Yesterday I took my first business trip with my new job. I fly fairly often, but it makes me nervous. (Unnecessarily so. I am, as I have mentioned before, an aerospace engineer. I know how commercial aircraft work. In terms of safety, a jet beats just about everything except sitting still not doing anything, and even then you have to worry about things like blood clots and obesity and muscle degradation.)
With my old job, I traveled much more often, but I was only going from the San Francisco Bay Area to LA.
Reasons why this was the best airtravel commute ever:
1. Same time zone
2. Less than an hour actually in the air
3. Low probability of turbulence
4. If you have to stay through the weekend, you can go to Disneyland
Disneyland! Happiest place on Earth.
Anyway. Now I no longer live in California nor travel to California and the whole business trip thing is more of a big deal. (Also, I had to go to a facility I’ve never been before and I didn’t know what building I was supposed to be in and I was late. Rawr.) That’s why this entry is again on Tuesday instead of Monday. I bet you guys didn’t even know I was supposed to be posting on Mondays, based on my success rate.
Anyway, flying always brings out the worst in me. I begin to think of things that could go wrong. Not things like “Oh God what if the plane falls out of the sky?” because realistically I know that doesn’t happen. Things like “I have a giant, swollen bruise on my leg (because I knocked it hard against the corner of a flatbed cart at Home Depot because I was paying more attention to moving the 120 lb grill than as to where the cart was) – what if it sends a blood clot to my brain?” or “If you were pregnant and didn’t know it would the x-ray scanners damage the embryo?” My imagination gets very grim around airports.
Even though I find it kind of disturbing, these “what ifs” are one of the greatest tools a speculative fiction writer – or any writer, really – have in their arsenal. What if there were a secret magical society hidden within our own? What if the ancient gods were real? What if our country declared war on China?
The answers to these questions and others have produced some amazing works of literature. As distressful as my imagination can be at times, I would still take that over not questioning anything at all.