Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Say Hello To My Little Friend

So, how does a guy who is getting ready to get his AARP card in a couple of weeks, has never flown before? Was the fear of flying? Was it all those horrific crashes we have seen ad nausem on TV over the years? Maybe it was 9/11. Is it the fear of heights? Claustrophobia? All of the above? Some of all the above? I wasn't sure either, but the day has come when I have to keep my promise of going to Belgium for my (gulp) 50th birthday. It started innocently enough one night over a year and a half ago on the deck at the Northside. As usual, drinking large amounts of beer with friends will lead to some kind of asinine discussion. It eventually turned to me getting on a plane. Then I said the magic words, "I will get on a plane to go to Belgium for my 50th." What the hell was I thinking? There is no way on earth they are going to forget I said this. I'd better come up with some type of plan. Well like all things, I put that part of the plan on hold. Hell, there is plenty of time I thought. Instead, I focused on finding a place to stay for 28 people. I think I'd looked at every hotel, bed and breakfast, rental property and farmhouses for rent in the whole country. We all decided to stay in Bruges and the place we ended up picking, turned out to be one hell of a great decision. But that is little help to me now. I am sitting in Philadelphia International Airport waiting for our 8:40pm plane to board. Anxiousness is to the left of me, nervousness to the right. Here I am, stuck in the aiport with you. I don't know what to do with myself. I have read the airliner magazine about what noises I will hear on the plane, so I am good with that. I've read enough about flying being the safest form of travel in the world. It ain't helping me all that much at the moment. So I reach into my bag and take one of these. I wasn't real big on taking a bunch of drugs, those days are long behind me. But I needed something to take the edge off, and this looked like a sure thing. In just under an hour, I was yawning trying to stay awake. All the feelings I had of clenched teeth and hands were long gone. It was go time and nobody had to drag me on the plane. I am going to Belgium.

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