She’ll Be Right, Mate.

I haven’t flown on a plane in more than twenty years.  Here’s why:
It was 1987, and in my post-partum delirium, I decided that my eighteen month old daughter and I would fly to Australia –yes, THAT Australia… THAT Australia…the one that’s on the other side of the world, Australia…the one that takes 20 hours of air travel plus 60 additional hours of layover time…THAT Australia.

I was taking my daughter to meet her grandparents for the first time.  Did I mention she had the galloping shits?  Yes, she had diarrhea worse than I’d ever seen–most likely due to the half dozen crayons she’d eaten the previous night.  Before we even left the runway, my daughter had blown through three of the six diapers I’d packed for the journey–screaming as each loud and extremely moist fart belched from her anus, gagging the nice couple sitting next to us.  It was going to be a trip they’d never forget.

At the end of the first of our seventeen leg adventure, I stumbled through the plastic tunnel that led to LAX (and, God I hoped, a pack of Pampers.) I felt as though a five inch hole burned clear through my head.  An evil, burning hole made by every set of eyes belonging to the other passengers onboard the plane–everyone around me and my screaming, shit-exploding, diaper-rashed, wet farting, crayon munching, red hot ass of an 18 month old daughter.

The other 14 hours in the air were much the same.  But this was not the aviary event that’s kept me out of the friendly skies for  so long.  After a nice visit in Sydney (and a quick run to the drug store for some industrial strength Kaopectate,) my daughter whose ass was now the color of a Bermuda onion and I hopped a short flight to Brisbane.  It was a ‘small’ plane, piloted by a friendly man named ‘Captain Rusty.’  Captain Rusty warned us that there were some storms we’d be travelling through, so not to worry if we experienced some turbulence.  (“She’ll be right, mate.”)  As we approached Brisbane, it was clear to all of us onboard that we were in the middle of a ferocious storm–later referred to as “The Mighty Monsoon of 1987.”  It also became clear to us that we were all going to die.  Captain Rusty reassured us that we’d land as soon as possible and for now we’d leisurely circle the Brisbane Airport.  After an hour of circling, which also included: rocking, twirling, and nosediving, Captain Rusty’s voice came over the speaker…here’s a little audience participation for you. Do your best Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin (God rest his soul) impression and say this outloud, “Alright, folks…We’re gonna give this landing a try…Hold on…”  I held on–if holding on meant ripping through the faux leather arm rests–I held on.  For what seemed like an eternity, we weaved, we bobbed, and flew nearly sideways– like an Indy 500 car going up the bank on two wheels.  There were screams, a few extra loud “CRIKEYS,” and my daughter was so scared, she actually stopped shitting for the first time in three days.  Finally, Captain Rusty’s voice, “Well, we weren’t even close now, were we?”  The flight ended several hours later, with a solemn vow on my lips–that when I returned to the USA–I was NEVER going on a plane again.