It seems to me that some things in life should be certain. When I go to sleep, I want wake up in the same place. If I turn on the faucet, clean water comes out. And if I’m on a plane, it lands at its destination without cause for concern. What’s funny (and often what’s not) is that these things I wish to be certain enjoy their uncertain state more frequently than I would prefer.
Last year I got on a plane in Los Angeles destined for Sydney, Australia. As is normal with any flight, I expected to arrive at the destination. This seems fair right? After all, if I found that I wouldn’t make it to my destination beforehand, my imagination would run wild mostly with negative outcomes. You know, death, destruction and a surprisingly gruff airhostess yelling brace for impact. Nevertheless, my flight did not and could not reach its destination. At least not at first.
I’d been on this flight at least half a dozen times before. Flying to Sydney from LA almost felt normal, but this flight hadn’t been quite as pleasant. Turbulence has a way of losing its ‘fun factor’ sometime after the first hour of inconsistent air density. Somewhere near the middle of the flight, our pilot came on over the loud speaker. Now I don’t want to paint this story as if there was any sort of mass panic or chaos, but no matter the delivery, it’s hard not to feel a bit helpless when your pilot says that you cant make it to Australia with the current fuel reserves.
It’s also hard not to question how well plane rafts actually work, how strong of a swimmer you truly are, or if you truly understand the contents of the safety handout despite not reading it since the first time you entered a plane. I mean I know it’s bumpy, but should I get up and start doing some stretches before we go in the pool? Luckily, the situation was even less catastrophic than the pilot had calmly stated. In fact, this alternative sounded kind of fun.
“We will be landing in Fiji to refuel.” Now, I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a bad deal.
Several hours a few gallons of jet fuel later, I was back in the air delighting in how disrupted my flight plan had become. This actually happens to me quite often. I’m sure other people think I’m a bit off, but I actually get really excited when something has gone wrong.
Sure, it can be nerve-racking, or down right scary, but it can also be fun. Out of nowhere you are thrust into a new experience in which you could not have possibly placed yourself. If you’re really lucky it’s an overly brief trip to a tarmac in Fiji.
More often than not, it’s at least good story. All this for an off-chance upset to your routine.
It seems to me that without these little upsets we would miss out on a whole lot of life. As a matter of fact, I strongly believe that if everything went exactly as we thought it would, most of us would be so deeply stuck in a rut that we wouldn’t be able to see over the edges.
Take these little hiccups in stride. Be thankful for the flat tires and the road closures. Praise the disruptions.