Shortly after 9/11, I had to fly half-way across the country; it was not a request, it was a requirement. It was business, not pleasure.
I was on a plane headed back to Louisiana; alone.
I did not have the window seat or the aisle seat; I was smack dab in the middle.
Ironically, I don’t remember the person sitting next to me on the left, but I have a vivid memory of the person seated on my right, next to the window.
As I boarded the plane and scanned the seats, I immediately felt a twinge of fear.
He was an older man with white hair. He was dressed all in white and wore leather sandals on his feet. I noticed his lap immediately.
On his lap he had a clear bag that contained sand.
As the plane filled with people and the door to the plane closed, there seemed to be a dilemma. The flight attendant announced that we had more people on the plane than we were supposed to have; one of those ‘extras’ was the older man with a bag of sand on his lap, sitting next to me. His name appeared to be Middle Eastern and the flight attendant had a difficult time pronouncing it.
My fear was starting to gain strength as recollections of recent events played in my head: the 4 planes that had been recently hijacked, ending in tragedy.
I had heard that some dress all in white to prepare for their upcoming death. I scanned the older man with white hair, dressed all in white, with a bag of sand on his lap.
The flight attendant made another announcement; she was looking for volunteers to get off the plane. Every fiber in me wanted to raise my hand and get the hell out of this situation that was not feeling right and yet, I did not raise my hand; I remained.
Looking back I have to admit that I am slightly embarrassed that I had a plan.
If that older man with white hair dared to get up, I planned to jump on his back and take him down. He would have to walk by me to get out to the aisle. I was little in frame, but he was old; the odds seemed to be fair.
I was determined that I would not die on this day.
There is a rationality that is sometimes lost in fear, say for example when you find yourself planning to jump on the back of an elderly man if he so much as moves out of his seat….
When the plane safely landed in Southern Louisiana, I realized that unfounded fear had just stolen two hours of my life. I thought long and hard about this experience with fear and really evaluated whether I was in real danger, or whether it was induced by something I did not understand or something that was different.
I believe that some fear is necessary, but sometimes fear is simply a waste of time and energy…
© LifeasChristine, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to LifeasChristine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.