PJ Media

Airplanes, United 93 and Phobias

Well, the movie, a href=”http://www.united93movie.com/index.php”United 93/a, is now in theaters–I would love to see it but I can’t. Why? I have a a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_of_flying”horrible fear of flying/a. Okay, I know this is stupid, but apparently I am in good company with this phobia–it seems that Isaac Asimov, David Bowie and even the Dalai Lama a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_of_flying”had a fear of flying/a. a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviophobia”Wikipedia/a describes the causes of fear of flying:br /br /blockquoteThere are many things that cause one to fear flying, including a fear of closed in spaces (claustrophobia), such as that of an airplane cabin; a fear of heights (acrophobia); a feeling of not being in control (since a passenger is not piloting the plane and can’t get out at will); previous traumatizing experiences while in flight; fear of hijacking or terrorism; fear of deep venous thrombosis; fear of turbulence; etc. While most people who are afraid of flying but to whom flight is a convenient way to conduct necessary business manage their fears well enough that they are able to fly, they may spend considerable time and emotional energy thinking about the dangers that may befall them during flight./blockquotebr /br /Okay, throw me in with the group that is afraid because of a lack of control–I hate the fact that I don’t know who is piloting the plane. The crazy thing is, I used to be a student pilot as a teenager. At 14, I went to work in a shoe store to pay for flying lessons. The most exciting part of my life at that point was tooling around looking at the Smoky Mountains with my instructor, Emilio, in a Cessna 150. I was never afraid. Once my grandmother visited from Iowa and watched me take a lesson. I heard her ask my mother why in the world she would let her kid take these “risky” flying lessons. My mom just shrugged and said, “That’s what Helen does, she wants to fly airplanes.” Just as an aside, I have to say looking back, I really admire my mom for her nonchalant attitude–it fostered my independence and taught me to ignore societal pressure from others to behave in any type of stereotypical manner. Okay, maybe today it has its drawbacks because I often ignore societal cues as to how to act, but hey, it works for me.br /br /Anyway, back to my fear of flying, it seemed to develop over time. I used to fly often when I lived in NYC and it was easy to get a flight to Europe or the Caribbean but somewhere along the line, my feelings changed and I became more and more afraid. I hate to sound like a mom, but I think it was after my kid was born that the fear intensified and I thought of what would happen if the plane crashed and my daughter was left to grow up without a mother. I do force myself to fly, for example, after 911, I was scheduled to do a talk show in Manhattan and got myself on the plane. Luckily, I was sitting next to a retired pilot turned business man who spent the trip telling me how 911 had “inconvenienced” him while traveling on that day. He was so narcissistic that I figured if the plane was hijacked or had problems, he would just push someone aside and fly the plane just so he would not be inconvenienced by the change in plans. I made it to New York, despite my white knuckles, and flew back without any problems but my fear continues. br /br /I am afraid that if I see emUnited 93,/em my fear will intensify and I will not make it onto the next plane trip I need to take–but then again, perhaps I should engage in some a href=”http://onlinedictionary.datasegment.com/word/implosion+therapy”implosion therapy /aand plunge myself into the film and a subsequent trip to Europe or Israel to squelch my fear. br /br /Has anyone seen the film or planning to do so? If so, let me know your impressions.br /br /a href=”http://shrinkwrapped.blogs.com/blog/2006/04/united_93.html”Shrinkwrapped/a sees the movie and gives his analysis.