Just Go Left

A Control Freak in Flight

On My Heart, AdventuresAshtenComment

Let's play a game:

Put a control freak in a giant metal box, then launch that box 30,000 feet into the air, and tell the control freak they can't get out of the metal box for a set amount of time. Inform the control freak they have no control over the metal box: they can not determine when it is launched into the air, nor can they determine when it lands. Oh and make sure you've taken away their personal belongings, promising to give them back once the metal box is no longer in the air....and give them only that little bit of information. Really drive home that all the control freak needs to do is show up, also make sure the control freak is in said metal box with a bunch of random strangers, including: those who snore, smell and have zero regard for personal space. Then, tell the control freak to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. 

And watch them freak the eff out. 

Yes, the control freak is me, and yes I hate to fly. 

Seriously, I wish Floo Powder wasn't just a thing in Harry Potter, because if it was real, I would use the that shit all the time if it meant I didn't have to be in an airport.

My red-headed better half? Could be in an airport all day.

I’ve been flying like a common jet-setter for the last five years, so you’d think airports and airplanes would be second nature to me now. On the contrary, flying brings out the control freak in me: the girl who knows best, who likes everything to reflect some semblance of order and routine; who prefers the quick and easy over the long and daunting. When I fly, I find myself more annoyed by the things that extend far beyond the reach of my beloved control: long lines at security, people who think it’s okay to put their shoes, jackets and belts back on while blocking the rest of us from getting our bags after the security check and people who stop in the middle of the walkway to check their cell phones. I often catch myself rushing through the airport as fast as I can to get to my gate, bypassing all the “unnecessary bullshit”.

I hate the unnecessary bullshit of airports almost as much as I hate decaf coffee.

The day we flew to Seattle, the airport was overflowing with fellow travelers. Lines had doubled in size, wait times were triple what I was used to and the “travel coffee” I had strategically built into our airport plan was starting to seem unrealistic. Annoyed, I started weaving around the belt bucklers, the cell phone "stop and checkers" and worked tirelessly to avoid the security line with the family and their twelve bags. 

My control freak flag was flying high.

And then, the train broke.

You see, the train is essential to my airport plan. It cuts down the time it takes to get from security to the terminal, and also cuts down on a majority of the airport bullshit I hate. Without the train, it's a two mile walk from security to the terminal....while lugging bags and swerving between fellow frustrated travelers. A broken train means a long. annoying walk. A broken train derails my airport plan (train puns are fun). A broken train means I've lost control. A broken train is my nightmare. 

And a nightmare it was. 

For two sweaty and annoying miles we lugged our stuff across the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and I couldn't help but compare the scene to the sinking of the Titanic. There were families trying to wrangle their children, businessmen were speed-walking as businessmen do, people so confused that they just dutifully followed the crowd, and then there was me: stuck in a sweaty nightmare huffing and puffing because my plans had gone awry. As I was trying to make my way through the crowd without losing my red-headed significant other, a man pushed me, literally stopping me in my tracks. 

"HEY SIR!' I shouted, "WE'RE ALL GOING TO GET WHERE WE'RE GOING, THERE'S NO NEED TO SHOVE ME."

And then a big, fat stone hit my glass house.

Minor freak-out aside, I was humbled standing there in the airport. I had spent so much time creating my airport plan, banking on the fact that things were going to go exactly the way I wanted. I thought I could rush my way past the unnecessary bullshit and head right where I was going without losing control. Life, of course, always has other plans. 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could skip all the bullshit and head straight to the ending? I wish I could just clear a path and miss all the waiting in line. I mean, the whole part where I work hard and wait for things to fall into place isn't as fun as skipping the lines and riding the train straight to the happy ending. I find myself stuck in this mindset more than ever lately; I've worked and worked and then worked some more, and I wonder when the work is finally over and the happiness shows up. I have tried to create a bubble of control around me, pretending that I can protect myself from life's little defeats, hoping to beat it at its own game.

I'm sure we can all guess how this one is going to end. 

Sometimes the control you think you have is just an illusion and sometimes the train breaks down and you're left lugging your bags to your terminal; sweaty and wondering where the hell you're going. Life is always going to bitch slap you with some humility, usually at the most inconvenient moment and you have to sack up and lug your baggage a little bit further. Character is created when control is lost and patience is perfected when we realize that control never existed in the first place. And so I work, I sweat, I lug, I grow and I allow myself to get launched into the air once more, hoping I land right on time. 

Oh and in case you're wondering? I never got my "travel coffee". You owe me one, Hartsfield-Jackson.