I Will Not Think of Buddy Holly

Love makes you do crazy things.

Case in point: last night I booked airline reservations. I’ll be flying into Vegas on Christmas day to spend eight days with Tara. Big deal, you say? Trust me…it’s HUGE. When my sister-in-law, Esther, saw the post announcing this on Tara’s Facebook wall, she wrote:

“WAIT!! Did you say he’s FLYING into Vegas?????? FLYING??? You got him to FLY??! Now see…..that’s Love, he hates flying!! I’m so excited :))”

I rest my case.

I haven’t flown on a metal death trap…err, airplane…in more than ten years. We’re talking pre-9/11 here, folks. Back in the days when you didn’t have to remove your shoes and could carry liquids on board and people could meet you right at the gate. I might have actually had a box cutter or two in my carry-on, now that I think about it. And nobody batted an eye at the Guns & Ammo magazine I was reading during the flight. Times sure have changed, huh? How I long for those carefree, halcyon days of my youth…

Trying not to think about how much these things weigh... (Courtesy of ethix.org)

It’s not that I’m afraid of flying, per se. I have no problem with flying! It’s the falling-out-of-the-sky part that troubles me. As long as the plane is airborne, it’s actually pretty fun. Keeping it airborne, though – that’s the tricky thing, right? I wrote about it here a while ago. The mechanics of flight are just far too complex for a mere mortal such as myself to understand, or feel comfortable with. How much does an airplane weigh, anyway??

Err…right. These are the questions I’m not supposed to ponder. Especially once I reach the airport. Tara says all I need to do is have a couple of Bloody Marys before takeoff and I’ll be fine. I like this idea! I may have to order a couple more mid-flight, too. Just to be completely sure that my senses are dulled enough that I won’t panic over the thought that even clouds weren’t meant to float at 30,000′. As long as I grab an aisle seat for easy bathroom access, it’s a plan that’s just crazy enough to work.

I wasn’t always nervous about flying. I did a lot of it growing up; my first airplane flight took place when I wasn’t even a year old. I’ve flown through turbulence, thunderstorms, at night, alone…and I’ve always emerged on the tarmac of whichever destination just fine. As a kid, I loved flying! I always looked forward to the adventure. And then I became aware of my own mortality and it suddenly wasn’t quite as much fun anymore.

I have found that once you admit to being uncomfortable with flying, you have friends coming out of the woodwork to assure you how safe it is, comparatively speaking. They trot out statistics like crazy. One friend on Facebook said I was more likely to be killed by a donkey than in a plane crash, and when I questioned the validity of that statistic, another person sent me a link verifying it. I guess this information is meant to soothe me, but it’s not like I hang out around petting zoos very often either. You can bet your ass (pun intended) that the next time I do, though, I’ll have a few Bloody Marys in me. As well-intentioned as these folks are, all they’re doing is giving me a complex about even getting out of bed in the morning. Who knew that simply going about your daily routine could lead to DEATH?! I love my down comforter. Why should I leave its warm, cozy safety??

Who knew this cute little fella was such a dangerous beast?! (Courtesy of junglewalk.com)

(Right. Because my girlfriend doesn’t live here yet, and it’s not nearly as enjoyable an experience being alone in a bed. Fine! I’ll get on the damn airplane already!!).

The argument that really chaps my hide (or would if I were a cowboy) is the ol’ “it’s more dangerous driving in a car than flying in an airplane.” True though this statistic may be, it’s flawed. For one thing, there are a lot more automobiles on the road at any given moment than airplanes in the sky, so of course from a numbers standpoint this is so. And here’s the deal: if you’re involved in a car crash, a lot of times you can walk away without so much as a scrape. If a plane goes down, though, chances are there won’t be enough Band-Aids in the world to put you back together again in one piece.

I’m just sayin’…

It’s all a moot point, anyway. I am getting onto that airplane in December and I will fly to Nevada to be with Tara, and it’s got nothing to do with the fact that she is telling me to “man up already.” The idea of staying with her for an extended period over the holidays is much too enticing to pass up. I’ll get to meet her dad’s side of the family, her friends, her sisters…and just spend a whole lot of quality time together. It’ll be cold. It could very well snow. And it’ll be romantic as hell. Wild horses couldn’t hold me back.

Wild donkeys, on the other hand…


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

30 thoughts on “I Will Not Think of Buddy Holly

  1. I operate with a blatant disregard for self respect or safety. I get a lot of bruises, but it really is an enjoyable lifestyle 🙂 You’ll be fine, and I bet the company will be worth it!


  2. Seriously, dude…man up already!


    We could check out the wild burros between Pahrump and Amargosa Valley, but that might be pushing your odds a little bit.


    1. Thanks, Jane. Clearly, Esther’s reaction was telling. She should know…I’ve been telling her time and again for years now how it would take a miracle to get me on an airplane again!


  3. Honestly – you’ll be fine. I hate to fly too (and actually have to take drugs for anxiety but thats a whole nother story for another time, mostly because I was so nervous I got airsick and that has never ever happened so its better for all parties involved. Its just enough to take the edge off). but have since realized that it isn’t so bad and having a drink or 2 before you get on the plane is not a bad idea. 🙂

    Good for you for doing this. You can’t live life in fear forever. ❤


  4. I just hope they don’t forget to de-ice the plane, or the runway, or hell…(doesn’t freeze over). I love your writing style Mark! You have a gift! The bottom line is; we’re all born to die some sooner than others but why worry. It’s not like worrying changes the outcome. It just robs your joy.


  5. Fear of flying? I would dump you over that. Sissy. you are going to be in the air for 14 minutes. Vegas can’t be that far from Vancouver. I traveled to Australia with a 7 month old, dimatap is your friend, or gravol…sleep and it will be done quick.


  6. ” I have no problem with flying! It’s the falling-out-of-the-sky part that troubles me.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Mark, that’s exactly what I say!!!!

    “I’m not afraid of flying. It’s CRASHING I’m afraid of!”

    I too wasn’t afraid of flying. However, when I experience flying in a HURRICANE, THAT’s when I my fear developed. I use to LOVE flying. In fact, I even applied to be a flight attendent several times, but never made it past the second interview.

    ” And here’s the deal: if you’re involved in a car crash, a lot of times you can walk away without so much as a scrape. If a plane goes down, though, chances are there won’t be enough Band-Aids in the world to put you back together again in one piece.”

    My sentiments EXACTLY!

    Now I WILL fly, but it still scares the crap out of me. I flew to Japan (27 1/2 hrs) and it was actually a VERY nice flight.

    You GO, boy! I’m proud of you!


  7. I love flying so much I can’t help but sit by the engines and feel all that power. The take-offs and the landings are also a favorite of mine. Call me weird (Weird!)

    At least this isn’t your very first flight and at least you’re not deathly afraid of flying. That in itself is something…otherwise you would never get down there…except for driving and why waste all that time in a car when, in fact, by the time you reach Pendleton (if even there), you would be landing in Vegas with Tara waiting for you.

    It’s all perspective Mark….that’s all it is! Proud of you for manning-up btw….just sayin’.


    1. Hmm…yes, you’re right…Vegas definitely beats Pendleton! I mean, I’d still have 10 or 11 hours left, instead of being there already and probably deep in the midst of some serious smoochy-smoochy stuff.


  8. …and I interviewed YOU for a story for Southwest Spirit Magazine????

    Oh, the irony…

    And Boyfriend Brett hates flying (or sky-falling) too. I have to get him almost-drunk before we do any traveling. The first time we flew together, he got hives. (Seriously: I have pix.) Now come to think of it, I must post those on my blog — CLASSIC!

    You’ll do fine. White Russians the night before, Bloody Marys on board. No worries, man! 😉


    1. HA!! I never thought about that. You’re right…you had no idea you were interviewing somebody who despises flying for a piece about travel that would appear in an in-flight magazine, did you?? Too funny. I’ve thought it was ironic that the story was on Nevada, a place I hadn’t actually been to in years…and now look at me, goin’ over there like it’s my second home and all!


  9. Haha, I had never heard that about donkeys. You are so right though about the stats – my brother in law doesn’t fly and whenever he tells people you can just seem them start pulling out stats to convince him. The romantic in me is so excited that you are flying for a girl. Way to go Mark!!

    My dad, being the cheapest man in the world, gave me a love for flying early on – he told me it was the one place where we would be treated as royalty. They would serve us drinks and snacks and take care of us the entire flight. All we had to do was push a button and we’d have someone at our beck and call! I always think about this when I’m flying. While it was a little bit of an exaggeration (even for those times when you DID get snacks), I do feel pretty special when I fly. It is a wonder to me that planes even work and I’m happy to be able to afford it. Now, order your stewardess around and enjoy the drinks 🙂


    1. Ha. The more you write about your dad’s cheapness, the more I like the guy! He seems like he’s got a rather wicked sense of humor, and that’s something I can appreciate.

      I flew first class to Hawaii for my honeymoon, and that was an experience! Not only did we get champagne and a good meal, but they even served ice cream sundaes. I’m guessing even first-class travelers don’t get those sorts of perks anymore.


      1. Ice cream sundaes in first class??? If an airline offered me that, I’d fly first class all the time! LOL. A little bit of ice cream can make me do some stupid/crazy things…. 🙂
        I hope your trip goes great and hopefully you’ll start liking flying! Be sure to take some pics from the window seat.


  10. Fun fun fun fun fun! What a wonderful Christmas getaway! Be sure to take lots of pictures, Vegas should be awesome over the holidays!


  11. I’m shocked, seriously…. We’ve been trying to get you to fly for years. You’ll see how easy that flight is going to be, and you’re going to feel like a dork for driving all the way to Ohio 🙂


Add Your Two Cents!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: