Monday, August 6, 2012


Hiroshima Day. But tomorrow is, for me, the day of death from the sky.
I don't have to think about it consciously. It's there all the time, fomenting just beneath the level of which I am fully aware. I am constantly unsettled – I must force myself to eat – and even in the midst of a conversation or engaging movie I cannot break away from the fear. There is no escape.
God, and it's just a flight to Dallas. Two hours, no more.
What I wouldn't give to become actually ill; demonstrably and unequivocally sick, too sick to travel, sorry, can't go, someone else needs to give my talk. It should be telling that I would prefer a real evil to a perceived evil. I know as well as anyone (perhaps better than most people, actually, as I am a physicist) that humans are terrible at correctly perceiving probability versus consequence. I know that this fear is not legitimate, not reasonable, not logical. And yet I know that I will not sleep tonight, and that I may vomit my breakfast back up before downing another lorazepam and driving, utterly defeated, to the airport.
The thing that seems strangest to me is that the phobia has gotten worse as I have grown older. I was not scared of flying in high school. But it bothered me in college, and then in graduate school it began to be a serious hindrance. Now it is flat-out debilitating. Now, just as my life seems the least worthwhile, I am the most scared to lose it. If this trend continues... I dare not think of it.
I don't want my experience to facilitate the fear of others, though. I can think of nothing so horrible as causing others to suffer from my suffering. Just because I am educated, no one should point at me and say, "but she has a PhD in physics, and she's afraid of flying, so it must be dangerous." It's not dangerous to the extend that I am afraid. The relative magnitudes are all wrong. What I hope is that, instead, people might point at me and say "she has a PhD in physics, and she's afraid of flying, so even smart people have weaknesses." If you are afraid, you're not alone. If you suffer a mental illness, you're not alone. And it doesn't make you less of a person.
It's hard for me to think. What if I did die tomorrow? I haven't done enough. I haven't achieved enough or shared enough or loved enough. Perhaps it is my youth that cries out against death; I am not ready, and therefore am certain that no one could ever be ready. I'm not ready to consider the possibility of my own non-being.
I've checked in online. I guess I should go home and pack.


  1. CGI or Awesome? You be the judge.

  2. That's a scene from the Nic Cage movie "Knowing" (which was terrible, by the way... the best part was the "P H double-d's" joke about ten minutes in. Downhill from there).

    1. Additionally, I very much appreciate the callousness of your post. Thoughtful.

  3. Presumptive of you to assume that it was a callous statement, but you've always been relatively presumptive. You've presumed that I wasn't aware of what I was doing, quite the opposite. I fancy it more of a venomous statement.


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