I was on my way home from a 4-day trip to visit relatives for Thanksgiving when a very cool, calm and collected Delta Airlines pilot — who sounded eerily like Denzel Washington — came on the intercom to announce …
“Folks, we were about to push back from the gate when an indicator light came on telling us there’s a problem with the battery charger. We’re trying to troubleshoot it with maintenance. I’ll let you know as soon as we know more.”
My overactive mind quickly translated this to: “The plane is broken. Even if maintenance fixes it, as soon as we take off, the engines will stall, the wings will fall off, the fuselage will crack open and you will all be sucked out into the skies over Georgia.”
Now, I’m not a particularly nervous flier. As an avid traveler, fear of flying would be quite inconvenient. I’m not afraid of flying. It’s crashing I have a problem with.
I normally fly in the company of my partner or with friends. On this particular trip, I was flying solo for the first time in about 10 years.
So for the next 90 minutes, I had the pleasure of distracting myself while the maintenance people tried to figure out what was wrong with the plane’s battery charger.
I took advantage of the free Wi-Fi to catch up with all my friends on Facebook and Twitter. When I had grown weary of that, I Googled “airplane battery charger” to see how crucial it was to keeping an aircraft flying. Turns out, since you can’t plug an airplane into a giant socket in the sky, the battery charger is what keeps all the electrical systems juiced while in flight.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t scared at all. In fact, I was really kind of annoyed that my plans for the afternoon would be delayed if we stayed on the ground much longer.
Death in an airline disaster really wasn’t on my mind until I started looking around at my fellow planemates.
Who would I turn to for comfort if we were suddenly instructed to assume the “kiss your ass goodbye” position? I didn’t want to die with any of these people.
At this point it didn’t help that the guy sitting directly behind me kept repeating, “I don’t want a plane with a broken charger. Put me on a new plane now.”
To me, however, the thought of deplaning and getting on another plane was even less appealing than the thought of dying.
And then my bucket list came clearly into focus. And just as quickly, it disappeared, replaced by the faces of the people who mean the most to me in life. The people I often take for granted and don’t say “I love you” to enough.
As you have probably figured out by now, my destiny that day was not to die onboard a Delta jet. But that close call in my mind reminded me of what’s really important — people. More specifically, the people who mean the most to me. And telling them how I feel about them is something I should do every day of my ife.
With this posting, I did just that.