Flying Again – it seems like that is the only time I really have to write – because I am captive in my chair with my laptop and my brain. Ah, that brain.
Flying on 9/11 is a sobering experience. Thinking of the lives that were lost, the souls on those planes that went down…yet here I am flying carefree to my pleasant destination. The scenario went through my mind repeatedly “no terrorist is going to try and pull off another 9-11 on 9-11, that would be ludicrous.” Yet it still haunted me. “They’ll step up security, it will be fine.” Then came the announcement on the news that they had no intentions to heighten security on the 6th anniversary of one of this nation’s darkest days. But “the pilots have guns now, and those cockpit doors, those are bulletproof, right?” Well, aren’t they? Okay, so then I started wondering exactly how big are the guns the pilots have? Can they effectively defend the plane? If not, can I bring my own?
I figured airport security probably wouldn’t appreciate me bringing my own weapons on board in hopes of defending the plane from a terrorist hijacking. I’m certainly no Agent Night. But I do know, and I will guarantee anyone, there is no way in hell I would sit there and let a plane go down. If I’m going to die, I’m going to die fighting.
So when the non-American woman behind the counter at the news shop handed me a free SoyJoy bar, I was suspicious. “Free sample,” she had said with her accent. “Free?” I repeated? “Yes,” she smiled. I just spent over three dollars on a Blue Crab magnet and she is giving me something free? Oh no no no, something fishy is going on here. But I smiled and thanked her and walked away with the bar. I squeezed all the air into one end of it to see if it was still sealed. And I heartily inspected the labeling, making sure all the English words were spelled properly and that they made grammatical sense. It seemed above board, but all I could think was this was a bar of C4 and everyone today was given a free sample and that is how they are going to blow up the plane. Okay, so I have a bit of an imagination.
I was assured by a number of people not to worry because no one in their right mind would fly on 9-11. That’s supposed to comfort me? I hardly call people willing to kill themselves to make a political statement “in their right mind.” Come on. The airport was fairly empty, but my flight was not. Passengers were busily placing their luggage in the overhead compartments and taking their seats. I had watched each person board – scanning and analyzing their terrorist potential. I looked for people flying alone, or very serious looking people – or disgruntled looking people as well. But no one had fit my profiling, and it seemed that perhaps all my nervousness beforehand had been unnecessary. But they hadn’t closed the doors yet and it had been at least five minutes since the last person boarded. That seemed strange.
Then a Muslim family boarded. Dark-skinned, a father, two boys, a little girl, and a mother who was wearing a head-wrap – I actually felt badly for them. Were they held up in security? Or did the airline want everyone else on board first? I am still unsure.
Now a good hour into the flight, I am fairly certain it should be incident free. Normally I would be able to sleep on a flight, but today, thinking of the fallen heroes, victims, and the innocent lives lost…that weighs too heavily on my mind for sleep.
K. S. Brooks is an author and photographer. © 2007