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Not So Friendly Skies

When you've fought for your life, nobody is sympathic to the little traumas in life.

It’s nice to be alive. No really, it is.  I cannot complain to the boyfriend about near misses and mid-air flight turbulence drama because he simply does not believe me anymore.  He thinks I am ‘wigging’ out in his words, or when I fly I’m, ‘tightly wound’. 

Tell that to the Lufthansa crew who, along with my colleague Jonesy, experienced the worst turbulence of our lives last night.  Just a few minutes into our flight from London to Munich, as I was stretching out across three empty seats, there was a huge jolt.  

And then it got worse.  And worse.  And impossibly, even worse.  The plane, according to my work mate, felt like crinkled plastic.  I kept repeating six Gs, six Gs, six Gs, the amount of force that a plane is suppose to be able to endure, stress wise. Turns out, a fighter jet can take 10Gs but a plane should never be designed for what we endured.  The average human can endure 5 Gs prior to passing out.

I wish. 

I must be like those insane Top Gun pilots who can take so much more G forces than the average person because I never even got dizzy, just mildly, silently hysterical.   

Passing out would have been most helpful last night as we flew from London to Munich where I have plenty of friends and colleagues that I didn’t want to throw up in front of.  Surely, I thought, I would garner some sympathy from this near-death experience by calling the boyfriend and whining. Then I remembered that he thinks because I’ve fought cancer I have nothing to complain about and should feel lucky that I’m alive. 

Really?  It’s so unfair. 

I don’t expect anyone I love to coddle me when I travel, I know it’s a privilege and I know I’m lucky though I also think I’ve earned it by working so hard for so many years.  That being said, I don’t moan over jetlag and I carry all my own bags though Jonesy would like to claim otherwise I’m sure.  I take delays and crowded airports and even tiny hotel rooms in my stride but I do expect a little TLC when I mention the turbulence. 

Is it just me or is turbulence getting worse?  

It totally is getting worse or else I have the worst luck ever in flying. I must be subconsciously picking flights based on how bad the turbulence will be because I always get the flights where the crew says that it was the worst flight in all their many years of flying.  And this has happened many, many times to me.   

It didn’t, however, happen last night. The pilot actually thanked us for flying Lufthansa and remarked that he hoped we had a pleasant flight. 

Seriously?  Is that German pilot humor or was he just trying to get me to kick him in the shins as I exited the plane. Exiting was only the half of it. My colleague if possible, was whiter faced and paler than I was waiting for me. 

“You totally need to send me an email about what just happened,” I said as I swept past him. 

Naturally, he asked me why. “I need to document this with Bob,” I remarked.  “He never believes me about turbulence.” 

Our German colleague was very sympatric and kind but I suspect he thought, like Bob, that we were just being babies.  German engineering, planes, trains, automobiles, is honestly unsurpassed in the world.  Structurally, we probably could not have been in better hands. But it sure did not feel that way while clutching the seat and hanging on for dear life.   

We got to the hotel hours late and I discovered while watching the news that the UK had been experiencing unprecedented 65 mph winds (ground).  If the winds were that bad on the ground, what did we hit flying through UK airspace, I wonder. My colleague decided that he should consider retiring early to a small cottage in the middle of nowhere and play with a long stored train set.  

As for me, I’m still trying to figure out how to get back to the U.S. without having to board a plane. 

The RMS Titanic is sounding better and better.   

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