Malaysia Airlines loses contact with flight carrying 239
Malaysia Airlines says it has lost contact with a flight carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The airline lost contact with Flight MH370, a Boeing 777, at 2:40 am local time, a statement said.
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OK here’s the thing. I am a lifelong flyer. My first flight was when I was about 40 days old, KL to Dhaka. Ever since then I have had at least one flight a year, usually more. (I think the only year I didn’t fly anywhere was 1998 and even then we were somewhere fore New Years 1999.) I often flew Malaysia Airlines - I’m sure I have some cache of frequent flyer miles that I could cash in for something useful.
I have a very complicated love-hate relationship with airplanes and airports. On the one hand, they can be very isolating and emotionally draining - especially when you’re stuck in the air for a gazillion hours and have too many feelings and nowhere to process them. No one to talk to.
Yet at the same time I feel most at home flying. I’ve never been rejected from an airport (even with all the racial profiling bullshit). Plonk me in an airport or airplane anywhere and I understand how it works. I know it, more than I know anything else.
For a long long time I’ve had this feeling that I will eventually die in a plane crash. I’m not sure what brought it on: maybe the fact that I fly so often? Soon after 9/11 I started really fearing plane crashes, making up this prayer and ritual pre-flight (praying to fuckin’ Bernoulli, reading the emergency booklet, visualising Pegasus bringing us to safety).
There would be points where I would read Wikipedia articles on plane crashes with some sort of morbid fascination. Where I would look at planes in the sky and imagine them crashing. And not completely with fear either.
Very recently, after Phia broke up with me and our joint trip to Malaysia became a solo heartbreaking trip for me, I wished the plane would crash. Take away my pain. I felt so done with the world, such a failure, so ashamed, couldn’t face anyone. I wanted to die in the way that reflected my shame. I wanted my prophecy to come true.
(The prophecy often felt like I would die in a plane crash while travelling with a friend. Maybe it was apt that she didn’t come along.)
On the flight back from Singapore to SF there was turbulence - which I normally actually find really comforting, regardless of my mental state. It’s the same as being on a high-speed boat: the rocking motions are pretty soothing. There was one point in the flight where the turbulence got a bit more chaotic and I actually thought we would fall - and suddenly a spark of survival instinct came alive in me:
Not now. Cannot die yet. Stay alive.
The flight was fine, and I’m still sort of hovering around the feeling of if-I-die-now-I’d-be-OK-with-that-as-long-as-it’s-not-painful. (I’m in therapy and taking meds, don’t worry.)
Last week I saw some episodes of Revolution, and the pilot episode showed the premise of the series: one day there was suddenly no electricity. One of the scenes was a plane in midflight that suddenly tumbled into a fiery crash, with one woman screaming.
That image of the plane tumbling haunted me. Still does. The image got stronger every time I saw a plane in the sky.
Then this happens. The airline of a country I tentatively consider “home”, which hasn’t had an incident in about 40 years or so. No reason to be hijacked, no reason for trouble, usually pretty stellar safety record.
Just suddenly gone. Poof.
My parents just flew into Korea YESTERDAY. I talked to them on the phone. Likely Malaysia Airlines. Fuck this could have been them…
This is hitting me super hard. It feels like I’m getting closer and closer to my death. Closer and closer to the prophecy. One of these days this will be my flight.
God. fuck. just. what the hell.