So, I’m going to New Orleans for my birthday.
Which is awesome. And stomach-churningly freaky.
If there’s one thing I worry about—more than germs, more than personal financial collapse—it’s air travel. I am terrified of flying.
When I’m on a plane, I’m sure I’m going to die. I’m not worried I will. I am positive I will.
When I flew to New York for a wedding some years back, I stayed up for 36 hours before the red-eye flight to ensure I’d be sleepy. Then I took double the recommended dose of sleeping pills the proper amount of time before departure. And I washed them down with alcohol.
None of this is medically recommended, by the way. In fact, I don’t recommend any of it in any way, since I spent the next eight airborne hours death-gripping my armrests like I was being Tasered and staring with pupils the size of Susan B. Anthony dollars at the little airline icon slowly creeping across a map of the United States. My panicked body apparently immediately synthesized every gram of narcotic and ounce of booze directly into glutamate, which is the chemical your brain starts pumping when you’re threatened and need to decide whether to choose to fight or flight. Fight or flight? On a plane? Ha!
I’m not proud of my phobia, which makes me a miserable travel companion before, during, and after any air travel.
So why am I planning to willingly step into a pressurized cabin that has no business being several feet above the ground, let alone 30,000?
About a month ago, I decided to enter a haiku contest to promote Cottonelle toilet paper and wipes on Twitter. Why not, right? I got to make a joke about butts, and I won a $200 gift card to Amazon when my entry was selected to be one of seven winners.
The winning text, by the way:
“Cottonelle sheets, wipes—
Like yin and yang for your butt:
Two forces, one whole.”
Suddenly, new people were following me, probably eager to see if I had anything else funny or insightful to say—about butts or any other topic. And I realized my Twitter account was linked to a web page to which I last contributed content in March 2011.
Since there seemed to be a hot iron in front of me, I decided to strike by launching a blog based on a concept I’d developed at around the same time I stopped posting elsewhere. Standing in the Shallows went live on Oct. 6, 2013.
Last night, my phone rang, and at the other end was a voice telling me I’d been randomly selected out of the seven haiku winners to get plane fare, a hotel stay, and conference registration for the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans, set for Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, which coincides with my birthday. And here I am with a blog and everything!
I don’t know much about New Orleans beyond the fact that bodies can’t be buried there due to it being below sea level, and of course the levee situation, and Mardi Gras, and beignets, and that Simpsons episode where they make a musical out of A Streetcar Named Desire and refer to the city as the Sodom and Gomorrah on the Mississipp’. I don’t really like jambalaya or gumbo or muffalettas, but I do like visiting new places, even if getting there isn’t so much half the fun as it is all of the bladder-emptying terror.
But thanks, Cottonelle and Dad 2.0! I’m looking forward to learning a lot in Louisiana—assuming I don’t plummet to my doom.
(I’m still playing the long game too, life-wise, just in case, so don’t forget to weigh in on my Movember moustache style in yesterday’s post, and visit my Mo Space if you feel like leaving me a comment, making a donation, or just seeing what’s what.)