Monday, February 10, 2014

Maho Beach

Maho Beach

           On Maho Beach in Saint Maarten people come to see planes take off and land, I was one of them, watching from a boat where a 747 about landed on my head. According to our captain this is in the second most photographed place in the world, the first being the Taj Mahal. I don’t know if this is exactly true but it is a sight to be seen (from a safe distance away).

            I am afraid- I am not sure why I am such a scaredy-cat, I love bombing down snowy mountains with my two feet strapped to a board. I love adrenaline rushes and I am always the one to “go first” in some dangerous seeming adventure. When it comes to flying however, I’d rather go to the dentist, chug a ketchup and cereal milk shake, be sprayed with mace, and attacked by bees (all in the same day). The whole traveling at speeds up to 500 mph at thirty-something thousand feet in the air just doesn’t do it for me. I white knuckle my way through it, of course, because how else am I to get from point A to very far off point B. Honestly, I wish I could hitch a cargo ship and risk being taken over by pirates. If I was friends with the Wright Brothers I would have tried to talk them down from their insane invention and convince them of the error of their ways.
            I prefer my feet being on the ground! The whole being precariously suspended in the air just isn’t for me. I hate that stomach dropping feeling, it just provokes a fear that takes over my whole body. Any bump or strange noise that’s going on as we “cruise” in the sky, any dip or turn, forget about mentioning the word turbulence, when that happens my concentration becomes super-hero like because it is all up to me to will the plane into staying afloat. The whole time I can see it, the jet engine spewing flames as we spiral towards earth, conscious of our last living minutes. What good is my seatbelt now? Forget oxygen masks, I’d be to busy screaming “I told you so” to my ever so calm partner who sat the entire trip snaking on free chips and soda like being so close to death was no big deal.
            And what’s with the whole “flight attendants please prepare for landing.” Prepare! What do you mean, you haven’t prepared for this already? Have we not been trained in the art of landing a few thousand pound tin can filled with hundreds of people? Don’t “prepare” with me in it as some kind of test subject! Landing is the worst. I can never see the runway and only the buildings that we are ever to close to. This time however we were coming in right over the water, I hadn’t even spotted land and we were landing. Luckily, I made it out alive but only to be placed at the edge of the only unrestricted runway in the world to watch as other planes landed. The whole idea of getting over your fear by direct confrontation in order to desensitize you didn’t really work. I am still a scaredy-cat, but the trip was all worth the risk.

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