Welcome to Darkside Daily

When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Can I Get Some Wings, Please?

Aerophobia, aviatophobia, aviophobia or pteromechanophobia - technical and tongue twisting ways to say the same thing - "I'm afraid to fly".

And who can blame you, if you are such a person. Flying is a terrifying act to us humans, who were specifically designed to patrol the earth and leave the skies and the seas to lesser creatures that haven't invented waste disposal yet. But no, thanks to the obsessive and persevering nature of the Orville brothers, we now have passenger planes of all shapes and sizes, helicopters, fighter jets, unmanned drones, Harry Potter - well the list is practically endless.

Now that we are in the 21st century (the magical century where all man's problems are expected to be solved at the push of the proverbial 'button') air travel has become as common place as other more 'down to earth' modes of transportation like buses, taxis and that age old favourite of mine - walking. But despite our familiarity with all things airborne, we have yet to discover a way to put to death our ancestral 'fear' of growing wings. Well that's not entirely true, we sort of have - but it includes terms like "cognitive behaviour therapy" and "systematic desensitization" which make it sound like one of the items planned for Osama's daily routine in Guantanamo bay.

Another method of treatment for this phobia is "hypnotherapy". Basically, if you can't step on an air plane without your heart rate ballooning to Hindenburg proportions, you have serious transmission problems upstairs.

So is this solely a genetic fear passed down from the first time some caveman hopped on the back of a Pterodactyl? Doubtful - much more likely is the sad history we humans have when we take to the skies. From the Hindenburg disaster back in the 1930's, all the way to last week when a passenger plane plowed into a house in New York, we still live in the happy delusion that travelling by air is the safest form of travel. Sure, that's what everyone tells us, but for the moment let us just pretend that bit of information is as credible as career advice from Paris Hilton.

Let us review this whole flying business and try to figure out where all the fear is coming from. Whenever I go through airports I am constantly on edge for a number of reasons. Will my bags be overweight? Are my documents in order? Does my passport picture look like me? Do I want veg or non-veg? Aisle or window? Is that a gun or is he just happy to see that Chanel ad? As for airport security, well, I have often mentioned before that I don't grouse the additional security, but when they pull out your water bottle and shake it in front of you with that smug look on their face as if they've just discovered plutonium, anyone's nerves would be shaken.

But the most fear inducing part of flying has to be the safety demonstrations. Let's be honest, when they show you how to buckle your seat belt, aren't you a little let down? Surely by now we would have devised something a little more 'Jetsons' and a little less 'Flintstones' than tying ourselves into the seat. Plus, the way the air hostess' slowly and carefully explain the process of buckling and unbuckling makes it look like they're giving you instructions on how to drive the lunar module. Then we move on to the life jackets. Seriously, has anyone ever seen a real life jacket that didn't have "Demonstration only" written on it? I've always been too scared to check in case I reach under the seat and pull out a yellow rain coat with "Haha Sucker!" written on it.

By this stage in the safety demonstration any sane man would be slightly uneasy, and so just to top it all off, they mention the abundance of emergency exits in the plane. But just when you think they'll finally give you a piece of comforting information, the hostess points in the general direction of the rear of the air plane and makes a sort of vague 'breast stroke' motion. Naturally, you turn around in your seat to see what she's pointing at, which as it usually turns out, is just row upon row of seats with equally confused passengers. Puzzled, you turn back to the hostess, only to see her now pointing in the opposite direction! Slowly, as the panic descends upon you, you try to raise your hand or get out of your seat to have a better look, only to be told firmly to 'buckle your seat belt, sir, we are about to take off'. But I don't want to take off! Not like this!

Naturally, I have a solution to all this. And it really is quite simple, if you think about it. When you're in a car, the safety mechanisms involved make sure that in a collision you are cocooned in an air bag, and that the body of the car absorbs as much of the shock as possible. Why? Because the most likely form of car accident is a collision, so there would be really no point in inserting a life raft under the steering, would there? Similarly, when you're in a plane, the most likely cause of death is plummeting to the ground while being strapped into the fuselage. Solution?


What? If fighter jets get to have an ejector seat, why can't they make one for passenger planes? Can you imagine the number of lives that would have been saved with this device? "Ladies and gentlemen, in case of engine failure or any other technical fault, please press the red button on your arm rest. You will be ejected into the atmosphere, after which a chute will automatically open so that you can drift safely down to earth while this metal tomb erupts in a ball of fire somewhere in the distance." Now that would give me some peace.

As for the technology, don't tell me we don't have it. The airline industries spend billions of dollars installing in-flight entertainment systems that allow us to watch movies, listen to music and play games; and really, what's the point in playing black jack with yourself as your aircraft falls to the ground faster than Lindsay Lohan on a wild weekend?

"Oh, 15! Hit me!"

If the electronic 'dealer' doesn't, rest assured the fast approaching ground definitely will.


Spice said...

I've always been too scared to check in case I reach under the seat and pull out a yellow rain coat with "Haha Sucker!" written on it.

lol.Good one! :P

PseudoRandom said...

LOL...sorry, I'm just picturing all the little old ladies on the plane floating in the air with parachutes :D

And dude if aircraft safety could be so simple, Hollywood would've missed out on TONS of really rubbi...sorry, awesome movies!

Anonymous said...

The Wright brothers can't be credited for Harry Potter.
The idea of witches on brooms came out long before they were born. Peter Pan was written a year before they invented the aircraft and not to mention the Grimm brothers compiled their stories, which included witchs, on brooms much early.

By the by, I think you should consider changing the title of your blog to "Sunnyside Daily" or more accurately "Brightside Daily"...

Gehan said...

spice: :D thanks!

pseudorandom: now THAT movie i would watch.. lol...

anonymous: wow.. you MUST be kidding me...!u honestly thought i was implyin the wright brothers should be credited for harry potter?! it was a JOKE..! lol...

by the by, about "brightside daily"... yea i dnt think so...

Sabby said...

Flying sucks. Takes me far away from places I don't wanna leave *sob*.

Drama aside, the safety demo's are the last thing I pay attention to, which might come around to bite me in the ass one day.

Lindsay and wild weekends. Hilarious. Hehe.

And Gehan, you totally should take the suggestion of EVERY random anonymous person who leaves a comment. Pfft.

Makuluwo said...

Haha nice punchline at the end. ;D

I don't get why people are afraid of flight, man! If I had just one wish, screw world peace or a lifetime supply of chocolates or whatever, it'd just be to have the super powah to fly. o_O
Working on the blueprints for rocket-propelled shoes right now actually.

PseudoRandom said...

Um Mak, are you trying to become a female Iron Man? That's like, so cool :D

Baby Z said...

Parachutes?!! You're crazy yo! Put the crack pipe down G. Remember crack is wack. Better yet keep puffin' bro, cuz if you're this crazy now then I don't wanna see how you are without it.

Naal said...

I had the most interesting experience while flying to Goa last weekend. I was with my dad and we were extremely irritated cause of the fact that the flight was already three hours late. Fortunately we had information beforehand and to save us some money my father decided to pack 5 frootis to drink while we waited (Everybody knows how overpriced these airport cafes are). Little did we know that 26/11 had made airports paranoid to the extent of Schizophrenia. As soon as my dads bags went through security check the red lights went off. I looked around to see who was the idiot carrying a bomb in his bag. Turns out it was my father. The cop turns around suspiciously and yells "whose bag is this?" I sheepishly followed my father. I was ready to die of embaressmant. The cop made us drink all 5 of those drinks in front of him while all the rest of the travellers passed us with smirks pasted on ther faces. I wonder what they were thinking. Maybe the same thing as me. "Idiots". Anyway, i had to go to the loo 3 times in the space of the next hour. Dont think I am ever drinking a Frooti again.

Makuluwo said...

Heeeheee PR, sssshhhhh don't tell EVERYone!
Lest the government should find out about my hidden Female Iron Man equipment among other weapons of mass awesomeness in my secret basement.. >.>

krazykyd said...

@ Anonymous - mate.. trust me.. when u grow up and live in Sri Lanka... there is no other side than the darkside... ;D

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