Friday, August 3, 2012

wherein the plane probably nearly crashes

(and sarawr tense-shifts and writes the words throw up a lot... sorry)

Been looking forward to writing this one. In further proof that my life is indeed a circus:

It was actually a pretty bumpy flight in general but at first I didn't think anything of it because it was pretty cloudy over Berlin when we took off. And after a late night dancing and saying goodbye to an incredible group of people, all I wanted to do was sleep anyway. And finally I managed it but by the time I did we'd started to descend and by then it'd gotten a lot bumpier.

So a little bit of turbulence, fairly normal, no? Except it was completely clear and not just shaky but kind of roll-y too. You know the feeling when you first take off and for a second there's that weightless feeling and your stomach drops? Imagine that but coming every few seconds because it feels like the plane is dropping and then gliding, back and forth, over and over again. Except it's also sort of pitching sideways, sort of rolling--it's subtle, it's not spinning, but it's there, like you keep over-correcting.

By the time we were pretty low, maybe forty or fifty feet off the ground, all I could think was that it would be better for the plane to drop out of the sky where it was than to be on it while it was moving any longer. I was so sick. And I do get carsick if I read or we're going through the mountains, but I don't ever throw up. But it was coming, I could feel it. Less than a minute later you could see the runway rushing underneath the plane--still bumping/floating/rolling--right at the point you expect to feel the wheels touch down on the pavement.

You know that other feeling as you're taxi-ing, about to take off, and they give it all the power and you're pushed back in your seat? Well the plane did this weird up-down-up thing, kind of pitched to the left and then I guess they gave it full power because it felt just like that and we were taking back off. Only we hadn't touched down. The pilot said something about going around again for another try--that's it. My first thought was it was the copilot landing and he'd never done it before. And then I didn't care because they were turning really sharply and it felt like we were at a forty-five degree angle to the ground and the hairs on the dude next to me's arms were touching my arm and all I could do was say to myself: don't throw up don't throw up don't throw up.

The next ten minutes were even bumpier and pitchier, and what felt like lower and faster so even worse. It was quiet on the plane too--I don't know if anyone was scared or not. Maybe, but if they were feeling anything like I was then they were too busy being sick to think about it. Oh, and I didn't have one of those bags they give out for this purpose. Dude next to me did but I figured if I grabbed it I'd be giving myself permission and how awful would that be--first you throw up and then you have to carry it off the plane in a baggy. And then someone up ahead of me starting throwing up. And let me tell you, twenty minutes later when my stomach forgave the pilot, I could laugh about this: it sounded exactly like a ten-year-old fake throwing up on a cartoon. Or:


But all I could think was stoooooop you can't throw up! You're gonna make me throw up! Stop stop stop! So there I am fanning myself and dude next to me has caught on and starts fanning me with his newspaper and finally we touch down. I am radiating heat.

We finally get off and I've never been so glad to be off a plane in my life, including one that took nine hours spent squeezed between a really huge guy, a hiking backpack and the window. Walking down one of the hallways a few Germans behind me started making fun of whoever was throwing up and honestly they sounded exactly like it.

Oh! I forgot to say! Once we landed the pilot got back on and said what had happened was that as we tried to land a big gust of wind came and lifted us up. Sounds plausible. I told a friend about it and she said that seemed a little suspicious so whether that really caused it or not I have no idea. Do they tell you if it's something out of their control? But once again, whether because I was too busy trying not to be sick or because it takes a lot more than turbulence to scare me, I never felt like we were about to die or crash or anything unsafe. Amazing Lufthansa gets us there safely once again.

And I'm flying them again on the way back home in December. We'll see how it goes...

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