Conquering My Fear

By the time you read this, I’ll be gone. At about 4am, I left for Wisconsin. For the first time in nine years, I am taking to the air, and I am conquering my fear.

I am not afraid of Wisconsin. Cows, cheese, Green Bay Packers, all good. It’s not the state.

It’s my first professional conference in about 15 years. I’ll learn some things and get free pens. I’m not afraid of conferences.

I’ll be off-line for three days. I’m not taking any electronic devices except for my e-reader. No email, no Twitter, no WordPress. No pressure. I’m not afraid to unplug.

I’m not afraid to fly. There is nothing better than taxiing down the runway and feeling the earth fall out from beneath my feet. There is no fear, only exhilaration.

I’m afraid of TSA. I don’t like being told what to do, especially by an organization drunk on its own power. I don’t know all of the regulations, and I know from an experience last year that sometimes airlines make stuff up as they go along. The airline itself charges $25 to check a bag. That’s $50 round trip. To check a bag.

I am allowed one carry-on, but if I put the wrong thing in it, I’ll have to check it. Guess who doesn’t want to spend the next two days shopping for shampoos and conditioners in exacting three ounce containers? In the interests of time, I will forgo personal hygiene altogether.

Hairbrush is okay, right? What about a cup of coffee? Is toothpaste considered a liquid? I’d like to have clean teeth and minty fresh breath, but I can skip if necessary. I hate all these rules. I don’t like the total loss of control. Anyone at any given time can choose to do a pat-and-probe or search my things, and there’s not a thing I can do about it. It doesn’t seem quite fair.

What if they go through my bag and steal my stuff? I’d kill over my Severus Snape t-shirt, you know. What if I have to kill over my Severus Snape t-shirt and I go to jail forever and without my guidance my children become pole-dancers? What if my imagination runs away with me and never comes back?

But the real issue is this:  I didn’t lose enough weight to be happy about passing through the nekkid scan. Ten pounds lighter, and they’d have to beg me to leave. And to please, for heaven’s sake, stop that dancing. But for now, I must do the suck-in-and-run.

Flying friendly skies? As if.

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41 thoughts on “Conquering My Fear

  1. Enjoy your trip! It’s nice to unplug every now and then. My husband refuses to fly because of TSA. I on the other hand, am willing to go through this violation and humiliation, as long as it means that I get to travel.

  2. We accidentally packed a jar of jelly in our carry-on on our way home from Ireland and had to go through them completely unpacking our carefully and expertly packed suitcase. Then when we went through a SECOND security check, I got randomly selected for another bag check. Seriously? That other guy just went through the whole damn thing. What a waste of time and resources. And I almost missed my plane on top of it.

  3. As I tell my husband, the trick to handling someone with power is to be a subservient as possible. “Oh, I’m not supposed to have hairspray? I’m sorry. Please take it. I never travel and I didn’t know. I will never let it happen again. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Thank you so much for helping me. I would never want to break the rules. I’m sorry.” (and try to look sincere.)

  4. I feel your pain about TSA. I flew from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale this morning. TSA took my unopened Greek yogurt out of a drawstring bag and told me I had to eat it right there or it would be thrown out. Sorry – I don’t eat on command. There are too many indignities to this process already. I told them to throw it out. But I’m still fuming as I think about that pseudo-security thug snacking on my yogurt after I left.

    • I think it’s wrong that you have to throw out the food stuffs you brought with you so they can sell you the same thing at three times the price on the other side. THAT’S where the real airport crimes are committed!

  5. Ugh, rules and regulations on what you can or can’t bring is the worst part of traveling. Makes me wish I were super rich so could just not bring a bag at all and buy all new stuff when I got there… and then donate it all to a women’s shelter or something at the end of my trip.

  6. Great post! Oh, you have expressed my lament!! We’re contemplating a trip back to NJ from FL…and I haven’t flown in several years! I could go alone…as it’s for a girl cousins’ reunion, but I don’t want to fly alone…for all of the above reasons you’ve given!! So now it’s a more complicated set of logistics, and cost, if it’s the whole family traveling!! People should fly “TO” Florida, anyway, not the other way around! Right?!? I’m stressed by all I’d have to think about & do to pull this off! Woe is me!!

    I’ll be praying your trip goes smoothly…and you conquer all your fears…perhaps that will help me get victory over mine!! Amen!

      • So right!! Thankfully, our cousins want to meet at the Jersey shore in July…still hazy, hot, and humid..and not everything is air conditioned as it is here…I don’t want to die!! We went back 2 years after we moved to FL for a wedding in Oct., it was lovely!! Have not been back for the snow…which is why we left to live here!!!

  7. I fly a lot. I have small items, and have found all sorts of equivalent products that are not liquids (solid shampoo, solid deodorant, etc etc) and I STILL wonder if I have it right when I go through security…

  8. Enjoy your trip! One time I forgot to take my mace out of my purse and no one caught it. Of course, if it had been a bottle of water or something, I probably would have been interrogated for an hour.

  9. This is for real. At the Kauai (Lihue) Hawaii airport recently, where I was not on a conference but an extended VACATION they actually had PRE SCREENED people line where you can go through without taking off your clothes or taking out your liquids and laptop out of the case, etc. I think it’s just to make you feel special. I mean, seriously, there was no criteria for being in that line, other than being somewhat human and lucid.

  10. I took a helicopter to Catalina once and they had to weigh me to make sure I didn’t bring the helicopter over the weight limit with my morbid obesity. I took off my shoes. The guy said, “Your shoes are going with you.” I considered going barefoot. What a jerk.

  11. I am glad you ended up identifying the underlying fear behind your thoughts. That is the most important step in overcoming. I fly out of Canada and they are bad here too. I have lost my bags on a flight to Miami once and since then I pack personal hygiene items in my carry on. TSA once confiscated my nail clippers.

    I walked 50 yards and was saw nail clippers for sale in front of the gate. = /

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