Planet Earth is Blue and There’s Nothing I Can Do

I have my less-than-impressive surface area and X chromosomes to thank for my low alcohol tolerance. It’s not like I can put “holding my liquor” on a resume or impress my parents with it– but it would be nice to be less of a goober about it.

I should probably stop drinking out of glasses bigger than I am.

I should probably stop drinking out of glasses bigger than I am.

My Top Three Favorite Things To Do When I Drink

3. I really want to sing along with the Counting Crows and only the Counting Crows. Forever.
2. I hug my friend Jeff a lot. This is a marked departure from my normal attitude.
1. I rant enthusiastically about THE FUTURE. Not in a helpful, “What am I doing with the rest of my life?” sense, and not even in a deep “Where is the world headed?” sense. I’m more like an inescapable Epcot attraction. If you give me a beer, you’ve bought a ticket to an endless, giddy show based on the premise that THIS IS THE FUTURE. WE LIVE IN IT.

We don’t have hover boards or flying cars, but if you don’t get a little freaked out about how awesome the world around us is all the time, something’s wrong with you.

It Is The Distant Future

– My phone is not only smarter than me, it makes better life choices than I do.
– I have thousands of songs on an elderly iPod, which is smaller than a deck of cards. Friends tease me about its age a lot, even though, you know, I can instantly pull up a song by people who have ceased to exist.
– Our society is so indifferent to robots, we make them clean our homesfight our wars, and go on terrible dates.
– You can read this seconds after I post it from  the other side of the world. It used to take a malnourished orphan boy 10 days to deliver messages from New York to San Francisco, and he was only slightly more reliable than a smoke signal.

More like the Puny Express, am I right?

More like the Puny Express, am I right?

I’ll eventually become jaded about sexy robots and cell phones smarter than your honor student. The one thing I will never get over, however, is a technology that even my grandparents have stopped caring about. I’ll never be able to wrap my head around airplanes.

If Alexander Graham Bell said to me, “I’ve invented a device which allows you to speak to someone thousands of miles away over a wire!” I would have said, “Sounds like it will increase my awkwardness by 10,000%, but society benefits! Nice job, Graham Cracker.”

Obviously if Bell and I are hanging out, I'm calling him Graham Cracker.

Obviously if Bell and I are hanging out, I’m calling him Graham Cracker.

If the Wright brothers said, “We’ve invented a flying machine!” I would have stared at them in horror.

“This is an abomination against God!” I would have yelled. “He gave us feet for walking and propping in motorized scooters when we get too fat to do that! Come back inside. Have a cookie.”

My own attempts to invent the airplane would have relied heavily on hollow balsa wood, cotton candy, and bubble detergent. My main strategy would have involved jumping off rocks of various heights and trying to do an air-borne breaststroke. Bernoulli and his principle are beyond me, is what I’m saying.

When my head is its usual five feet and four inches above the earth, I love flying. I joke around with the ticket agents when I check in. I try not to think about how the backscatter machine is letting strangers know I haven’t been to the gym. I listen attentively while the flight attendant tells me how to use my seat as a flotation device. I’m great at flying.

Right up until we take off.

Aches on a Plane

Thought #1: Wait. Why did I think it was a good idea to get into a giant metal tube, attached to jet engines, to fly through the air at absurd speeds?
Thought #2: I could have walked from Denver to D.C. if I’d left a little earlier.
Thought #3: This seatbelt is a placebo, isn’t it? The flight attendant didn’t check it. You get on a roller coaster and go maybe 100 miles per hour, the attendant checks your seatbelt three times. I’m hurtling through the atmosphere at 600 mph AND NO ONE CHECKED MY SEATBELT.
Thought #4: This plane is metal. Metal is heavier than air. I am heavier than air. Together, metal and I are much heavier than air. This should not be possible. NO! Don’t think that. Airplanes are like fairies. You have to believe in them to keep them flying. I believe in physics, I believe in physics, I believe in physics.
Thought #5: How is she reading People at a time like this? We are 30,000 feet in the air, in something that weighs thousands of pounds, and she is reading about Ryan Gosling’s abs. I believe in physics. I believe in physics.

I can't help but wish that Bernoulli had Ryan Gosling's abs, though.

I can’t help but wish that Bernoulli had Ryan Gosling’s abs, though.

Thought #6: I should start competing magazines called Places and Things. Why should People command the noun-based magazine market? Shut up. That’s so stupid.
Thought #7: Hello, Stephanie. It’s me, the rational, civilized part of your brain. I’ve ranked turbulence from one to 10. A one indicates small bumps, and a 10 is what you’d feel in an elevator falling one million stories directly into a giant blender. I wanted to let you know that should we experience anything higher than a three on the scale, I will completely abandon you, taking all humanity with me and leaving you an empty, screaming shell. Best of luck!
Thought #8: I believe in physics (Will Rogers), I believe in physics (John Denver), I believe in physics (Half of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Big Bopper, Richie Valens, Buddy Holly.), I BELIEVE IN PHYSICS (EVERYONE ON THE PLANE THE SPINOSAURUS EATS IN JURASSIC PARK THREE), I BELIEVE IN PHYSICS!
Thought #9: We’re here? Amazing! It used to take people five months and three bouts of dysentary to do what I just did in four hours without going to the bathroom once!
Thought #10: I could totally be an astronaut.


  1. linbritt

    I’m in Australia and I think I read this about 1minute after you wrote it!! I don’t like to think about flying while I’m in a plane either. Seriously, how do they stay up???

  2. Animockery

    Very funny post, I think you may have channeled my wife’s thoughts about flying on this. She is a super modern woman who loves gadgets and all of that. When it comes to flying she foes from 24 to 94 and starts saying things like “if god wanted you to fly he would have made you a duck!”

  3. haileyjw

    This is the best thing I’ve read in a whole year! You are amazing and when I take my 9 hour adventure of danger in said metal tube across shark infested waters this March, I will think of not only ALL of this, but repeat “I believe in physics” until the woman next to me hits me over the head with the People. Or Places or Things if you’ve got around to tapping that market by then. xx

  4. musingsoftheamusingmuse

    I like to fly with a prince… Prince Valium that is… and his twin, also known as Prince Valium. Should the metal tubes with jet engines, hurtling through the air at 30,000 feet hit turbulence above level 3 and I’m white-knuckling the armrests ready to scream at and/or punch anyone who looks like they may block my way…. I have the princes to calm me down. ;)

  5. Rashmi

    Ha ha ha ha… my husband is like that about flying. He says he can accept any technology, but can’t stop being amazed everytime he thinks about flying. And i agree with you – something must be with people who don’t freak out about how awesome the world around is all the time! Great post. I’m also a list person, btw, though mine are almost exclusively boring lists.

  6. Browsing the Atlas

    I love the martini glass you’re holding. It reminds me of the huge wineglass “Carl” that Courtney Cox drinks from on “Cougartown.” Then she broke Carl and now uses a Big Betty glass. My husband got me one for Christmas. It holds an entire bottle of wine.

    Which could be very helpful before getting on planes…

  7. gabrielgarbowota

    This made my day. I fly a few times a year, and have never completely gotten rid of the panic. It creeps in for a little while, then wanders off, as my body’s natural defense kicks in – – sleep. Your homages to the recently re-emergent Bowie are also appreciated.

  8. Emily

    Your writing is wonderful. Hilarious, quirky, and totally understandable at the same time. I love flying just FOR the scary bits, but I was right along with you the entire post. Cheers.

  9. DoodlebugInk

    $25 dollars a week for a daily does of death defying action? What more could an orphan want? We have to pay for that kind of thrill. And airplane tickets aren’t cheap.

    Thanks for the laugh and for the insight on why the person next to me on the plane keeps giving me and my magazine nervous looks.

    I’ll definitely be back to read more.

  10. Pingback: Look at Me, I’m-a Shattered | Listful Thinking
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