Actually, wait a minute. I've flown four times in the last month. It's been a little crazy. And during those flights, I did some breathing exercises, albeit very restrained ones. I inhaled air to keep my ears from popping. So there you go. That said, I found that though these exercises brought me some measure of comfort, they did little to affect my greater reality, namely, that I was on a huge beast of burden, my life in the hands of a couple of strangers, my actions directed by their commands. That reality is a sobering one, as much so as the pre-flight safety "instructions" are amusing. Why are they amusing, you ask? Because the attendants do very funny things with their hands and arms that I cannot follow. For example, I'm glad the planes I flew on didn't go down, cause I certainly wasn't ready to manipulate the oxygen-provider thingy. The attendant demonstrated the needed action so quickly the naked eye didn't follow. I also enjoy the drafting of passengers to help in case the emergency exits were needed. Actual exchange between stewardess and passenger: "Are you able and willing to serve if needed, sir? Yes, able and willing." Reminiscent of a commander sturdying his troops in the moment of battle, the attendant revealed her iron resolve to fulfill emergency exit protocol. Then she handed out little pretzels, and wouldn't give me a granola bar. Hmmph. Neither willing, nor able, I suppose.
The last thing I'll mention about my recent flying experience relates to the landing of planes. At that moment, when the Southwest puddle-jumper bounces on the tarmac, one is reminded that the plane is not an organic entity, dispensing little pretzels and smiles at a button's pressing. Rather, the plane is a metallic animal, foreign, unpredictable, capable of killing you. Kind of like the tiger at the zoo. It looks nice, and calm, and then--BOOM--you're without an appendage. On planes, mortality is your constant seat companion. That's cool, cause whenever God wants me to go, I'm able and willing to go. That is one pledge that I can definitely keep.