Meltdown at 30,000 Feet

Don’t know whether it was a drop in cabin pressure, sheer exhaustion, the realization that I truly was going home to an empty nest, or the fact that I was just getting too old to to do so much in such a short time, with little rest, lousy eating habits, too many cigarettes and a medication imbalance. Could be that I was suffering from claustrophobia because the guy next to me was huge, not to mention wreaking of body odor and bad breath. I just wanted to scream. My first flight was late, landing after the second flight was already boarding, at two opposite ends of two diametrically opposed terminals, and if it wasn’t politically incorrect to say so, I would tell you that I ran through the airport like O.J., made it to board in time, only to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes waiting to take off.

The meltdown actually began long before I ever reached the airport. In fact, its genesis wasn’t even revealed to me until the next day, when a physician explained to me that I was in a full-blown, acute relapse of my fibromyalgia. That explained a lot.

It explained why I abruptly attempted to give notice at my job ten days prior, when I needed to be working, and didn’t really want to resign. I had been unhappy about several things, though none of them, insurmountable. It explained why the recent several weeks found me weeping over television commercials or stories on Facebook™ or the news. It certainly was the reason I had difficulty getting out of bed or bending over or sitting for longer than fifteen minutes, or even keeping the covers over me during the night.

Granted, my life had been full of emotional challenges in the past two weeks. I had to put the dog to sleep… my best friend. I found myself moving my daughter to a city one thousand miles away to start a new job and a new life. And if those challenges weren’t enough emotionally, I encountered significant financial trials as a result of those things and unexpected major household repairs. Isn’t that always the way? Financial pressure always wreaks havoc on one’s emotions. So do termites… and I didn’t even know that until after my meltdown.

So I sat between Mutt and Jeff (or The Odd Couple), in the seats that seem to get tighter and tighter each time I fly, and wept. No, it wasn’t weeping, it was absolute convulsive crying. I was never a very good flyer. I usually succumb to white-knuckled anxiety. This time, however, I didn’t even notice the take-off.

Suddenly, just after the pilot announced that we had reached our cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, I blurted out, “I need chocolate.” The lovely man sitting next to the window handed me a granola bar. “It has a few chocolate chips, if that will help.” Nice to know there are some people that just get it.

The three of us flew silently back to south Florida. When I got in the car, and kissed my husband hello, I immediately talked about planning a trip back to visit our daughter, and that we needed to make the reservations soon if we were going to travel on a holiday weekend. (I’ll pack chocolate with me this time.)


3 thoughts on “Meltdown at 30,000 Feet

    1. I appreciate your comment. I don’t know if you backread any of my posts, but I originally started this as a therapy for dealing with the empty nest. It began with stories and vignettes about parenting, until I had to really face the fact that there wasn’t anyone but my husband and me living there anymore. No more extra-long dining room tables filled with teenagers scarfing down whatever I cooked. No more pacing the halls at three in the morning wondering where they were, if they were safe, and if they were having fun, why didn’t they invite me!!! I wanted eventually to craft it into a book of some kind… maybe a cookbook on how to cut your recipes in half; or an advice book (but I express opinion and send advice by freight). Anyway, thanks for reading.


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