This post is in response to a prompt from Kelly at *Weekly Anamnesis.*  I like Kelly’s word prompts to help me think of something to write.  She is not picky about when someone uses a word.  It can be a word from previous weeks, which I have done before.  But today I am using “Smelly” which is actually this week’s word. Anyone is welcome to use her prompts.  Just go there and follow the instructions. I love to see what different people write about the same word prompt.

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click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

When I first saw Kelly’s word this week, I thought of several things about which I could write.  I have an incredible sense of smell.  The problem was which thing relating to smell should I address?  I had several ideas, but was not sure I wanted to go down those paths.  Then I thought of another post I have been wanting to do for a long time, and it involves “smelly stuff.”  I had it planned for last Friday.  But last Friday was not a good day for me.  Fridays are always busy–probably my busiest day (which is why my usual Friday post has been sporadic since school started), but last Friday was the worst yet.  So no post about smelly stuff.  No post at all. And that post will have to wait because for ME (not you, but this is my blog), that is a Friday-specific post.  I will try again next week.

So that left me with what should I write about for Kelly’s prompt?  I still cannot really decide, so I will just tell you a few things about me and my wonderful sense of smell.

Having an acute sense of smell, as you can imagine (or know if you have one, too), is not always good.  In fact, sometimes it is very, very bad.

Like the time I was on a six-hour flight to Iceland a week after having my wisdom teeth pulled.  I was still a little sick from the anesthesia.  (Anesthesia and me are not the best of friends, although I would suffer through the effects of it every dental appointment if allowed.)  I am pretty sure this was after I learned to be afraid of flying, and the flight was more than a little bumpy.  It was bumpy enough that my ginger ale was sloshing over the side of the cup. 

Icelandair in earlier days (I do not know about now) was a wonderful airline, except that it was crowded.  They would cram six seat across when most planes would have five.  And I think cram four rows where most airlines had three.  Something like that.  On this particular flight, there was not an empty seat, and there were a bunch of demanding people on board.  I do not remember where they were from.  All I remember is that they were continually making demands from the flight attendants, who were bouncing around bringing them this and that.  My ginger ale was gone, and I had politely asked for more.  They forgot about me in the mess.  (I LOVE Icelandair flight attendants; it was not them that was the problem.) 

In addition to this, I was in a middle seat.  I would never get a middle seat now.  NEVER.  But then it could not be helped.  On one side of me was someone who should have purchased two seats.  I had about half of my seat available for my use.  (A six-hour flight, mind you.) And on the other side of me was a girl who was smelly. She was thin, and we could have shared some space, but I know she had not showered or bathed in more than a week.  (Or maybe she had just finished a marathon and had neglected cleaning up.) Remember my queasy stomach?  This was not a good time to have a good sense of smell. 

Waiting for more ginger ale, I sat and sat and sat and watched things bump and slosh. My nausea increased.  I turned the air full force on me in hopes of relieving some of the sickness, but to no avail. Finally, I realized I had no choice but to make my way to a lavatory. This was long before “September 11,” and the line for the lavatory was at least 15 people long.  Knowing I was good at holding back throwing up, I was still uneasy about the line.  I took the bag in the seat pocket in front of me with me. 

Time was irrelevant as I stood in that line. I have no idea how long I was there. I only remember focusing on things other than how I felt. I actually felt the smallest bit better after getting away from the smelly girl, but things had gotten too far before I left.  When I made it to the lavatory, I threw up.  I was proud for not doing it in the aisle-way (which would have caused a chain-reaction if anyone near were anything like me), but I had never done that on a plane before. 

Feeling enough better to survive, I returned to my seat, climbed over the sleeping, smelly girl and sat on the half of my seat that was left due to the very large sleeping man next to me. Unfortunately, I never sleep on planes.  I wish I could, but sleep always eludes me. As I sat down, the flight attendant brought my ginger ale. The rest of the flight would be better…

When women are pregnant, often their sense of smell heightens. For me, I knew every time I was pregnant before any test would show it (other than a blood test) by the things I smelled. It is no wonder women get morning round-the-clock sickness those first weeks (16 weeks for me) of pregnancy. Every time I remember smelling cows when I knew the nearest ones were several miles away.

But having a keen sense of smell has some benefits. I can smell my roses when I am coming up the street from someone else’s house. When visiting my family in Missouri in May, I can smell the honeysuckle hundreds of yards away.  What an intoxicating scent that one is! Scents I love can completely change the course of my day.  My days are stressful, but the right candle, my favorite perfume, the bread baking in the oven, rain or a million other beautiful smells can nearly make me forget my stress.

Hopefully, this Friday will clue you into my “smelly stuff” post.  It really is not about “smelly stuff,” but that plays a part which is why I was going to use it with this prompt.  It will be a fun one when I get to it.  It has something to do with Prince Charming, so be on the lookout.  (I am pretty much duty bound to get that done this week now, am I not?)

Each weekend David McMahon at Authorblog asks a question and asks readers to answer it on their own blogs. This week’s question is here.

The question is: Are you a nervous traveller?

Most of the time I would say that I am, but if it is a car trip and I am not driving, I am not nervous at all.  However, if it is a trip in which I am going to be driving all day with just my girls, then I am nervous.  I have no idea about what I am nervous , but I usually have difficulty sleeping the night before the big trip.  It is a strange phenomenon because I do not mind driving.  Just my neurotic uptight personality, I guess.

But my real nerves come when flying somewhere.  If it were not that flying is so fast and convenient, I would probably never do it.  I actually used to love it and had no fear whatsoever, but sometime in my twenties I was in a plane (a Cessna something-or-another with one engine and six seats, though I would not have volunteered to have the 5th or 6th seat!) owned by the company which employed me.  This trip was an all-day journey from southwest Missouri to Michigan and back, the purpose being to pick up two passengers in Michigan.

The trip began wonderfully.  I loved flying, and it was exciting because it was going to be a stormy day.  The weather radar showed cells building all around us.  On the way to Michigan, I sat next to the pilot with headphones on so I could hear what was going on.  Periodically we would get close to some cells, and turbulence would cause us to gain or lose a couple hundred feet of alititude at a time.  We were being buffeted like a feather in the wind, and it was exciting.  I would watch the radar and hope we would get closer to more cells.  I imagined myself taking flying lessons. The clouds we flew among were enormous, and the combination of their beauty and the bouncing made the flight seem like a surreal amusement park ride.  I was enjoying every second of it.

After picking up the passengers, we headed back.  I was relating to the passengers my exciting version of the trip so far and telling them how much fun I was SURE the return trip would be.  (Famous last words.)  We all settled in with our own good books and water handy.  Small squeals were heard when we hit good bumps.

The number of cells around us started increasing rapidly, and it came to the point that we were constantly in cells, trying to avoid the worst ones.  Still having entirely too much fun, I was hoping we could not avoid them because it was such a blast to bounce around in them.  The clouds were no longer pretty, however.  They had closed around us to make the scenery little more than grey.  Then, through my headphones, I heard we were headed for a tornado.  Now I have always wanted to see a tornado; I grew up right next to a “tornado alley,” but had never seen one.  But the nerves started to intrude at this point.  For one, it was so stormy and cloudy, that I did not think we would be able to see it unless we were IN it.  As much fun as the bumps were, the tornado did not seem like something that would be fun.  I suddenly was thoroughly unimpressed with slipping through the air with no visibility.  (And all thought of flying lessons bounced out of my head somewhere along the line.)

We never saw the tornado, nor did we get caught in it.  But my cavalier demeanor had already diminished, and it seemed there was no end in sight to the storm.  We were continually bumped and battered.  I was not terrified, but it was not exactly pleasurable anymore.  Then there was the Giant Bump.  Our little plane that had been previously flying with wings parallel to the ground was now flying with wings nearly perpendicular to the ground.  We apparently lost altitude during this as well because I remember all our water bottles being suspended in mid-air for what seemed like 3 minutes, but I know it was probably less than ten seconds.  The pilot did not “right” our plane in less than ten seconds, however.  Again, time was standing still, but it took more than a few seconds to get us flying level again.  I remember seeing the determined look on his face as he put all his strength into holding the plane as steady as he could.

No one knew, but my head was a mess the rest of the flight.  I prayed repeatedly for a safe landing, pretty sure my prayers would not be positely answered.  I watched the radar like a hawk to see what was ahead.  The pilot requested a different route because ours was so dangerous, but there were no. other. ways.  The storm had grown into a massive severe thunderstorm so big that going around it would mean running out of fuel.  My white knuckles clutched the armrests as we made our way home.

When we got below the clouds, it was calm.  I could not believe we had endured such turbulence and came into such relative calmness.  I did not kiss the ground when we exited the aircraft, but I wanted to.  The pilot who always had a terrific sense of humor said, “Cheated death again,” as we pulled up to the terminal.

Since then I have never liked to fly.  It is a necessary evil, and I do it, but without the least amount of joy.  I do not drink, but I always get on a flight and say that I am ready to take up drinking.  It is usually better than I expect it to be, but my nerves have never completely subsided. 

But what makes it worse is all the sounds and smells on commercial airliners that have no explanation.  When I am on a plane and hear a loud noise, then smell smoke, and no one bothers to say anything, am I supposed to just think all is fine?  Am I the only one on the aircraft that is concerned at that moment?

 

The last time I flew was with Prince Charming to Winnipeg for our 10th Anniversary.  One of the sounds I heard was an alarm bell.  No explanation.  If it is not something worthy of alarm, one would think they might not make it sound like a 5-alarm fire.  Another sound was the captain pushing his “ding” button for some kind of signal to the flight crew or possibly the passengers.  It is my opinion that there should be a card in the seat pockets that gives the meaning of all noises and signals.  To me, a briefing of what noises mean what from the flight attendant rather than how to buckle my seatbelt might be useful.  When that “dingy” noise happens five times rapidly, that sounds a little like some sort of trouble brewing to me.  What is different about when it happens four times than when it happens five times?  What if it is only twice?  Call me crazy, but I want to know what all that means! Maybe if we knew, we would all be screaming in a panic.  (I wouldn’t because I panic quietly in my head–but just as violently as those screaming loudly.)  But I cannot help but think that if I knew what those sounds meant, I would be a little calmer.

Because here is the strange thing.  Although it was a bad experience on the little Cessna that made me terrified of flying in the first place, I would still prefer to fly in it than a big jet.  At least on the little plane, I can see the instruments and hear the radio traffic and know everything is fine.  Clearly everything has been fine on the big jets as well (or I would not be here writing this), but NOT knowing at the time ties my stomach in knots and makes my knuckles ache from clutching the armrests so violently.  Probably the right answer is Xanax, but I have never tried that.  I am pretty sure if I did, I would be a vegetable upon arrival.

What I really want to use is a transporter like in Star Trek.

by Louise Cannon