The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Fear of Flying

The few times I flew in a plane as a kid, I really loved it. You couldn't get me away from the window, watching the people and cars get smaller and smaller. We got so high up, the clouds looked like they were coming out the ground in huge billowy columns. Before the knowledge of the amount of school I'd have to have killed the desire, I wanted to become an astronaut; I'd look up at the darker shade of blue sky up there and wondered how far I was from outer space.

For whatever reason, I didn't fly from the time when I was about 11 to about 25, when I flew back to the East Coast after my mom and brother moved out to Arizona in 1996. I made sure to have the window seat and I was beyond psyched, it looked like I was going to have the whole row to myself.

Right as the stewardess tried to shut the door, two late-comers pushed through the door- a mother and child- and guess where they were sitting. The mom was a bit, quite a bit, overweight and her 3 year-old had more than the standard share of precociousness. Despite his mother's timid protests, the boy wouldn't keep his seatbelt on and kept putting the tray table down. Anyone who has flown knows what a big no-no this is, even if we don't know why. Only after gaining the ire of the stewardess did the mom get him to settle enough to bounce away, strapped in his seat.

Once the seatbelt sign turned off, the mom asked if he wanted to sit on her lap. Since she was sitting in the center seat, her perching him on her ample girth created a wall of flesh that sealed me off from the rest of the plane. I angled myself toward the window to pay more attention to the majesty of this great country and less on the squirmy and increasingly musky mass next to me.

I started writing a letter to the now-defunct 'zine Ben is Dead about their exclusion of Some Kind of Wonderful in one of their "Retro Hell" issues. This movie had been the quite bone of contention with me and my friends, mainly due to the "Lea Thompson vs. Mary Stewart Masterson" debate (I wrote a post about it here). Basically, I thought with all the attention that Eric Stoltz paid to..... holy shit, what's that unholy shaking? I realize now with many flights under my belt that I was lucky that my plane trips before were exceptionally smooth, but this one was weathering a fairly robust amount of turbulence that my young rowmate thought was hilarious. The fact that we were seated next to a wing only made the situation more terrifing, the wing looked like it was moving independently of the rest of the plane, making it seem like we were riding on a ungainly metal bird.

The anxiety didn't ease when we approached the safety of the ground as my ears felt like they'd explode. I tried to muster a dry pressure equalizing swallow, having drank the last of my water long ago. But I landed and survived, of course.

I have flown many times since- about seven times in the past 12 months, in fact- and I haven't recaptured that magic feeling I had as a tyke, but I have landed and survived everytime and that's the more important thing.

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