I recently flew with a friend who’s a nervous flier. Not that I’m calm when I’m in an airplane. Actually, I’m the person whose fingernails make the indentations in the armrest if there’s any turbulence during the flight. I’m also the person who listens intently to the flight attendant as she goes through the safety instructions.
You never know. Maybe some emergency instructions have changed. Maybe the airline added a new emergency escape pod and I’ll be the only one who knows about it. Since I’m obviously the only one paying attention, I’ll be the first to escape the burning plane as it barrels toward earth with the gasoline igniting ready to blow the plane into tiny unrecognizable debris. You never know.
So my friend and I are on the plane. We’re strapped in. We’ve heard the pre-flight instructions. I’m pretty sure I can find the emergency escape pod. We’re mentally prepared to go. But we’re not moving.
Nothing. For a half an hour we sit until the pilot announces there’s a mechanical problem with the plane. Could we have the pilot who lies and tells us we’re just waiting for clearance from the tower? No. We have to have clueless, honest guy who goes into gory details.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a problem with the thrust on the plane. We have two so it shouldn’t be a problem. We’re probably not gonna die, but you should familiarize yourself with the escape pods just in case.”
My friend and I put a few fingernail marks in the armrest as we wait for about thirty minutes for the next announcement. The thrust problem is fixed and the plane moves two feet back from the gate. For a minute. Then the pilot pulls the plane back in and gives us another detailed, brutally honest assessment of the condition of his death machine, er plane.
“Folks, when we were doing diagnostics on the thrust unit, we discovered our navigational system is out. We probably won’t die, but we might end up in Kansas, which is worse than dying if you think about it.”
So for another hour, we sit on the plane wondering if we’d have been better renting a car and taking our chances with the nuts on the highway. But finally the plane takes off and my friend and I spend two hours getting a whole lot closer to God.
We don’t die. Nor do we have to use the escape pods. And we don’t end up in Kansas. So I guess it’s all good.