Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The most difficult thing ever

I've touched on it here before. It's silly to most people who know, but very real to me. I want to get over it, but can't seem to make myself just do it.


For someone who loves to visit new places as much as I do, you'd think I'd have been on an airplane in the past 25 years.

You'd think ...

But it's been exactly that long: 1984. The year I returned from Japan with my mother after living in Okinawa for nearly two years. It wasn't a memorable flight. Leaving my doll at the Honolulu airport is really the only thing that sticks out at me about that long trip back to the States. I was pretty much devastated.

But I digress ...

The thing is, I've made a commitment of sorts. A good friend of mine moved to Portland, Oregon, a year or so ago. And I've promised to visit. I truly want to. I miss my friend and Portland looks like my kind of city.

The only problem is it's clear I'll need to fly to see her. Now is the time to book, considering flights are being slashed left and right. But I cannot seem to make myself do it. Flying across the country is petrifying to me. And flying across the country ALONE is just downright terrifying.

Besides the fear of crashing (my No. 1 fright) is the fact that I am completely clueless when it comes to check-ins, baggage requirements, security and the host of procedures that come as second nature to seasoned travelers. My fear is that I'd be THAT GIRL who holds up the line because I didn't know the secret handshake at the gate. Never mind the fact that I'd probably take my shoes off at the wrong moment.

Layovers are another thing. Waiting in airports is far worse than waiting in a doctor's office. Panic sets in and the hives pop up ... and that's just when I'm waiting for someone else to land. I can't imagine what I'd be like waiting for my own plane to get there.

(Legal) Drugs clearly are an option. But, flying alone while mildly sedated could only lead to bad things. Wandering around the airport talking mindlessly to complete strangers would make me look like a freak. Maybe. But I'm sure stranger things have happened.

I mentioned this to a few co-workers today only to hear about four or five horror stories involving faulty landing gear, the infamous Hudson River story and turbulence woes.

I'm scared to death, but I've got to face this. I just don't know if I'm ready — as much as I want to be.