Tuesday, March 20, 2007

People, Do Your Jobs....Well

During the past few years I have developed a terrible fear, and that is the fear of flying.

Now I love to fly. I do. I've dreamt of flying since I was a little girl. I love to be up high. I even love the snow ski chair lifts at their detrimental heights with only a bar in between you and the free fall down to certain death. I love parasailing. I love rock climbing. I love repelling. I've never bungee jumped but I want to someday. Not so sure about parachuting from a plane, but you get my drift.

I've been flying since I was tiny. I remember being on a very crowded plane when I was about 5 years old, maybe 6. It was storming that night and for some reason I had to sit across the aisle from my mom, next to this tall, burly type wearing a cowboy hat. We were in the back of the plane, and I had an aisle seat, so I could see all the way up the aisle. A man with the shiniest bald head I had ever seen was sitting half way towards the front, in an aisle seat on the other side. I watched him call the flight attendant over and order a glass of water. And then, it being a very bumpy ride due to the storm, as the flight attendant handed him the glass of water, the plane made a sharp dip down at an incredible rate. The man's water, which was at this time being transferred from the flight attendant's tray into his hands, leaped up and SPLAT, right on the top of his shiny head. He chuckled as the water dripped down his very red face. I lost it from the back of the plane and started laughing so loud that the whole plane, including the bald man and my new cowboy friend, started laughing at me.

So, see, I didn't use to be afraid. I was laughing it up in the middle of a huge storm. Why now? Why do I find myself gripping the seat as we take off, praying....Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Oh Lord....over and over again. White knuckles. Eyes forward. Imagination going wild. Recalling the first episode of Lost when the plane suddenly RIPS in half and people are flying OUT INTO OPEN AIR. I imagine the breathing masks popping down from above, me reaching for the mask, gasping for air. I imagine the ground getting closer and closer, faster and faster. I imagine trying to call my husband as the plane is spiraling out of control to say my last good bye. I kid you not. Almost every time I fly now.

And this is why. I now know that every thing that operates correctly on this earth does so because people are doing their jobs. Excluding what only God can control, obviously. But everything that man has put into motion works well only when people are doing their jobs well. And what I've learned since entering the workplace is that people do not always do their jobs well. Therefore, why should I trust that pilot? I wasn't smart enough to know this as a little girl. But NOW, I'm intelligent enough to know that this guy could screw up. Sure, you can tell me that it's all computers, these planes nowadays. But that doesn't make it any better. Look what happened to the stock market a couple of weeks ago. And you could say like my percentage-speaking dad that "statistically considered, you are safer on a plane than in a car. There are more wrecks in cars than in planes." Well sure, but you don't automatically die if you're in a car wreck. Plus, there are millions of more cars than planes so statistically speaking, of course that's true.

I'm sorry, but this is just the truth. The moral of the story: Let's all make sure we do our jobs well.

8 comments:

Chaotic Hammer said...

Yeah, I've got to admit that I don't enjoy flying nearly as much as I did when I was a kid, either.

Partly for the reasons you mention -- realizing how badly people slack off on their jobs, and then thinking about how many different people it takes to build, maintain, and operate all the systems involved. But also I think, because I have a much better grasp of the laws of physics than I did as a kid, and what is really involved in something that big and heavy becoming airborne.

And then there's the whole 9-11 thing, where you really never know if somebody on the flight has decided to put some explosives into a suitcase or something. It sure wouldn't be hard to get something past the security people. And so there we are again, back at people. All those people who are supposed to do a certain job, but are clearly not always dependable.

It doesn't matter that the fears are irrational, that doesn't stop them. My wife insists on sitting beside me on a flight (assuming I'm flying with her, which is usually the case), and always says "I love you," right before takeoff and landing, and holds my hand tightly (sometimes painfully tightly) during takeoff, landing, and turbulence -- so I know that she feels a lot like you do about it. But we don't really talk about it much, I guess it's just one of those things.

Lindsey said...

I am sooo with you on this blog. I HATE flying. Ever since 9/11, I have realized that things can happen to me. I could actually die in a plane crash.
I am alway more afraid when I am flying home from a great gig or a competition b/c I feel like, "Okay, I could die now b/c one of my dreams has come true." Is that crazy?
I also agree that people need to do their job well. It's like that pilot who picked a runway that was too short b/c he wasn't paying attention to mission control, so everyone died on the plane. He obviously did not do his job well at all.
Also, driving is less scary to me b/c I am more in control of the car. I have no control in a plane, and I have to hope the pilot is doing their job well. Thank goodness I don't have to fly again until May (3 times).
:(
...I hope this made sense b/c I am writing and watching American Idol at the same time...

Seth Ward said...

People people people. Get thyself a grip.

My computer could electrocute me. The big black man downstairs could rape and stab me.

Fear. Conquer it. But carry pepper spray for the sake of your husbands. Espcecially you Lindsey the New-Yorker BTW, did you hear about the guy going around punching old women in the face and robbing them????

FancyPants said...

C-Ham and Linds: Ya know, I wonder if this fear has more to do with 9/11 than I realize. Because come to think of it, the fear was prominant only after 9/11. But you're right C-Ham, that goes back to people, too. I don't know how many times I'll go through security wondering if the security guys have actually stopped a bomb or knife or whatever from going through.

Linds: I've wondered before if something I did today is my ticket to heaven. Like, God was just waiting for me to do that one thing, whether it be my dream, or helping the lady cross the street, and my time's up. Weird.

Seth: Well, Mr. I-Have-A-Grip, I'm glad you are so fearless. You can be the person fighting the intruder with a bat while I hide under the bed. But really, you're right. Fear is what holds us back, and we have to overcome. So I'll keep flying, and you keep me safe at night.

Lindsey said...

Seth,
Hahaha, yes I have heard/seen the guy who punches old ladies in the face! It is horrible. I am not laughing b/c he is doing it, I am laughing b/c you mentioned it. Does that even make sense...hmmm. But, can we really compare plummeting to your death from thousands of feet above ground to a crazy man possibly punching me for $10 when I am 100 years old? I think not. I am trying to get better about having fears for things I can't control, but I am a major control freak so it will take some time.

Lindsey said...

Seth,
Hahaha, yes I have heard/seen the guy who punches old ladies in the face! It is horrible. I am not laughing b/c he is doing it, I am laughing b/c you mentioned it. Does that even make sense...hmmm. But, can we really compare plummeting to your death from thousands of feet above ground to a crazy man possibly punching me for $10 when I am 100 years old? I think not. I am trying to get better about having fears for things I can't control, but I am a major control freak so it will take some time.

Baca's Head said...

I kept thinking of a few lines of this song by a band I've been into lately when I read this blog. Here they are:

"Death is the only thing that makes us alive,
Forcing focus on light that we hold inside.

We are volcanoes, levels of light.
We’re bleeding an ocean of permanent life.
The blush of our anger could bury the sun,
But the pulse of untamable progress has begun.

Death is the only thing that makes us alive,
That brings us to life."

I love it!!! What do ya'll think?

FancyPants said...

Hey I think I listened to this today! I finally got a chance to check 'em out. Sleeping At Last right?

I really liked the band. Very Radiohead-ish. I didn't download anything yet, but I liked...I think it was "Quicksand" alot.

So after staring at those lyrics for some time...I like them. Ironic truths. Cool imagery.