Thursday, April 16, 2015

Up in the air ...

*** I have a webpage in progress ***

I so dreaded Monday long before it ever arrived.
It's nit that I ever wake up and say, "Oh boy!  It's Monday." 

This last Monday was my trip to Dallas ... the day I would need to face some of my fears.  The hardest part of the day was getting out of car when the bus pulled up to take me away.  Every fiber of me wanted to cry, but I couldn't.

I couldn't because the bus is from the company I work for and the only passengers were my manager, a supervisor and manager from another facility close to ours.

I couldn't because the fear was beginning to weigh me down like a bag of sand being dumped into my mind ... slowly ... a few grains at a time.

My manager knew I was nervous ... she helped a lot by joking with me, but also by walking me and the other supervisor through the airport process every step of the way.

First hurdle - We arrived at the airport security checkpoint.  I handed the gentleman my license and my boarding pass.

He scans the ticket, looks at the name on the license and the name on paper ... looks at me, looks at my license ... at me, then the license.  Finally he handed me my documents.  "Have a nice flight."

Second hurdle - I put all my stuff in the bins at the second security checkpoint.  My items disappear into the machine on the conveyor belt and I waited to step into the body scan.

"Ma'am."  The guard on the far side gestured for me to step in.  "Place your feet on the marks and raise your hands."

I stumbled as I stepped out of the booth.  Another guard approached me and ran her hands across my shoulders and the under my breasts.  "Thank you.  Have a nice day," she said.

As we put our shoes on my manager said, "That was the first time I've gotten a boob check like that."

"Me, too."  I laughed a little.  

I began to relax for a moment.  Getting past security was a big concern and it went very well, even with the friendly groping by the TSA officer.

Third hurdle - There were other managers and supervisors from different bus yards in the area waiting for their flights.

Waiting ...

Nothing to do but think ...

And wait ...

Talking with the friends from the other facilities helped a little, but not enough to completely distract me.

"Man ... I'm going to tell you what."  A supervisor from another facility leaned forward on his chair.  "I'll probably break the armrests off during the flight.  Feel sorry for whoever is next to me.  That's how nervous I am right now."

I hadn't mentioned how uptight I was ... I was likely pretty obvious, but I hadn't said it to the group.  "We'll see who screams first," I replied.

"It'll be me ... it'll be me," he said.

We all laughed for a while,

And then ...

and then more waiting ...

The flight was going to be delayed for almost an hour and the anticipation was building at an exponential rate.  

It was time for a Xanax.  This is why my doctor prescribed them.

I've taken Xanax before, so I know it's not a magic pill.  It doesn't really eliminate the stress at all ... it's more like it numbs the brain a little so the anxiety doesn't overwhelm me.

Fourth hurdle - Our flight was called to board.  I walked into the very small tube that led to the jet.  My manager was behind me ... I'm not sure if it was for support or to make sure that I didn't turn around and run.
But I wouldn't run ...

I needed to do this ...

Not just for my job, but for me.

At one point the jet bridge shifted.  I knew it would do this, but it still made me pause a moment ... unfortunately it was also the section where the hall goes from narrow to seemingly tiny.

Like a scene out of a horror movie the walkway stretched further into the distance while squishing tighter and tighter around me.

"Almost there, Tiffie ... almost here."  I concentrated on my breathing.  "A few more steps ... c'mon girl."

Fifth hurdle - I sat in my seat and stared out the window ... well, played with the seat belt, fidgeted with my cellphone, grabbed my little video camera, twirled my hair, sipped my Sprite, adjusted the vents to blow air on me, and all the while tried to focus on my breathing.

It seemed like just a minute later they were announcing that we were getting ready to takeoff.

Now all I needed to worry about was sitting still for three hours, possibly getting airsick, whether my claustrophobia would get worse and if I could think about other things to worry about.

The flight ... well, it was totally uneventful.  Between my music and the pictures I took I kept myself preoccupied.  When we got to Dallas Fort Worth it didn't seem like it had been very long.

I can't say I thoroughly enjoyed the flight ... it was crowded, not really comfortable, there was a crying baby across the aisle from me, we hit a little turbulence ... ... 
The conference I was heading to Texas for went well, but it is really not a part of this story.

I am proud of myself for this trip ... I feel a little like a young child who is bragging about learning to ride a bike, or rolling a strike in bowling, but this was an accomplishment and I am happy with myself.  

The pictures are just a few of the dozens I took ... the video is the takeoff from DFW.