I miss travel in these dark times, but, it turns out I’ve been cursed with the Pavlovian response of gagging on planes, so maybe it’s best that I can’t fly right now. This gag reflex is going to deeply cramp my style when I’m sitting next to Chris Evans on a flight – both in our “meet cute” and later, en route to our castle wedding. I have to figure out how to stop it! Help me!
I understand why it happened the first time: I was a Junior in High School and chosen to go to a “Young Leadership Conference” in Washington D.C. It was my first time going to D.C. – which, until then, I thought was in the STATE of Washington (and they sent ME to a leadership conference? FOOLS!) – and it was my first time flying alone. Because of this, my mom asked the nice lady if I could have a person meet me, a minor, at the gate in Atlanta, where I would be switching planes. The lady assured her there would be someone there. There wasn’t. That’s fine! The girl from a town with only TWO stoplights pretended to know where she was going in the maze of the BUSIEST AIRPORT IN THE WORLD, with its own SUBWAY, and somehow ended up on the right plane anyway! BEFORE smart phones!
Oh my God, the pride I felt. But…it was a TINY plane. Like, for mice. Stuart Little’s plane. Mickey Mouse’s plane, if Mickey Mouse had a shrinking machine. A plane for Algernon. I wouldn’t care, except: the turbulence! Ohhh, the turbulence. It hits those small planes different, y’all. I wanted to die. I didn’t throw up, but I felt queasy the rest of the day, and every time I thought back on the flight. But I couldn’t understand it; no one else on the flight seemed affected, and I’d always had a “strong stomach” growing up – it was my sister who had motion sickness, and I would think, “What a weirdo” when she puked in the car. OH how the tables TURNED.
CUT TO: My mom, sister, and I are flying to New York, a year later. It’s the first flight I’ve been on since the D.C. trip, of which I determined the size of the plane was the culprit, so I wasn’t worried about the situation repeating itself. I was talking happily, pre-take-off, when the cabin’s air turned on, blowing straight in my face. Mid-sentence, I dry-heaved. And couldn’t stop dry-heaving. My mom and sister pointed and laughed. I laughed, and dry-heaved. Pavlov had me in his grip. Just the SMELL of the plane’s air – the memory – set me off. I couldn’t believe it.
More recently, it happened on a short flight between Paris and Amsterdam, in between two classy, beautiful French men, who were wearing suits and being all classy and crap. It was early morning, and I hadn’t slept the night before (story on THAT nightmare to come). As we were starting the descent to land – just the DESCENT, no turbulence – I found myself dry-heaving so hard that I had to smash my pillow up against my face. Just a grown woman, sitting up straight, purposely suffocating herself, figuring that was less embarrassing than throwing up on the nice French men, who politely ignored me.
And then, hours after that flight, on my final leg from Amsterdam to LA, in between two annoying men, it happened again on the descent, with no turbulence. I re-smashed a pillow to my face, frightening the annoying guy to my left, which is kind of what he deserved, because, screw him.
On night flights, there’s no nausea. Why? With less sleep, there’s more. WHY? And when the plane’s fans come on, I have to acclimate myself like that scene in “The Abyss” where they drown themselves in liquid oxygen. WHY??!?!
I have yet to actually throw up on a plane, but I grow weary of this dance. I worry the deed will finally happen one day. It’d just better not be on Chris Evans.
…tho I think he’ll love me anyway.