13 March 2011

Weeping on a jet plane...

Nope, I haven't come over all John Denver (although I really should get a 'bad pun alert' symbol for these posts), but I have been hanging out with far too many jet planes of late.  A few days back what should have been a simple journey to get home to Seoul from Melbourne turned in to a 24 hour, 3 flight ordeal with an endless array of hideous inflight meals, too-brief stolen moments of sleep and bad, oh so bad, rom-coms.

And one thing that this never ending journey showed is that I cry on aeroplanes.  I know what you're thinking ('freak!'), and I guess I'm kind of thinking that too.  But it's true.  For some reason being crammed sardine-style in a tin can, trying not to move my elbows while immaculately groomed ladies serve me miniature bottles of barely drinkable wine makes me go all weepy.

I guess it kind of makes sense - flying does put me in a slightly vulnerable state.  Partly because I've normally just said goodbye to family, friends and/or dachshunds before hopping on the death box wonder of modern engineering and partly because I'm expending a whole lot of energy trying to ignore that voice (you know the one, it says 'we are all going to die').  But whatever the cause, if a vaguely emotional song comes up on the iTunes shuffle, or if there's a particularly touching add for HSBC on the TV, or if there's a sweet old couple sitting next to me, I tear up when I'm on a plane.

So next time you fly, if the lady in the seat next to you starts to sniffle when the Change for Good promo comes on, say 'hi' okay?


  1. i am prone to crying anywhere. everywhere. especially airplanes though. (i cry if i get too hungry, too tired, too hot, too confused etc. i think i'm about 6mths old in terms of coping mechanisms)

    last year after getting back to melbourne from LA i burst into tears on touch-down and sniffled my way off the plane and through security etc (which took 3 hrs). at first it was tears of having to leave LA, and then it was tears of rage at spending 3 hrs in various queues and then it was tears of exhaustion. by the time we got to the last queue - for customs, i looked insane obviously, because they shuffled us through in about 5 seconds. nothing to declare except my insane emotional state!

  2. You are are not alone. I've found myself sniffling over more than a few in-flight movies. And not movies you would usually sniffle over.
    I think this is actually something of a phenomenon. In fact, NPR (maybe it was "This American Life"?) did a story a while back on people who aren't normally cryers but for some reason cry on airplanes. One guy confessed to crying over the movie "Beverly Hills Chihuahua." Now, that's bad.

  3. I don't cry on planes, but I do cry over many things, including heights. Once I was hiking with friends in the Grampians and we reached the peak of our hike up a rocky outcrop overlooking a sheer drop-off to the valley below. I'm sure it was beautiful, but I wasn't brave enough to stick around and admire it. My four friends decided it'd be a great place to set up the lunch picnic!

    I cried my way down – alone – out of both fear and sadness that I was the only one in the team too chicken-shit to enjoy tuna on rye while teetering the edge of certain death.

  4. how weird, I totally agree -I am normally incredibly emotionally stoic but give me a soppy movie on a plane and I am a weeping wreck! perhaps you're right, our vulnerability rises sky high (like the pun?) when indulging in air travel.

  5. I don;t cry on planes but do become quite melancholic, (that's when I am not completely panic stricken because the engine noise has changed). I am particularly effected when I allow those thoughts about the plane suddenly plunging headfirst out of the sky to enter my head and I realise I would end my life surrounded by strangers with whom I have no connection with, while the people I love and hold dear are elsewhere.

    It's not weird at all, flying is a time when we have very little control over what happens, airports are horrible impersonal places and there is nothing affirming about having to juggle around flights with very little sleep - so weep away....

  6. Gosh, I'm a mess when I fly ... though it's mainly due to saying goodbye to family, friends, or a favourite destination ...

    Perhaps flights make us all a little emotional for a myriad of different reasons?


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