Early signs of sleep deprivation began to set in on the second leg. Too excited to sleep, I was also too excited to notice that I hadn’t. My first sights of Europe (well, from outside the airport, at least) were still a full day away from me. Heading towards Dublin under the dark of night, there was no chance of seeing the Atlantic. I watched the flight tracker, obsessively for God knows how many hours, instead.
Watching flight trackers is a deceptive hobby. Your airplane is nowhere near as large as it appears on the map. Were it so out of proportion, the main cabin would be the size of a Great Lake and one of the wings as long as New Jersey. Poor bird wouldn't stand a chance.
Cristina napped for most of the nearly 3,000-mile, six-hour flight between Boston and Dublin. It’s a frequently flown route, believe it or not. The Irish have been coming to Boston since the famine, forming the city’s largest ethnic group. Roman-Catholic-Irish catholicism runs deep in South Boston, from Marky Mark all the way down to his Funky Bunch. Her Lingus has been the official paddy wagon between Potatoville and Beantown since the sixties.
My eyes were fixed on the tracker. I read the temperature outside was in the negative sixties. That was much colder than I ever imagined.
I’ve long suffered from strange paranoid fantasies about dying in a Final Destination plane crash. These hallucinations are either aerophobic or aviophobic; the Internet is unclear about which. Either way, these waking nightmares are more of a passing preoccupation than a phobia. They always go something like this:
I see the top of the plane peeled back as if by a giant can opener. People scream while being thrown helplessly to their deaths, doomed to drop 40,000-feet through the clouds. I white-knuckle my armrests as my oxygen mask dangles before me, reminding me to breathe. I'm just about to let go, and then I wake up.
I now realize a new pain these fantasies overlooked. Until my flight to Ireland, I never realized how cold it would be if that actually happened. Negative sixty-six degrees... can you imagine?