Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Extended aeronautical metaphor.


It is as if you wake up in a small plane, mid-flight. The pilot is shaking uncontrollably, gibbering with panic, lost in a spontaneous manifestation of suppressed trauma. The co-pilot has blown his head off with a flare gun. You grab the radio. Mayday mayday do you copy over. Desperate situation do you copy over. Anybody anybody mayday mayday do you copy. Over.

It is as if you receive two separate signals from two independent competing air traffic control towers, each coming through crystal clear and each eager to offer input into your situation.

It is as if Air Traffic One tells you to remain calm, that if you remain calm and attentive we will find a way to talk you down safely, do not panic, do not lose hope, we are here to help you.

It is as if Air Traffic Two interjects and asks you how you could possibly have gotten yourself into such a stupid situation.

Air Traffic One asks you for readings on the altimeter, the compass, the fuel gauge.

Air Traffic Two asks you if you enjoy being at the center of disaster.

Air Traffic One tells you to gently pull up on the control column and to find the button for the landing gear, which you will need later.

Air Traffic Two tells you about a dozen other people who would never have allowed something like this to happen to them, who have the wisdom you clearly lack to have gotten on a plane commandeered by a pair of ticking time-bombs.

Air Traffic One says you’re doing fine. Remain calm, we’ll get you through this.

Air Traffic Two has long had absolutely no faith in you and is both vindicated and anguished to discover that it was right all along.

Air Traffic One asks if you can see the runway lights. Can you see the runway lights, over? Listen carefully, over. This is how we’re going to proceed.

Air Traffic Two says it prays for you, and reminds you that if you die it will be both entirely your fault and the result of divine retribution.

It is as if the landing gear touches down, as if the plane manages to halt on the runway, as if nothing bursts into flames.

It is as if you pry your white-knuckled vise grip hands off of the yoke, offer a comforting pat to the still-discombobulated pilot, and push open the door. It is as if you are greeted by representatives from both Air Traffic One and Two.

Air Traffic One embraces you, congratulates you, compliments your grace under great pressure and your willingness to do what you needed to do to get through the predicament in one piece.

Air Traffic Two is holding a press conference telling the networks and newspapers gathered around them that they were solely responsible for your miraculous survival. They tell the media that they pride themselves on their great emotional attachment to you, an attachment that cannot be duplicated, certainly not by the inferior beings at Air Traffic One, who could just as easily have steered you into a mountain. They were probably just lucky when they managed to talk you down. Air Traffic Two had the situation well in hand.

Air Traffic One hopes that you are not too shaken by the experience that you never get on an airplane again. Air Traffic Two tells you that maybe you’re better off taking buses from now on, that clearly you were not meant to travel by air.

Air Traffic One tells you it loves you. Air Traffic Two tells you it loves you more.

You ask for a ticket on the next flight home.

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This entry was posted on September 9, 2008 by in Fiction, Mental Health, Work.
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