The variations on lyrics to Andrew Bird’s “Fiery Crash” are remarkable. Though it seems clear that he’s saying “Dramamine,” everyone else on the Internet finds that to be something about “jet waves driving me.” I can’t say exactly who’s right and who’s wrong, but it’s clear that my airplane experience is intrinsically linked with that motion sickness pill. One night flight, it knocked me out when I least expected it. I remember every inch of my body going limp. “You were hurtling through space, g-forces twisting your face,” says Mr. Bird. Which is exactly what it was like in a relaxed way. My often tense and anxious body gave into the comfort next to me and knew everything was just fine. Unable to move anything, I succumb to goodness and peace in ways I can only do when I truly feel powerless.
I don’t often feel like this. Usually my mind is filled with the worst things that can happen. I only get through airplane flights because for some reason I’m good at shutting down my fears quickly in that setting. That’s usually the healthiest route for me.
But I like the way Mr. Bird sings about these fears that sometimes take us over. Actually thinking it through can allow us to arrive at the fact that what we envisioned will not happen. But it’s crucial not to be stuck in the middle of the scenario.
“Where every human face has you reaching for your mace. So it’s kind of an imposition, a fatal premonition. . . . But to save our lives you have to envision the fiery crash. It’s just a formality. Why must I explain? Just a nod to mortality, before you get on this plane.”