My First Time Flying, As Told By A Guy Who’s Deathly Afraid Of Flying

This is the story of a guy who is deathly afraid of flying, who just recently went on a trip from Ontario, Canada to Turkey. This guy may or may not be my younger brother. I am so proud of him for doing this, he doesn’t even know.


I hate flying. I’ve strategically avoided it now for thirty years. I am not big on heights, or enclosed spaces, or loss of control either, which makes total sense, given my fear.

Before going to Turkey – the reason for which I won’t get into here – I spent a lot of time watching cockpit views of planes taking off on YouTube. I watched passenger views of planes taking off, and passenger views of planes flying over oceans. I watched a bunch of videos like this, all the while, trying very hard not to convulse or shit my pants.

The trip consisted of four plane rides in total – two there and two back. Why not start with something shorter, you might wonder? I don’t know. This is just how it all worked out. What were the “highlights” of my first time flying? Not sure I’d use that term, but there were a few babies – one that screamed non-stop for eight hours. OK, I’m exaggerating – the baby only screamed like it was being murdered for SEVEN hours straight. While not ideal, at least it distracted me from thinking about the speed of the plane, or the altitude of the plane, or the fact that the plane could split in half and plunge into the ocean at any second.

To be honest, I wasn’t even sitting right beside the couple with their small wailing child. The lady next to me was, rocking back and forth with her head between her knees. I was trying to watch Step Brothers with my headphones on, popping Lorazepam and ordering champagne, which, for some reason, turned into a nearly choking foam as it slid down my throat.

I was told specifically by my parents, my doctor, and by the Shopper’s Drug Mart prescription information sheet, NOT to mix the pills with alcohol. But you know, what doesn’t kill you – evidently – makes you slightly more exhausted and borderline hallucinatory.

And then there were the “videos” – the ones that demonstrated how to use an oxygen mask if the plane ever had to make an emergency landing, the ones that showed how to get off the plane and board that small rubber dingy in the middle of the ocean, though I highly doubted that a plane could land gently on the water. I imagined it more like a explosion of metal and body parts.

My First Time Flying, As Told By A Guy Who's Deathly Afraid Of Flying | TheFurFiles

I also remember, at some point during one of the flights, all the attendants just disappearing. I got this very distinct and unsettling “see ya later” vibe. And then everyone started getting up and running amok on the plane.  Of course, you can’t really “run amok” on a plane, so it was more like people just standing around near me, in front of me, blocking my exit in case I needed to escape, or get to the bathroom to have a nervous breakdown.

One last thing – on the trip from Paris to Toronto, some guy had a heart attack. Yep, there I was, shakily writing in my lovely journal, when I heard someone say, “Is there a doctor on board?”

Immediately, I thought the worst. “Holy shit, is the plane going down?” I started panicking. “And what good is a doctor going to do?”

Then someone said, “Some guy’s having a heart attack.” Whew. Better him than me, I figured. I had enough problems to worry about, like the plane landing unexpectedly and quite violently in the MOTHERFUCKING OCEAN.

When we finally touched down, we had to wait about twenty minutes for the paramedics to get Mr. Heart Attack off. At last – given the green light to disembark – we walked down the ramp, all of us passing the poor guy just lying there on a stretcher puking his guts out. And it was right after they’d said, “Thanks for flying Air France.” Perfect.

I guess the point of my story is that I got to where I needed to go, and now I am back. And I am alive. I didn’t die. So yay, planes. And yay, jetlag. And yay, being made to look like some freak for ordering a gluten-free plane meal. Can I help it that I break out in hives if I eat wheat, and that they brought my food out first and then didn’t feed anyone else for another twenty minutes?

I’m not sure I’m ever going put myself through that God awful torture again, though I might reconsider if someone wanted to give me a free trip to Las Vegas.

Some Advice From Me To You – And I AM You, Only Older

Dear 20-year-old me,

You’re a rebel. I get it. You shaved your head and dyed it super blonde. You think you’re cool, don’t you? Well, I’ve got a few things to tell you, and I think you should try listening for once in your life. You might learn something…

Some Advice From Me To You - And I AM You, Only Older | TheFurFiles

First, let me say that I think you are an intelligent, creative, sensitive, and compassionate person. You have the world in front of you, and you can do whatever you set your mind to. Don’t let anything or anyone ever stand in your way. Having said that, you must realize that timing is important in life. There will be instances when you will have to wait for stuff. Be patient. Decide what you want. Work toward getting it – work hard – and it will come to you. Also, you are allowed to change your mind about things. No one’s going to hold a gun to your head and say, “Hey, when you were ten, you said that you wanted to be a ‘Chuck E. Cheese dresser-upper’ – now you MUST keep your word.” On the other hand, if you are too fickle, you’ll never get anywhere. At some point, you need to decide on something, and go with it.

Second, you know that guy you are dating right now – keep him. He’s hot. He’s also smart, funny, ambitious, and extremely commitment-oriented. And he’ll age well. Have you seen his father? Seriously though, the fact that he sticks with what he starts will be important when life gets hard – like when you have teenagers and they are giving you attitude, like when you or someone you love gets sick, like when the universe is exploding. OK, so that last example is a little extreme, but you get what I’m saying. When the going gets tough, you want the tough to get going. You don’t want it to walk out the door, and leave you stranded.

And I know that you are eager to procreate with him – it must be hard to keep your hands on the outside of his clothes – but do yourself a favour, use condoms, and finish school first. I know you won’t, but be prepared for a tough road ahead trying to deal with babies while going to school full-time. How tough is it going to be? It’s going to be tough like trying to tie your shoes with pillows on your hands – it’ll be almost impossible. You may even quit before you are finished doing everything that you’d planned to do. Sure, there are perks to having kids at a young age, like by the time they move out – if they EVER move out – you’ll still have a good twenty years or so left to travel the world, and have wild “push me up against the wall” sex with that husband of yours. I’m not saying that you should wait until you are forty either. I just don’t think you need to rush.

Now, when those children DO come along – because oh, they will, and in quick succession – do what feels right for you. Everyone and their brother has an opinion about how to raise a child – don’t hold the baby so much, never allow children to sleep in your bed thereby forcing your husband to sleep on the floor, breastfeeding a three-year-old is kind or creepy, MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” isn’t really a lullaby. Screw everybody else. Go with your gut, and you’ll do fine. If it feels right, then it probably is. If it feels wrong, then tell your husband to stop doing it. Men always mess up. They wouldn’t know a diaper cover from a diaper liner.

Third, I want to remind you that you can’t change people, nor can you force them to do anything. You are responsible for you, and ONLY you. OK, you are responsible for your children as the grow – you need to make sure that they don’t get hit by cars, and that you feed and clothe them – but always remember that they are their own little people, who will grow into big people, who may or may not do things that you want them to. You should support them regardless. They will have their own lives to live, and unless they are off in a crack house somewhere getting high, you need to let them be free. Your parents did that for you, and it will someday be your turn to do that for them.

Fourth, I think it’s important to understand that – as a woman – you are equal to ANY man, and I mean ANY man anywhere ever. I know that you’d say you already know this, but there may be times – and people – who will try to make you feel that this is not the case. Those individuals are idiots. Ignore them.

Also, be proud of your body. It’s going to change, and sometimes it may not look exactly the way you want it to. You are who you are on the inside, and anyone who truly cares about you, won’t be looking at your thighs. So relax. Keep in mind though – and I don’t want to sound like crazy Tom Cruise or anything – but your body is your temple, and you need to respect it. Keep exercising and keep eating healthy. It is a commitment that you make to yourself – a commitment that you MUST keep. Sure, there will be times when you can’t do much – like when you are too tired to even keep your eyes open, because the baby was up all night screaming his bloody lungs out for no apparent reason – but stick with it. Continuity is truly the key. If you do, when you are sixty, you’ll look forty, and when you are ninety, you’ll look seventy. By then, it won’t make much difference, but whatever. Who wouldn’t want that? Also, do the same for your children. Make sure that they are active on a regular basis right from the get-go. This may sound silly and a little hardcore – and no, I’m not suggesting that you force your one-year-old to run laps around the park, though sometimes it could prove helpful – but I’ll tell you this: once you create a habit, it is much easier to maintain it.

Fifth, with regard to negative people – don’t associate with them if you can help it. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable, and then it’s up to you to stay positive. Granted, not everyone’s happy all the time, and in your relationships, you will discover that. But if someone is continually bringing you down, then it’s time to get out. Life is too short.

Sixth – and I know this list is getting long, but bear with me, I’m almost done – please understand that life won’t always be easy. Did I say that already? Well, it’s worth saying again, and again, and again. Don’t expect it. No one owes you a golden toilet. You want to be happy? You need to CHOOSE to be happy.

And finally, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a cat (or two or more) in the house. They are the best things on the planet. A dog wouldn’t hurt either. Pets are known to lower your blood pressure. But don’t get another gerbil. Sorry Thumper, but you were the most useless pet ever.


And if you liked that, you might like these…

Looking backward: What we’d tell our 20-year-old selves

Dear 20-Year Old Me

Happy Birthday, Twenty-Year-Old Me

Why Cats Are Better Than Everything Else In The Universe

Cats are better than cars, because sometimes cars run over people. Cats just sit on your lap. Even if they DID walk over you, it wouldn’t hurt.

Cats are better than grapes, because sometimes grapes gets stuck in your throat. A cat could never get stuck in your throat. They are too big.

Cats are better than trees, because trees just stand there. Sure they deliver precious oxygen to our environment, but cats are entertaining, at least. They run around, and some even play fetch. Plus, some can even be trained to go to the washroom on the toilet. Let’s see a Ponderosa Pine do that.

Cats are better than brownies and ice cream, because brownies and ice cream make you fat. Cats just make you happy.

Cats are better than lawnmowers, because lawnmowers can cut your toes off if you are not careful. The worst a cat could do is scratch you in the face, and that would probably be your fault.

Cats are better than the space station, because the space station is super far away. Cats are anywhere you want them to be, and even in some places you DON’T, like on top of the stove.

Cats are better than video games, because video games tend to be violent and mind-usurping. Cats actually make you smarter – they are challenging like that.

Cats are better than my rear end, because my rear end has some cellulite on it, and it isn’t as firm as it used to be. Cats are covered in fur, and you can’t see their cellulite, if they have any, which they probably don’t. They are just beautiful, majestic creatures who should be revered by all. Except for my friend Carla, who doesn’t like cats. I’ll forgive her – she likes dogs, which is better than nothing.

Cats are better than Pluto, because Pluto isn’t even a real planet – it’s a “dwarf planet”.  Cats are cats no matter what.

Cats are better than the show The Bachelor, because on The Bachelor, no one is guaranteed to find love. If you have a cat, I can GUARANTEE that you will find hair on most of your clothes, especially the black ones.

Cats are better than Kentucky Fried Chicken, because Kentucky Fried Chicken will give you a heart attack. Cats will sometimes bring you dead rodents and birds as gifts, but that’s just gross. You won’t be dead.

Cats are better than the Olympics, because the Olympics only happen once every two years, alternating between the winter and the summer games. If you own a cat, it will likely ALWAYS be there, controlling you, making you talk to it in baby voices, and coercing you to give up the best chair in the house for it to sit on. They are like little four-legged cult leaders, and you – YOU will inevitably become their devoted follower. That’s just the way cats work.

Cats are better than microwaves, because microwaves – though they heat up food really fast – also emit radiation. Cats just purr, and it’s actually soothing.

Cats are better than than high-heeled shoes, because even though high-heeled shoes make your legs look longer, they will eventually wreck your feet. Cats will curl up ON your feet and keep them warm. They are like living slippers.

Cats are better than the movie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra because even though Channing Tatum was pretty cute in it, the movie was fairly moronic. Cats are not moronic at all. They are the ninth smartest creature on the planet.

Cats are better than Charlie Sheen because what isn’t?

Why Cats Are Better Than Everything Else In The Universe | TheFurFiles

Cats are definitely better than Facebook, because Facebook, if used improperly – like if someone posts naked pictures of you kissing a stripper – can get you into a whole lot of trouble with your girlfriend. A lot of girls actually LIKE cats, and if you have one, you will be considered a much better catch.

Cats are even better than sex, because although sex gives you pleasure, it also makes you sweat. There is no sweating involved in owning a cat, except when you go to the vet and they give you the bill. It doesn’t matter though. The pleasure derived from owning a cat far outweighs ANY drawbacks.

And finally, cats give meaning to life, which is really, what we are all looking for in the end. “In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him” – Derek Bruce.

The Medium-Sized List Of Firsts: Life Partially Explained

In life, everything happens for the first time only once. That’s what makes it a “first time”. Here is a list of the more important items, each with a brief explanation…

You are born – It’s only going to get more complicated from here.

First word – Forget things like “mama”, “dada”, or the ever-popular “no”. Go for something exotic like “defenestrate”. You’ll sound smarter. BTW, it means to throw a thing or a person out a window.

First taste of real food – It’ll probably be something like mushed-up banana. Don’t worry, things like brownies and homemade lasagna will come later.

First steps – It may take you a few tries to get going, and you’ll probably stumble and smash your head on the coffee table at some point, but don”t give up, it DOES get easier.

First tooth – You’ll probably slobber and cry about your aching gums for weeks before it arrives – with no other way of conveying just how much agony you are actually in – but suck it up. You can’t stop it. Besides, you’ll need this tooth for later so you don’t end up looking like this guy…

First play date – If you are lucky, one of your parents or your babysitter will take you somewhere so that you can socialize with other small, dirty, whiny, “gimme it’s mine” rapscallions. You will undoubtedly be forced to colour, play fake musical instruments, and bang blocks with small hammers. Enjoy it while you can. It’s probably going to be the most fun you’ll have for the next eighty to ninety years.

First day at school – Prepare to cry and hold onto your mother’s leg. You won’t want to let go. It won’t matter though, because your teacher will drag you down the hall by the arm anyway as that sweet “mama” of yours jumps into her car and speeds away. Once she’s gone, you will be forced to sit in a circle with about twenty-five other kids your age, singing songs, playing silly games, and eating “snack”. Eventually, you’ll surrender.

First time tying your own shoes – Use the “bunny hole” rhyme. It may sound creepy, but it works. It goes like this – “Bunny ears, bunny ears, playing by a tree. Criss-crossed the tree, trying to catch me. Bunny ears, Bunny ears, jumped into the hole, popped out the other side, beautiful and bold.”  When you are older, you’ll laugh about how stupid you sounded.

First time making your own lunch – Peanut butter or ketchup on bread, how hard can that be?

First “A” on a test – if you want this to happen, you will actually have to study for it. Praying won’t do you a damn bit of good. God wants you to be responsible.

First celebrity crush – We all have one, just please don’t let it be Jim Morrison. He’s dead. It would be such a waste of brain space.

First dance – Hands on hips/shoulders, robot around in circles, and try to ignore the fact that your partner smells like body odour. You probably do too. You’ll both learn to clean yourselves better as you move through those awkward teenage years.

First kiss – This will likely be very mechanical and sterile. You may bump heads, and you could even bump teeth. Either one would be horrifyingly embarrassing for someone your age.

First day of high school – You are going to be nervous, but relax, you’ll be fine. With a bit of luck, none of the grade twelves will dump anything on you in the cafeteria at lunch, or pull down your pants in the hall when you’re not looking.

First “real” kiss – Hopefully, you won’t be drunk for this one. Enjoy the tenderness and the full-on lip and tongue contact. Use your hands to explore your partner’s body – feeling someone up is all part of the experience – but remember to stay on the outside of their clothing or risk getting a huge slap in the face, or a knee to the groin, or both. This only applies if you are a guy kissing a girl. If you are a girl kissing a guy, do whatever you want. Guys usually take whatever they can get, even if it makes them man-whores.

First job – Be prepared for bad money and shitty hours. Almost 100% guaranteed that you’ll be slaving over a grill somewhere for minimum wage, working evenings and weekends. If your dad knows someone however, you MAY get a cushy job cutting the grass at a golf course.

First time having sex – Like your first kiss, this will probably be very sterile, not at all like a Blake Lively sex scene. In/out, in/out, in/out – it won’t last long, and you’ll be wondering what all the fuss is about.

First orgasm – THIS is what all the fuss is about. Guys seek it over almost anything. Girls use it to get what they want. It makes life bearable.

First love – This could happen early or late in life. It’s hard to say. Some people never find it. Others become addicted to it. You’ll know it’s happened when you willingly move in with someone who has five Rottweilers and you are deathly allergic to dogs. Reactine should help.

First day of college/university – Remember one thing: anything lower than 50% will get you kicked out of school and sent back home. Think about this in a month from now when you are shitfaced for the thirtieth day in a row, and you haven’t gone to class yet.

First time failing an exam – Is anyone surprised?

First trip to Jamaica – As you can see by the picture below, you buy a really “douchey” bathing suit because that’s what you figure people wear down there. Boy, are you wrong.

The Medium-Sized List Of Firsts: Life Partially Explained | TheFurFiles

First car – There’s a 99.99 % chance that it WON’T be a BMW. You’ll be lucky if it doesn’t light on fire within a year or two of you buying it. Envision a green Ford Pinto. It won’t get much better than that.

First time getting married – It’ll be sweet. Stressful yes, but still sweet. You’ll want it to be a huge celebration with all your friends and family so you can declare your love for your partner – whom you plan to be with for the rest of your life – in front of the entire world. Yeah, that “being together for the rest of your life” part may or may not transpire. You have a 50% chance of making it. You’ve been warned. For second, or subsequent weddings, just do it at the Justice of the Peace, and wear something from Mark’s Work Warehouse. That way you can reuse the clothes, and you’ll have saved enough money to spend later on separate vacations when you and your spouse can’t stand each other’s guts anymore. Be advised: you can hate someone’s guts one day, and not hate their guts the next.

First time giving birth – This won’t be easy. It’ll be worse than your worst nightmare. Unless you are in that 1% of people who claim to feel no pain – and they are either inhuman or liars – you’ll think you are going to die. Don’t worry, you’ll (probably) survive. And after, you can forget about getting a good night’s sleep for the next fifty years or so. Bon Jovi gets it right – “You can sleep when you’re dead.” You won’t have much choice. Subsequent births won’t get any easier either. In fact, they usually happen faster, and the babies are often bigger and harder to expel.

First time being a parent – Again, this won’t be easy. It’ll be worse than your worst nightmare. You’ll be tired and cranky most of the time. It’ll involve a lot of barf and poop, in the beginning anyway. As the years go by, you’ll become more and more bitter about your relationship. When will there be time for just you? Sure, there is some joy in being a parent, but it’s sort of like a needle in a haystack, or an honest politician. It exists, it’s just hard to find sometimes a lot of the time. When you do find it though, it’s like a bloody miracle.

First time being cheated on – You’ll be angry and extremely hurt when you discover this. Hopefully, it won’t involve your sister or brother.

First time your partner sleeps on the couch – Don’t go sucking up to them, trying to get them to come back to bed. Let it happen. He probably deserved it.

First time getting a divorce – If you fail at marriage, it’s OK. There are things called “step families” these days. You CAN get a replacement life. They are usually pretty dysfunctional, but hey, what isn’t?

First time getting a mammogram or having your prostate checked – Never ever fun, but well worth it. Just have a couple of beers or a bottle of wine before you go in, and it might be somewhat enjoyable. Don’t flirt with the doctor or technician though. They wouldn’t be able to respond. It goes against their code of ethics.

First grandchild – So much better than your own kid. You can enjoy the hell out of them, feed them Popsicles with red dye, and then send them whirling back home.

First heart attack – This will happen earlier if you eat a lot of red meat and ice cream, if you chain smoke, and if you never exercise. What you do is up to you. Depends on how you want to live. Do you want to have fun, or do you want to prolong the strict regimentation?

Death – It’s over, and there’s no going back. Someone may want to keep your ashes, or visit your grave once a year. The guys at the cemetery will surely drive over your plot with a lawnmower every two weeks or so. Unless you are someone like Sylvia Browne, this “death” thing will only happen to you once, so make the most out of life while you can.