Taking a flight. Going from point A to point B. Crashes happen, but they’re so much rarer than car accidents, you’re really safer in air than on the roads. MH370 changed all that.
Usually when I take a flight, I’m terrified, one of the few passengers who believe that their prayers keep the flight in air. I switch off, or try to, by writing, or reading, or watching a movie, or sleeping off.
I know I’ve chosen to fly and that means I can’t get out of here and that I have risked a cold, wet end. Somehow, the seas seem more menacing, too deep, and I have visions of fish cleaning up my skeleton, flipping in and out of holes where my nose or eyes used to be.
The flight I’m in, with its soft light and the usual, almost ritualistic, announcements, the unflappable stewardesses who smilingly serve tea despite light turbulence, it is all a pretense– I’m inside of a flying coffin, and might as well be resigned to it.
That resignation would be higher to come by now. I have taken that flight between Kuala lumpur and Beijing, some five years ago– but the next time I’m on a flight, any flight, it will take longer to tranquilize myself.
To a writer, most of whose profession depends on “what if”– MH370 just changed the whole equation. Something the size of a jetliner has vanished into thin air with the now (in)famous words: “All right, Good night,” which the reporters and anchors keep bleating like some helpless chant. The best and the brightest minds and ships in the world are reportedly searching for said massive metal bird, with its 239 passengers, and the world’s media is trying to squeeze the ‘story’ till the last drop.
Each night when I go to sleep, I see a huge airplane parked someplace at a runway near a beach, and I keep imagining the passengers, including kids and infants, under duress, but alive. If I’m dreaming up such scenarios without knowing a soul on board, I cannot imagine the plight of the families in limbo, holding on, in the hotels in Beijing and Kuala lumpur.
I hope that’s how the passengers and crew of the plane are, alive, and ready to come back home. Because God knows that their loved ones, and all of us watching this deepening MH370 mystery, are ready to have them back.
Have you heard of MH370? Have you ever had a fear of flying?