I practice how I will sit on the plane, pushing my body against the cabin wall, one arm holding the other firmly over my chest, so that I will make no physical contact with the person sitting next to me. I bring mints, so I won’t need anything to drink, so that the flight attendant won’t have to reach across the row for the fat person. I research whether the airports I’ll pass through have a history of confiscating seat belt extenders. If I bring my own, I’ll be spared the white hot spotlight of asking the flight attendant for one.
…doesn’t subside once I buy a ticket — it distills, intensifying for weeks leading up to the flight. I think about how to eliminate every other stressor. Passengers hate it when someone takes too long loading their bag into the overhead compartments. I pay to check a bag, so that my fellow passengers won’t have any additional reasons to complain about me.