I used to be terrified of travel. I wasn’t afraid of the act of traveling, but I was utterly terrified of missing my flight. I’d become a neurotic mess three days before a flight, I’d lose sleep, I’d pack 24 hours early, and I’d get to the airport five hours early. I was not a good traveling companion (with apologies to Pace. Again.).
Finally, after taking several trips with me and faced with several more, while we were in the airport securely at our gate with two hours to spare – and probably out of a fit of boredom, having to wait so damn long for our flight to board – Pace asked me, “What are you so afraid of?”
I said, “Missing my flight.”
She blinked – a lot – and asked, “Why?”
I stared at her as though she’d turned magenta and sprouted antennae. “What?! Because terrible things happen if you miss your flight!”
She said, “Like what?”
I was agog. How could Pace, a seasoned traveler, not know?! I thought about it, trying to squeeze my huge emotional reaction into words. It took me a moment, but I finally managed, “I don’t know! But I know it’s terrible! They fine you and send you home and ban you from their airlines and your entire trip is ruined and everyone gets really super mad at you!”
I realize that sounds ridiculous, but that’s what I thought. Seriously.
It was Pace’s turn to look at me like I’d sprouted antennae. “Seriously?”
She started giggling. I got huffy. She tried to stop, failed, then after like fifteen minutes of laughing managed to stop. “Kyeli. All they do is put you on the next flight.”
I paled, I’m sure of it. “Really?”
“Really really. They may charge you a fee, but they usually don’t even do that.”
She nodded. “Really. I’ve done it before. You know me, it’s not unusual for me to be late.” She shrugged. “They put me on the next flight out without so much as a stern look. That was it; they didn’t even lose my luggage.”
“Oh.” I sat for a minute, feeling kind of silly. “Oh. Well. That’s not so bad.”
Pace put a comforting arm around me. “Indeed.”
What are you afraid of that might not be so bad, once you give it a good look?