It didn't help matters any when I discovered that we were flying Delta - personally, not an airline that inspires the utmost confidence in me. Also, flying an American carrier bound for the U.S. (Narita is a common stopover en route to the States) meant that there would be extra helpings of bullshit at the security queue.
It also didn't help that I had to be at the airport at 4:00 am, to wait for a 7:15 flight that would actually leave an hour later.
I've become increasingly unexcited about overseas trips, which is ironic because I once said I am happiest whenever I am leaving the country. Normally I go out the door heaving a heavy sigh of resignation, which quickly turns to annoyance going through the normal hassles of pre-departure routines at the airport. But I'm usually nonchalant once on the plane - just wanting to get to cruising altitude so I can mope in peace.
This was an especially arduous voyage because I had been paranoid for the weeks prior. And truth be told, the more I fly, the less I want to get onto airplanes. At 30,000 feet in the air, one is well and truly in God's hands.
My discomfort over this particular journey eventually became so acute that I surprised myself with a panic attack in the tube. I very nearly turned on my heels to go back to the counter and say I wasn't boarding the flight. Go figure. Strange things happen in our heads when we're not quite ourselves. Even plopped in my seat, I was still thinking of getting up and making an excuse about some emergency so that they would let me off the plane without being subjected to interrogation and a possible cavity check.
I was having some serious Final Destination issues.
Artist's rendition of idiot slowly going insane in the Mabuhay Lounge.
And because I was already a nutjob by this time, I kept repeating Storm's mantra in my head: "I must not allow myself to be ruled by my fears. I must not allow myself to be ruled by my fears." (The Uncanny X-Men, issue 101, when she was getting claustrophobic in Cassidy Keep just before dinner and shortly before Black Tom and the Juggernaut trapped all the X-Men in the dungeon, whereupon Storm went all-out batshit insane and was pretty useless for the next issue and a half. 'Nuff said.)
And speaking of storms, it also didn't help that we were flying into bad weather going into Japan. And I happen to like turbulence just as much as the next fearless frequent flier.
Turbulence. Yet another reassuring movie about airplanes.
Succor came in the form of a nice lady - the refreshingly down-to-earth wife of a low-key manufacturer- who engaged me in conversation all throughout the 4-hour flight. I normally enjoy my solitude on the plane but this was one time I was happy to have someone whose non-stop chattering presence became a source of soothing comfort.
Maybe I have mommy issues.
At any rate, despite my apprehensions, we landed uneventfully in Tokyo, where the weather was - contrary to forecasts - surprisingly good.
Shame it wouldn't stay that way.
Up Next : Oh! Tokyo