Pressure Test 

Lucy is avoiding me. She has been watching me all evening, and following me from bedroom to bathroom and lounge as I move around trying to work out how little I get away with packing.

In many ways, packing for one night away cheats me of the opportunity to travel light because they are things you need for one night or three. Or maybe it does not and my anxiety over getting into a plane, which is at pre-flight peak right now, gets translated into anxieties over the lack of bathroom products in the hotel, and how much stationery is too much? Really I could get away with one pair of trousers and two shirts, my toothbrush, hairbrush and some deodorant, but over the course of the evening I have decanted shampoos and conditioners as well as shower gel into travel bottles. I have packed moisturizers and make up, a swimming costume that I will never use and a very heavy book.

The heavy book was not my fault. When I got home his evening, my husband had been shopping and bought me a book of scripts from the Australian comedy show, Utopia, which is funny but because of what I do feels more like a documentary at times. He knows how frightened I am of flying and bought it for me because he thought it might be easy enough to read with clenched white knuckles and help to take my mind off the flight. I had actually planned to take another book which I started reading the other day, called Radio Days (by John Osbourne). It is a journey up and down the UK radio stations and so far, it has been delightful. I was pretty confident, already on p80 of a 280 page book, that I could easily knock it off on a flight that is three and a half hours one way and four on the way back. The thoughtful gift from my husband though, now means I will be taking two books on the plane which will be tricky as I do not want to check in my bag and I am limited to 7kgs. The book my husband bought me weighs two. 

The sensible thing would be to leave the heavy book at home, but that is never going to happen, because anxiety creates superstitious behaviour and to leave it behind would feel like tempting bad luck. Right now, things are getting very superstitious around here. Besides, I can not remember the last time my husband bought me a present on a whim that was not pizza, and I want to take it, so it is more likely that I will have to leave behind one of the two pastries he also bought me for  some unfathomable reason.

I leave tomorrow at ten am and went yesterday to my doctor to get some Xanax, which I have taken before when flying and which can help the worst of the nerves. That is, I am less likely to actually scream out aloud if I take one pre-flight. My Doctor, however told me it was getting really difficult to prescribe them – despite the fact that I have nearly a full bottle  left from the last prescription which proves I am not abusing them or selling them on the black market. They expired in 2011.

‘Oh they will be OK,’ she said.

‘Are you sure?’ I asked, ‘the last doctor said expired pills could be bad for your kidneys.’

‘Nah,’ she said, ‘five years is fine. I’d take them.’

As this solved both of our immediate problems I decided to believe her and put the pills back in my bag.

When I checked the seat I had booked, the plane was full.

‘Football fans,’ said my colleague, ‘The match with the Eagles (our local team) is in Melbourne this weekend.’

‘Oh Great,’ I said as images of drunken supporters bouncing up and down all over the plane swam before my eyes.

Let’s hope those Xanax pills still work.

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