Monday, March 12, 2007

Plane Peril

Have you ever been in the mood to blog only to discover your mind void of bloggable chatter? Such is this moment in my life. Wanna blog. Got nuthun. Oh, except for escaping death at 300 miles per hour by mere inches yesterday. Other than that, nuthun. Let me round out the details for you just in case you care and I know you do. Why else would you be here day in and day out if you didn't love the Phatgirl?

I took a flight to Portland yesterday because my younger brother (younger of two brothers but both older than me thank you very much) is getting married this week and I'm the flower girl. Okay, I'm not the flower girl. It's just fun to imagine myself in a frilly pink dress with ruffles, mary jane's with lacey ankle socks and little white party gloves. Oh wait, that's my Easter outfit. Nevermind. Back to my near death experience.

We were just about to land in Portland, the landing gear was lowered, the engine slowing for the last minute of descent, the lights in the cabin dimmed, tray tables and chairs in an upright and locked position, and random passengers grabbing for their bags to have their cell phones at the ready, forbid that they keep them off one minute longer than required by air traffic safety regulations. We were (and I'm making every effort to not exaggerate in some cheap attempt to over-dramatize the actual events) THREE INCHES from touching down on the runway when the pilot lifted the nose of the plane, pushed the pedal to the metal and tore us back into the sky at a rather severe Movie-of-the-Week angle. For a moment more than I feared the possibilities of a plane crash I feared that the second glass of Diet Coke and the bottle of water I drank had been a tragic mistake. Do I need to spell this out for you or do you have a general sense of what I'm talking about?

The funny part and I use that word ever so loosely, were in those few minutes following the unexpected re-entry into the stratosphere and before the pilot explained to us what the heck was going on, we all found ourselves looking at the person next to us fully realizing that though their lips weren't moving they were in their head and heart in the middle of a rapid-fire conversation with the God of their understanding just as we were. Nothing like a hearty dose of fear to bring Jews and Christians and Muslims and agnostics all together in communal prayers and supplications. My own went something along the lines of "Oh God, I beseech thee now to hearken onto me, your faithful daughter and servant Anita. It's been a really great life and I want to take this moment to personally tell you of my deep gratitude for your blessings O Lord. Please comfort and draw close to those I love as I now prepare to enter into your presence with humility of spirit and thankfulness of heart. Amen."

Or was it more like "God, HELP!!!" ? My memory is so fuzzy on details.

What I do remember with crystal clarity is that when the pilot was finally able to break away from his decaf skinny latte and call to his wife to see if she wanted him to pick up anything at the local Piggley Wiggley on his way home, he informed us that another plane that had just landed before us on our runway was going so slow that we had to pull up at the last minute to avoid the unlikely risk of making contact with the other plane. It seems that when a Chevy Chevette makes contact with the back end of a Ford Tarsus at a stop light it's called a fender bender but when the same occurs between two landing Boeing 737's it's a whole different ballgame.

One more detail I think I should mention, not for your benefit but for mine since I really need to just get this off my chest so that the healing can begin...when the pilot was explaining what had just taken place he had used the expression "during our first attempt at landing..." and then he went on to say something about our upcoming "second attempt." Have you ever looked up the word attempt in the dictionary? Well save yourself the time because I've done the research and the definition is, "to try to do something, especially without much expectation of success" and the synonyms offered included "take a crack at, make a stab at, take a shot at, give it a go." I'm not making this up people and maybe you're all just fine with this but personally, I don't take a lot of comfort in the idea that my pilot is going to TRY and land the plane that I happen to be occupying. I need a little something more than "This is your Captain. We are now approaching the airport and I'm going to take a stab at landing this bad boy so hang on!" I require a modicum of conviction from those who hold my life in their hands. I wanna hear the squeak of the cabin speakers followed by "This is your Captain, and I'm going to land this plane on a silver dime I had the ground crew toss in the middle of the runway and if I miss it by so much as a centimeter drinks are on me!"

Oh, and I'll save the story about the girl and the barf bag for another time.

As I said, I got nuthun to blog tonight. Nuthun.


Steve said...

OMG...That's some scary stuff!
I think I'll drive to Eugene.

Run Momma Run said...

I guess this means you'll be renting a car and taking the scenic route back home in a few days?

Anita said...

And miss out on the chance of providing my blog peeps with yet another harrowing near death encounter to read? I think not.

Marathon Mom said...

Anita - that was the funniest thing I have read in a long time. I had to read it to B out loud because she was busy in the kitchen fixing supper....but we laughed and laughed at all that you wrote! NOT that it was a funny experience by no means...I know it scared you to death....and we are all glad you are ok.....but you are one funny phatgirl!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am sure pilots are limited in their profanity, sarcasm and sardonic remarks. As everything they say is taped.
Surprisingly restrained and modest in his communication, yet quite capable of inflexion.
As a minister, I am surprised by the lack of commitment on your part to praying for this man for the rest of your life.

Anita said...

Okay, I'm game. I'll buy a vowel for 100.

Anonymous said...

Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man...landing is the first!