My latest post for Full Stop is now online. An excerpt here:
It is probably most accurate to characterize my flying preparations as a mutual fund of sorts, constituted of various types of investments all designed to hedge against utter desolation (a fiery nosedive into a mountainside) and achieve modest returns (a safe landing). Recently, for example, I put off watching The Wire mid-flight in favor of lighter fare to calm my frayed nerves, and I swear Sebastian Edwards’ book on Latin American populists spawned vicious air pockets every time I opened its pages.
Small decisions, too, attain cosmic significance when followed seconds later by a slight shudder of the cabin. Was the weather better when I’d paused Bridesmaids, or is the only way to ensure smooth sailing to watch the entire film at 4x speed? These are not questions to be taken lightly, for upon their successful resolution rests the fate of hundreds of passengers, as well as the ability to understand a damn thing Kristen Wiig is saying at that rate. And no matter which airline I fly, I continue to cringe at the deliberately ominous abstraction of the announcement, “We’ll be on the ground shortly.”