December 5, 2004
I Hate Flying
I’m safe and sound, back in NY. Well, safe — barely. Seems that somebody in air traffic control at LaGuardia was trying to kill me. Okay, maybe an exaggeration, but I had a bit of a scare coming home.
Several minutes into our descent, the pilot said we’d be on the ground in about 10 minutes. Due to high winds at LaGuardia earlier on Friday, they were down to a single runway for a while, but both runways were again operational, so he didn’t expect any further delays. As we were making our final approach, he suddenly turned the plane left, and told us that there was an “issue” with one of the runways, and they needed to clear it before we could land, so we needed to circle for 5 or 10 minutes.
More than 30 minutes passed with us circling at fairly low altitude — which kind of freaks me out, as, in case you couldn’t tell, I don’t like flying anyway, and the air is choppier at that altitude — and we finally started (again) our “final” approach.
The landing gear came down, and we descended over the water, as you typically do at LaGuardia. Landing there is always a little freaky, because it looks like you’re going to land in the water, and then suddenly, ground appears right before you touch down.
This time, it was the same as usual, but just before the ground (and runway) appeared, the plane suddenly pulled up and we were all pulled back in our seats as the pilot put the plane back in full throttle and quickly ascended, just before we landed. I’d never experienced that before, so, needless to say, I wished I’d taken the emergency Xanax I had in my pocket. We quickly climbed, then banked hard left, and the pilot came on the PA to tell us that another plane was “in our path” on the runway. So, some air traffic controller screwed up and cleared us for landing, but there was another plane on our runway.
We finally landed safely, of course, but I wondered how close we came to making the evening news.
I’m hard at work on this new wind commission. First I wanted to write a cowboy polka, then I thought maybe that was silly and instead thought that a Middle Eastern-themed piece would be more fun to write (think Turkish). Then I thought that maybe “The Market” wouldn’t want a Middle Eastern piece at this time in history, and I’ve gone back to reconsidering the cowboy polka.
What should I do?! I need to commit to something ASAP. The material I’ve written for the cowboy thing is fun and irritatingly catchy, but I don’t know that it’s “music.” The Turkish stuff is a lot more intricate, and it’s loud, but will people want to play a brash, American-sounding bastardization of Turkish music?
Should I worry about that?
What should I do??? HELP!