Posts Tagged ‘fear of flying’

An American in Paris II Oct 30-Nov 3rd

November 1, 2009

Here I am in Paris, in the city of lights, surrounded by thousands of years of history and miles and miles of beautiful landscapes and monuments, and I find myself in Starbucks. You can take the girl out of America, but… What can I say? I longed for some familiarity- in any form. Even though the Baristas speak French and they serve pancakes drenched in nutella, but still. On my last day in Paris, I roamed around the city afoot once again, and saw the Pantheon. Well, I saw the outside of the Pantheon. I was going to attempt a fake British accent and claim to be a EU citizen under 20 to get in for free, but decided against it at the last minute. I wasn’t sure they’d believe I was a EU citizen. I then went and took a stroll through the Luxembourg Garden, which wasn’t much of a garden as its name would have you believe. I was hoping for more flowers. Nonetheless it was lovely watching the little French children floating their toy sailboats along the famous pond, and looking at all the fall colored leaves that enveloped the park’s trees.  Along the way to the garden, as I often do, I stopped a local on the street to ask for directions. My latest victim turned out to be a very nice native Parisian who offered to walk me to the gardens himself. I accepted. He asked me where I was from. When I told him New York, he expressed his love for the city and for its open-mindedness. When I asked him to expand on this, he explained that he believed that in NY, as opposed to Paris, one can walk down the street as they like, wearing what they like, and nobody would judge. Whereas in Paris, one was constantly being judged for his appearance and fashion sense. He said he wished Parisians would be more like NYers! Interesting point of view I thought.  Straight from the Parisian’s mouth.  Well, my time in Paris unfortunately had to come to an end and it was time to fly to London to catch my flight back to the states. Au Revoir Paris, we shall meet again! As I waited on line to check in at Charles de Gaulle airport, I found myself chatting with a nice little french guy, who  asked me to join him for coffee while waiting for our flight. Since we had time to kill and he seemed like a nice enough fellow, I said why not. The conversation was going ok- well, from what I could make out through his incredibly thick french accent- until I realized I must have missed a subject change. He was rambling: “I have come to realize the goal of life. And what I realized is that the goal of life is death. And now that I know that this is the purpose of life, I am no longer afraid to die. For example, if our plane crashes tonight…”  This was about the point where I interrupted him and excused myself while I popped an extra xanax. I was just beginning to overcome my debilitating fear of flying and this was not helping!! I explained my fear to my new friend and politely asked him to refrain from using the word ‘crash’ until we safely landed. He chuckled, apparently not realizing my seriousness in the matter, and continued his rant. Watching me nervously grip the armrest while I mentally flew the plane, he assured me, “Don’t worry. Nothing’s going to happen. And anyway, if we do crash, it’ll probably happen so fast that you won’t even feel a thing!”  “OKAY, YOU HAVE TO GO NOW!!”, I finally snapped. “What?”, my clueless friend asked. “You need to move. You  need to move your seat, now.” As I closed my eyes to block him out and let the xanax in, I let my mind wander back to the question that I keep asking myself over and over again: How do they find me??

Guernsey, Channel Islands

June 12, 2009

I woke up the next morning forgetting where I was. ‘Oh, that’s right’, I recall.  ‘I’m in England!’  I sleep until noon, have a lovely English breakfast and miss my ferry to Guernsey! The next one wasn’t until the following day. But no worries, I could just hop on the next flight out. And I did- on a little plane….with little propellers right outside my window…with no Ambien.. and I wasn’t scared. Maybe I am getting over my fear of flying? So I arrived in Guernsey, a quaint little sleepy island on the English Channel, between England and France, where the maximum speed limit is 35mph and the people greet you with hugs. My friend Maria met me at the airport and we did some food shopping and then we finally arrived at the animal sanctuary. By the time we arrived it was late and most of the animals had already gone to bed, but I got to meet several of the house pets- a big fluffy beautiful cat named Marmite, and a great dog named Maisy. And the birds. Oh, there is a Macau here that curses. They don’t curse at the sanctuary but apparently his previous owners must have, as the bird’s favorite thing to say is, ‘ F off’… with a British accent of course. The little farmhouse where I’m staying looks more like a little English cottage- or what you would imagine a little Engish cottage to look like. Its absolutely adorable. Maria is staying in the guest house next door, so we decided to cook dinner in her kitchen. By the time we ate, it was still light out, but we realized it was close to 9:30pm! I learned it doesn’t get dark until 10pm or so here. So, after dinner we chatted for a while, catching each other up on our adventures thus far. We then called it a night and agreed to meet outside at 7am the following morning for a run. We’ll see.