I’m not a great flyer.  The night before a flight, I barely get a wink of sleep, and I’m usually up a good hour before my alarm.  I’m always at the airport at least an hour before departure and, when I board, I grow increasingly anxious until, by the time plane is heading down the runway, my mind is racing, my palms are sweating, and my heart is jackhammering.  When we’re eventually airborne, however, I calm down considerably and remain relatively cool until we make our approach for a landing at which point its mind racing, palms sweating, heart hammering all over again.

Part of it stems from my notorious fear of heights (I even get nervous if someone I know steps out onto our balcony).  But a part of it stems from some weird family history.

Back in the days when he was courting my mom, my father would take the roughly one hour flight from Montreal to Toronto.  The same time, the same flight – week after week after week.  It was an unbroken routine – until the day my father, for whatever reason, missed that familiar flight.  And it’s a good thing he did because the one day he broke routine and arrived to the airport late was the day that flight when down, killing everyone on board.

My mother has never forgotten the incident and, every time my sister or I fly, she is always as anxious as we are (because my sister isn’t a particularly good flyer either.  Call it genetic.) .  And although I’m not one to put much stock on coincidences and strange synchronicities, I have to admit the prospect of a Final Destination-type scenario does find purchase in the back of my mind every single time I fly.

All this to say, I’m heading to Montreal for mom’s birthday tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Today’s Yes/No…

15 thoughts on “February 6, 2023: Fear of Flying!

  1. Wow Joe. Maybe distract yourself by … I don’t know what. I’m sure you’ve tried everything. But talking about it may help. I don’t recall hearing that story before.

    Happy Birthday to your mom! Is your presence going to be a surprise or is she expecting her son? Have a great trip! Think pleasant thoughts on the plane and breathe deep. When it’s your time – it’s your time. Worry changes nothing.

  2. If it’s any consolation, it’s still probably waaaaaay safer than driving on the 401 to, well, anywhere. You’ll be fine and say hi to your mom!

  3. Safe travels, Joe!

    As a commercial pilot’s* daughter, I was a fearless, frequent flyer in childhood. As an adult, my awareness of danger grew, so I’m a bit more apprehensive.

    *Dad’s colleague, who was also a friend and neighbor, perished in the 1964 Lake Ponchartrain, Louisiana, crash. Eight years later, I heard news of the Everglades crash on my bedroom radio and rushed downstairs to make sure Dad was home; he was “on reserve” that night.

  4. Happy Birthday to Mama Mallozzi. xo

    Odd, considering how frequently you’ve flown over the last couple decades, I don’t recall you ever mentioning a deeper level of anxiety about it. You always spoke instead about how much the puppers disliked it. Especially Bubba. When you were having to fly back n forth between Vancouver and Toronto for DM.

    Me, I’m the exact opposite. Heights don’t bother me at all. I used to hike to the peak of Colorado’s 14ers and stand at the very edge of cliffs looking down.
    I dearly miss those magnificent younger days.
    It’s driving that gives me severe anxiety.
    In fact, I’ve never bothered to obtain a drivers license because of it.
    Mind ya, I know ‘how to drive’ and used to drive our pickup when I lived in the forest.
    But only because I lived somewhere you were not likely to encounter another vehicle on the road at the same time and it was at certain times absolutely necessary to drive.
    Albeit, when friends offered me a chance to pilot their small airplane I eagerly jumped at it
    and absolutely loved it!! Enough that I accumulated 8+ hours flight time experience in that Beechcraft. I’ve also flown over the mountains in a glider and loved that, as well.
    I guess I take after my dad. He didn’t like to drive either and I don’t recall him even once getting behind the wheel.

    I Hate the discomfort and hassle of commercial flying though and try to avoid it
    as much as possible.

    Wishing you a safe flight just the same.
    At least you have never allowed your phobia
    to prevent you from doing it. – That is a genuine mark of true courage.

  5. I hope your flight goes well. Your fear of flying is completely understandable.

    Happy Birthday to your Mom!

  6. That is a scary family story, especiallyc ombined with fear of heights. I get why folks overimbibe on flights to calm nerves.

  7. Happy Birthday to your mom!

    I’m not afraid of flying, despite my fear of heights (or perhaps open, empty spaces). It just gives me terrible motion sickness.

  8. I, too, do not like flying (and I’m afeared of heights, as well). But…

    My fear of flying is more about not being in control. I flew when I was younger – went to Jamaica at 13, Hawaii at 16, and France/Italy/Switzerland at 17. I took Dramamine and was given a rum punch on that Jamaican flight (both ways) so I didn’t know a thing. For the next one, I was so excited about going to Hawaii that I really didn’t mind the flight there – but coming home? I started feeling a bit anxious and claustrophobic about being in the air in a metal tube for that long a time. Same with going to Europe, but it was the return flight that sealed it for me. Coming into the airport we had a bit of turbulence, it was the kind that makes the plane shudder violently, feeling like every nut and bolt would shimmy out and the plane would just fall apart in the air. I could see Long Island and houses and cars…and I just prayed that if that plane landed safely, I’d never fly again. And I haven’t. Truth be told, the idea of flying isn’t such a bad thing – it’s more the feeling of being trapped that I don’t like.

    Heights are a weird thing for me. I’m not sure if it’s actually that I am afraid of heights, or that I have vertigo issues when it comes to anything that involves depth perception. For instance, I can walk out on a high balcony, as long as there is a railing. But my knees lock up in frozen panic if I have to walk across a plank 8″ off the ground to avoid a mud puddle. 😛

    As for the question…I wouldn’t eat anything that – in my mind – sounds like ‘cow piss’. 😛


    1. This is why I always prefer to be asleep during take-offs and landings. And also when stepping out onto a balcony.

      1. Asleep when stepping out onto a balcony …. hmmm … one step too far and your over that railing!

    2. Oh man, we really need Das on Twitter to handle some of these Yes/No food questions!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 She’s too funny!

      1. I can’t figure out Twitter, and not a fan of Musk, so doubt I’ll show up there.

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