I don’t have a fear of flying. I have a fear of doing anything else at 30,000 feet.
Yesterday I was on a flight out of Seattle. The man in the seat next to me kept staring out the window at the propeller. Now, I don’t know anything about planes, and frankly, I try not to think about what’s holding them up in the air. (My best guess is magic.) But he’d already mentioned that his last job was with [insert name of famous jet engine manufacturer] so I couldn’t help asking.
Me: Is everything okay?
Him: I’ve never actually flown on one of these planes before. If that thing goes [chin jerk toward propeller right outside my window] our only chance—and it’s not a very good one—is if it heads the other way.
Him: Yeah, my job at [aforementioned jet engine manufacturer] was to make sure all those nuts and bolts stay in the engine case where they belong. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Him: Remember the time the bolts came off and the propeller took out the top of that plane and the pilot managed to land? He saved a lot of lives, but of course the passengers next to the propeller were all killed. They didn’t even find all the bits of them.
Me: I didn’t remember that, but I can guarantee that I’ll be giving it some thought the rest of this trip. So… wonder if any of our fellow passengers have been exposed to Ebola lately?
Him: [goes back to staring at the propeller.]
So let’s review:
What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you on a plane?