I fly a lot.
In airplanes mostly, which I loathe; but also in my dreams.
In my dreams, flying is the most magical and amazing single thing imaginable.
Sometimes in a dream, I am running, and then I realize that I can kind of skip the odd step without touching the ground.
Then a few steps at a time, and suddenly I realize I can fly!
This realization is so thrilling that I only use my new gift sparingly, and secretly. I hover just a few feet off the floor in my room, or float out of my window at night and drift over the city, or fly silently through a dark forest, like a vampire.
It is possible I was a vampire in my previous life.
I like my steak done very rare, for a start – lightly stunned, preferably.
And I tend to say ‘wodka’ as opposed to ‘vodka’.
Not sure if vampires drink wodka, but they should. It would give a glass of blood a nice bite.
Also, my ears are rather pointy, and I enjoy getting about in a black cape.
Sometimes, I stand over girls as they sleep, and watch for that tiny pulse in their neck. Not just any girls, you understand, it’s only girls that I know.
All right, it is only my wife, but don’t tell her, she is on the verge of a nervous breakdown as it is.
On the other hand, I am not afraid of Garlic – far from it, I reek of the stuff.
And you wouldn’t catch me dead in a coffin! Not while I am alive, anyway.
So, perhaps I wasn’t a vampire. Maybe I was just a vampire bat.
Anyway, dream-flying or being a vampire is way better than being a passenger on a plane.
From the awkward disrobing and paranoia at security to the endless wait for your bag at the other end, it ranges from mildly unpleasant, to panic-inducing nightmare.
And that is if you make it to your destination.
Well, ok, you will almost always make it…unless you fly regularly in Nigeria.
Some flights are so cramped, long and painful that the thought of suddenly losing both engines at 30 000 feet becomes an attractive proposition.
My last flight went something like this –
I arrive late at the airport.
My luggage is too heavy and I have to remove books, put on two jackets and trade my runners for my 3kg cowboy boots.
A pair of red underpants flies into the air as I pull the boots out the bag.
I consider ignoring them, but two girls are snorting with laughter at my predicament.
My attempt at a carefree swagger as I retrieve the garment fails because it is impossible to swagger in socks.
After the ordeal at security, the departures board tells me my flight is delayed.
I soldier on, knowing I can have a few wines while I wait, and at least I will have time to go to the toilet.
The wines work their magic, and I smile at the pretty air hostess as I board the plane.
She smiles politely in return and tells me that I have toilet paper stuck to my shoe.
Even the magic of wine has its limits, and my brief optimism evaporates.
The safety demo further darkens my mood.
It is just insulting.
You have more chance of winning the lottery than surviving a plane crash.
They should do the demo on how to behave if you win the lottery – it would be more useful.
There is so much turbulence that the refreshment trolley is stubbornly parked in the kitchen for most of the flight.
The passengers are dying of thirst, I am dying of sobriety.
I am trapped next to a sweaty narcoleptic snorer.
The person behind me is racked with an Ebola-virus cough, and from all quarters comes the sound of wet, flabby sneezing.
Narcolept awakes, stinky of breath and bleary of eye, only to kick off his shoes and slump aside again, snoring peacefully.
As the stench and suffocating proximity of moist humanity presses upon me, I feel my mind begin to release its tenuous grip on the ledge of reason.
By the time they announced we were in a holding pattern due to heavy air traffic, I think I was pretty much gone.
This then is my Fear of Flying.
It is not fear of a fiery death, but rather the fear of a long and pointless life, breathing the recycled exhalings of decaying bipeds trapped in a tube, with artificial lighting and dry skin.
One of many in a shuffling herd, robbed of my sparkle and individuality, hoping for salvation; or at least one upgrade to first class.
Ok, I will wrap this up. Time to get on my next flight.
The boarding chick is giving me the stare.
Maybe because I am the last to board, or it might be my black cape and pointy teeth.
She does have a nice neck.