• Fri, Apr 26 - 5:05 pm ET

Questions I Asked Myself As I Thought The Plane Might Crash


I’ve never classified myself as “strong.” In fact, I’m probably the most nervous, easily-frightened person I know. I am afraid of the dark. I am afraid of the sun. I am afraid of unfamiliar people, surroundings and situations. I am the first person to say, “Guys, I don’t think this is a good idea” and the last person to jump the fence. But for some reason, I’m strangely calm in situations where I think I might die.

I have been faced with the fear of death only twice: the first time, I’m not comfortable explaining publicly as of yet, but the second time was when I got hit by a car at 19. In the latter situation, I spent about 30 seconds wondering if I was dead, if my neck was broken, if I was bleeding. And then I got up and walked home and called an ambulance for myself. Obviously, I wasn’t injured badly enough that I couldn’t walk, so that certainly came into play, but these situations did teach me something: I cry when I fall down the stairs, but not when I get hit by cars or punched in the face or when I think the plane might go down.

About three weeks ago, I moved to New York City from Portland. Growing up, my father was a soccer coach, so we traveled constantly; that combined with my decision to go to college 2,500 miles away from my hometown resulted in having a lot of experience with flying. I’ve stayed overnight more than once next to gates, I have the perfect carryon bag mapped out to a science and I know how to navigate Chicago’s airport down to structuring my layovers like bar crawls. I am never nervous when we take off, nor land, unless I’m anxious about seeing somebody in particular at the airport (good or not-as-good).

During my redeye from LAX (where I stopped for a visit during my move) to JFK in New York, we started experiencing a bit of turbulence. It was the middle of the night so many people were asleep; I myself had been gently dozing off with a complimentary vodka cranberry in hand due to my designated television monitor not working. All the babies — as per usual on a redeye, there were like 10 of them screaming during take-off — had fallen into adorable slumbers. The woman to my right was snoring.

The jolt woke up a few people, but they quickly fell back asleep after a few minutes. Then, another jolt. The seatbelt sign went on and those in the bathrooms moseyed on back to their seats. Suddenly, a heavy bout of turbulence caused the plane to start shaking. The captain came on the speakers and told everyone to sit down and buckle up. Babies started crying, Even the flight attendants looked a little nervous, gripping the seats around them as they made sure everyone was sitting with their belts secured. The plane continued to rock, so much so that for a moment, my drink literally flew out of its glass up into the air and splashed back down. Babies began wailing, people started getting visibly frightened and I could see two women crying and praying.

Maybe it was the continuous turbulence, or maybe it was the fact that two drinks holds a bit more punch when you’re up in the sky and haven’t eaten in hours, but for a few minutes, I started asking myself some questions. They were weird, sad and confused, but mostly, they were surprising. I consider myself generally aware of how I feel regarding my life, but some of these made me wonder if I was as enlightened on myself as I’d thought.

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  • Sean

    Why do you walk funny Sam?

    • http://www.facebook.com/sameurysm Samantha Escobar

      I am pigeon-toed, have terrible depth perception and my fibromyalgia makes my balance poor, haha. But most people don’t notice unless the see me walk directly toward them or if I walk into a wall!

    • Sean

      I’m sorry. I’m sort of in the same boat. As I’ve mentioned to Amanda I have arthritis issues with my lower body, and a pretty high glasses prescription, so I understand walking into things and misjudging space. I’ve cracked the glass on several watches by smacking my shoulder or wrist off door frames, and broken drinking glasses because someone left them empty on the edge of a counter.

      I mean, I can hide these things behind meds and contact lenses, but not always, and that’s when people mistake me for drunk.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sameurysm Samantha Escobar

      Oh goodness, that sounds so painful. I’m sorry. Also, hey, high five @ high prescriptions! I’m a -9 in one eye and -8.5 in the other, last I checked. My glasses are silly-thick, so it’s nice to hear I’m not the only non-elderly person with enormously thick glasses!

    • Sean

      Yep, same, coke bottles all around. The good thing though, is the newer Nikon lenses can be made decently thin nowadays. Plus, with thicker “nerdy” frames being in right now, they hide a good lot of the lens thickness.

  • Nikola

    You have the prettiest eyes (that’s you in the makeup tutorials, right?). Not creepy at all!

    Feel free to ignore this question if too personal: I’ve been toying with the idea of moving to Portland, and it seems like you only lived there a short while. Was this because of the city itself, or other factors?

    • http://www.facebook.com/sameurysm Samantha Escobar

      Thank you so much! :) I appreciate it (and also am e-blushing).

      Portland was amazing. I moved here for work, so nothing to do with the city itself. Portland is cheap (in rent, food, booze and all other things) and beautiful, especially in the spring and summer. It’s also shockingly easy to make friends. You should definitely check it out!

  • MR

    Between North Eastham and Truro – quietest place on the Cape even during tourist season. Plus an easy distance to Provincetown for the live music and anything that ‘s not standard. Also keep your head up you’re doing fine. Hey, you’re mom’s older than me. :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/sameurysm Samantha Escobar

      How would you know how old my mother is?

    • MR

      I thought you said she was 54 in another article – what you can read without clicking on. Did I get it wrong?