Was it a sense of optimism that persuaded me to put my hair in bunches this morning? If so, it is a surprising state of mind to find myself in, given that the countdown is pretty much upon me. Perhaps it was because I happened across an episode of a chat show which featured Anne Hathaway doing a passable impersonation of Brittany Spears? Or maybe I was just frantically trying to distract myself from the Thursday deadline.

I was actually going to go with the tried and tested hair in a bunch, but somehow managed to grasp half my hair in my hand as I was brushing it and bunches just felt right. I guess the last time I wore my hair like that I was 13, but hey, what is 38 years anyway? Anyone who watched Dr Who knows that time is a wibbly wobbly thing and we should not get hung up on it too much.

Actually one of the items I do wear to work quite a lot at the moment is a team varsity jacket that we will be providing to a group of people later this year, so I pretty much had the full Brittany vibe going, even though by the time I walked into the office, I had pretty much forgotten about my hair until one of the girls laughed and made a comment. In reponse, I broke off into Hit Me Baby One more time with gusto:

‘Oh Baybee, Baybee, How wus I supp-ohst to knahw that something wuzn’t rah- hite?’

…until a chorus of complaints silenced me. It was the last comment someone made about my hair all day.

I have to get on a plane on Thursday and I think I am just behaving like a child to avoid thinking about my mortality, in the same way a middle aged man will dye his hair and buy a sports car to reclaim his youth. I was about as successful, and looked pretty much as foolish, but a girl’s gotta try, right? I had the small bottle of Xanax that had been prescribed for me the last time I flew in my bag, to remind me to book an appointment with the Doctor. I don’t like taking them so the almost full bottle that I still have expired in 2011.

Actually I don’t find they work very well in calming anxiety, unless I wash them down with a pint, which of course you are not supposed to do. I think the best flight I had was one pill and two pints, but that was when I was going on holiday and did not have to be awake for a meeting on landing. This trip it will be tricky to manage the chemical load, especially as I have not been drinking alcohol for a good while, so my tolerance is back to normal and I have to arrive, meet some people, behave like a sane person, then try and get to sleep two hours earlier than normal because Melbourne is two hours ahead of  Perth, and I have another meeting the following morning.

I never know quite how bad the fear is going to be until I get to the airport. At the moment it is whisping about in the background of my mind and leaking out occasionally as anxiety dreams. What will happen as the plane starts to taxi is anyone’s guess, but I can feel myself getting nervous as I type this.

The last time I flew to Melbourne, the plane bounced all the way there and I spent most of the three and an half hour flight in tears. The man next to me was also clearly terrified of flying. We resolutely avoided making eye contact with eachother until the wheels were back on the Tarmac. Still, once in Melbourne, I did get to see an amazing production of War Horse, which did not come to Perth and almost made it worth it.

This time there will be no War Horse. The only War Horse will be me, trying to stay off the booze and balance the pills so I do not refuse the gate at the airport. In the meantime, there is always Brittany…

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