Trishna’s tidbits / Modern Musings by Trishna Buch
Earlier this summer I had family come to visit me from India. I had such a great time with them that—on the day of their departure—I declared that I would take a vacation to India once I received my Master’s degree. I have family members that I have yet to meet and long overdue reunions with other relatives that need to take place. However, after taking a 3 hour flight to and from Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago, I have decided that this trip, these meetings and the reunions may have to take place at a location closer than India, because I have officially concluded that I hate flying.
The thing is, I have always hated to fly. Ever since I was nine months old, took my first flight (to India, no less) and refused to sit in that baby bassinet my mother had bought for me. As I got older, my hatred intensified to the point that—if I had to choose—I’d rather take a three day car trip than a three hour flight. In fact, when my family decided to take a trip to Orlando, Florida five years ago, I was the only one fighting for my right to as less irritation as possible, by insisting we drive 14 hours to the destination, instead of just flying two and a half hours.
Because the entire flying situation is a pain, irritation and hassle. Because flying doesn’t only include the actual plane ride, but the entire process as a whole. The entire journey starts a few hours before the flight, when you have to show up to the airport in order to check-in and turn in your suitcases. Of course, I try to make the entire flying situation as easy as possible, so I make sure to check-in online the day before the flight. If you’d like to make the experience easier, I suggest you do the same. I will admit that I do appreciate that airlines allow you to check-in online, because it does save some time on flight day. Then, after checking in, you have to make your way to the security checkpoint. Now I appreciate security because I know its pure purpose is to make sure we are safe when we fly. However, I feel like people forget how to be kind, compassionate human beings when they approach the security checkpoint. There’s just something about that specific location that turns everyone into emotionless robots. Even the most outgoing, friendliest person is negatively affected by the magic dust that seems to hang around this location. Airport employees and passengers alike—even those who love flying—demonstrate an attitude of stone coldness and an urge to get through the checkpoint as quickly as possible, even if this means losing all traces of humanity while doing so. And I can vouch for this. When I travelled to Pennsylvania, I was going to see a cousin I am very close to and hadn’t seen in over a year. Coupled with this was the knowledge that the flight was only three hours. I had given myself several pep talks before our departure; ranging from comments like “it’s only a three hour flight and then you have an entire weekend of relaxation, bonding and fun ahead of you” to “stop being so negative Trishna and thinking about everything that might go wrong. Just sit back and enjoy the journey.” With these pep talks I had arrived at the airport with the full intention of enjoying the flight; and then I arrived at security. When I arrived at the checkpoint, I had to deal with rude passengers and harsh security agents, and that slowly started to affect how I felt about the trip. Fast-forward to an hour later when I was sitting at my gate fuming about my experience, I was probably angrier than I should have been when I learnt the flight was delayed by two hours. And that experience also taught me that I need to learn how to prevent the actions and personalities of other people from having an effect on me. Furthermore, I’d also like to add that—if you are a security agent or have found yourself behaving in a less-than—polite manner in an airport setting—just know that I don’t believe your attitude to be your fault. There’s just something in the air around airport security checkpoints that, unfortunately, affects us all.
After you finally make it your gate, get on the plane and depart—hopefully, on time—you have to deal with the flight itself. Now, on many occasions, flights I have been on have gone off without a hitch. I have been able to sit back, relax, enjoy some music and endure the light turbulence that is bound to take place on every flight. If every flight was like that, I’d even learn to enjoy the idea. Unfortunately, this is not the case. And sometimes flyers have to deal with inconsiderate passengers, discomforts (especially on longer flights) and turbulence that makes you think you are going to fall right out of the sky. And the only way to get through that it is to distract yourself. Suggestions I have for distracting yourself on long, uncomfortable or anxiety-inducing flights are to read, watch movies or television shows, listen to music, sleep or talk to people. I find that I enjoy flying a lot more when I don’t think about where I am or what I am doing. I try to take it in the manner that, yes I am flying, but I’m just going to watch this movie and forget everything and hopefully that will result in a positive experience.
Despite all of my thoughts about flying, it’s just something I have to learn to endure because the majority of my family live in locations that one cannot drive too. So my only options are to take the steps to make my flying experience as easy and fun as possible, or to never set foot on a plane again and risk not seeing relatives for years on end. Personally, I prefer the former.
If any of you enjoy flying, I’d really love to hear why. Because, honestly speaking, I wish I liked flying. I think it would make my life much easier.