911 and a Near Disaster

I started the Ryan Murphy series “911” tonight. Sunday night, if this doesn’t go live until tomorrow.

I love Ryan Murphy. I will always love him for the first season of American Horror Story.

That’s also where I was introduced to Connie Britton who, along with Jessica Lange, is one my biggest and most incurable girl crushes. Ugh. That hair. That face. That entire manner of being.

I adore her.

Angela Bassett. Also badass.

Mmmhmm.

Peter Krause, another one of my favorites.

My publisher reminded me about it a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been in my list. I’d been planning to watch, but forgot until he said something about it.

It’s so, so good. I feel like Ryan Murphy can do no wrong. Even after that “AHS: Roanoke” botched surgery of a mess he allowed to happen a couple of seasons ago.

Ugh. That was a hot ass disaster.

But other than that, even when his stuff isn’t great, it’s not (usually) bad. And when it’s good? Lord have mercy. It is so, so good.

Anyhow, just started episode four and it starts out with a plane crash. I remember being in a plane that looked very likely to crash until, at the literal last moment, it didn’t.

It was so close that they came over the intercom, after circling Pittsburgh about seven times and then jettisoning fuel, to tell everyone that the landing gear was refusing to participate and descending toward earth, making us Schrodinger’s flight for that little moment in time, and putting that shit down on the tarmac as far from the hangar as possible while we all sat with our heads between our legs and listened to the flight attendants, strapped in at the front and the back, do a round robin of “heads down stay down” for what felt like my entire life.

And here’s what’s weird about that: I felt nothing. Still don’t. No panic. No residual fear. I still love nothing more than the physical butterflies and emotional elation that is the takeoff phenomenon. When crashes happen on TV now, I get all jacked up to compare notes.

I’m not saying that it was necessarily what I’d have chosen, but it’s certainly not one of the things I’d go back to erase given the parameters of the typical time machine, thought experiment cliche.

And I’d absolutely do it again with the guarantee that I wouldn’t die this time either.

So how can something with the potential to threaten my very continued existence on this planet be something I look back on with excitement and feel kinda cool to have experienced, when something that only threatened my marriage and my family’s ability to remain in denial of the larger issues in our lives has so completely levelled me?

I’m sure there’s an intellectual answer to that question. I feel certain that it all centers around some argument that resembles the nebulous “faith” argument in religious quagmires of discussion. An argument I routinely reject out-of-hand.

“Everyone experiences trauma differently,” they do love to tell you.

Blah blah.

I know.

But what does that even mean? It smacks of those things we say because we don’t know the real answer, and when admitting that we don’t makes us feel too insecure, so we make up some profound-sounding truism to avoid having to do just that.

I don’t know.

I know it’s legit. I know it’s normal. I know that I’m probably doing better than many people would be. But good God.

How can I look back on a near plane crash with excitement and good feels and the day that the cops – unnecessarily roughly, maybe, but still – saved me and my daughters from a pedophile with abject despair and bad feels?

I remain, despite my best efforts, a mystery unto even myself, y’all.

3 thoughts on “911 and a Near Disaster

  1. I’ve been in multiple natural disasters, an apartment fire, an intense car accident (I wasnt driving) and tangentially involved (in the sense of it happening a couple doors down and needing to be evacuated by SWAT in case of stray bullets through walls) in a hostage situation. None made me feel anything, as you described with the plane. The tornadoes, since we only had minor damage, were even cool enough I wanted to become a storm chaser at one point. I have C-PTSD from relational trauma. I feel like no natural phenomenon -which, while dangerous, certainly, is impersonal and doesn’t “have it out for you” specifically – is not as terrifying once you’ve seen what humans can do. Sometimes PTSD isn’t about the risk of death, it’s about the moral injury of knowing what really exists in the world and what one human will do to another. People are way scarier than tornadoes or house fires or plane crashes once you’ve seen what they are capable of…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Man, you said it. And holy crow, have you been through some experiences! I completely understand the compulsion to chase storms. Lol. We had a few tornadoes here this past summer and I had to be repeatedly reminded not to go after them. Partly because I’m a reporter so my default is to recognize crazy stuff and get directly in the middle of it. But mostly because I love the excitement of a moderate I high amount if danger. I’ve always said I’d rather take my chances with a bear or a shark than a person whose intentions and end game I can’t clearly identify. You know what the bear and shark want. And if you can understand the motivation for a behavior it becomes fairly easy to respond in the most efficacious way. But people are so distinctly unknowable. The same higher order reasoning that sets us apart from the rest of the natural world is what makes us so potentially deadly in terms of ability to cause emotional harm. The most terrifying things I’ve experienced in my life have been interpersonal.

      Liked by 1 person

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