As I write this, I am hurtling in a giant metal tube 31,000 feet above the state of Indiana. I want bonus points for blogging on an airplane. Not that people keep score or anything, but if they did, I want the extra credit, okay?
I used to hate to fly. Every minor shake and shimmy of turbulence, every acceleration in the pit of my stomach convinced me that the flight would end in a plummeting fireball, not a smooth landing. Oh sure, people love to quote statistics about how air travel is safer than cars or trains or walking or, say, getting out of the bathtub, but here’s the thing. You crash your car, and there’s a decent chance you’ll survive. But when you crash in a plane, the question is less about survival and more about how many burnt, charred pieces you’ll wind up in.
(We just flew over Cincinnati. I don’t know what they’ve been doing down there, but there’s a fair amount of turbulence over their city. That’s not very nice, Cincinnati. Stop it.)
But now, I just don’t care, more by sheer repetition than anything else. For the last few years in grad school, my advisor has sent me out for data collection and meetings about six times a year, and the frequent trips have beaten the fear out of me. I’m much more likely to be anxious about the length of the security screening line than whether I’m going to die in a fiery crash. Apparently familiarity can breed indifference as well as than contempt. Who knew?