I am on a private plane with Monique Lhuillier, headed to Nashville for a runway show. It is not as big as I would like for it to be; it seats about 6 people comfortably, 8 if anyone cared to sit in the 2 jump seats behind the pilots. Nearly every turbulent bump sends my head into my hands. “God, protect us and keep us safe…God, protect us and keep us safe…God…” This is a mantra I repeat over and over and over until the need to vomit reluctantly fades away. I developed this phrase when I was 13 and began flying regularly to Reno for family snowboarding trips. I am not certain that it makes me feel reassured but I am a creature of habit. I ate tuna for lunch every day for 3 years until I began to feel that the mercury was substantially hindering my cognitive functioning.
At times I feel a bit arrogant in willing the plane to stay in the air on my own account. “But I have so much more to do!” I think. I try to explain to myself that I am being completely irrational, that driving a car 50 to 60 miles a day puts me at a higher risk of premature death than flying does. But even then I argue with my calmer self that the statistic only holds if you are an occasional flier, which I am not. I’m airborne practically as often as my rubber meets the road. Many times I like to recall a few incidences in my life, mostly involving psychics or other knowledged persons, that reassure me that I will live to a ripe old age of…well, not right now. I think about the turban wearing gentleman in the Long’s Drugs parking lot who told me I would be famous and that I would die at 89. This prophecy does not entail me falling to my death in a blazing inferno. Another psychic recently predicted that there would be a script in 3 years that would inspire me to continue in that direction and would be quite big for me. And, here, I live again! But no matter how vividly I can recall these words, I break out into a cold sweat whenever the wind currents shudder my plane.
My least favorite ride was a cramped hell hole of a Delta experience from Newark to Fort Lauderdale. I was literally the only passenger under 65, aside from 3 grandchildren and someone’s caged parakeet. I couldn’t help but think that if God had some sick quota to fill under the “Freak Accident” category of human calamities, this plane would certainly be the easiest target. I survived that trip, as I have survived all others, but developed a strong distaste for the disintegrating body so much so that 89 might just be too long to wait.