I don’t enjoy flying. Saying that sounds so bourgeois, and maybe I should lie and pretend like I’m more adventurous and fun-loving and my hair just does this naturally, but flying on airplanes makes me nervous. It makes my head hurt and my stomach flip and without fail, in the middle of the flight, I suddenly feel compelled to jump up and wave my arms and just freak out for a minute. Prescription nerve medicine and Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot help a bit, and so does the fact that the flight is only 65 minutes long, but still.
I have a weird flying superstition, and that is that I must touch the airplane on the outside, both as I board and disembark. Why would I need to do so as I disembark, since I’ve obviously had a successful flight? I have no idea, but it is absolutely necessary. Maybe it’s pre-emptive good luck for next time. Anyway. It is impossible to pat an airplane like it’s a good dog and still look cool, especially since the flight attendant is always standing there watching you, and you have to shift your carry-on and step to the side for a second and just sort of give a furtive but encouraging tap to the cold plane. Acting like the plane is your old college drinking buddy, and you’re just slapping it on the back like it’s an old sonofabitch doesn’t make you look any cooler. But you know what else doesn’t look cool? Plummeting to your death in a flaming tin can.