In which Matt and Nathan discuss flying, phobias, irrationality, and Asia via Skype:
NT: you in asia yet?
MG: yep. sitting in Jean’s childhood bedroom in Taipei
NT: ah, how nice. congrats on getting there. how’s the babe?
MG: man, what a nightmare
MG: “I scared! I scared!”
NT: oh no! The flight?
MG: she didn’t want to sit in her own seat
NT: i get that
MG: total freakout
MG: screaming, crying, “No! No! No! No!”
NT: did the attendants fuck with you?
MG: no, they were nice. it was Cathay Pacific
MG: they did everything they could to help. you know, Asians
NT: yes. why i married them. but still
NT: sasha had to be on your lap?
MG: no, that was the problem: she’s over 2, so has to be in a seat
MG: landing in Hong Kong, the flight attendants gave in to her bloodcurdling shrieks and brought one of those double seatbelts so Sasha could sit on Jean’s lap
NT: ah, that’s crazed.
MG: but from HK to Taipei was better: Sasha understanding that though she was scared, everything was okay. also, massive exhaustion doesn’t help
NT: no doubt. But SOOO interesting: I’ve got a touch of flight-phobia, and my kids never picked that up. Until the last flight
MG: really? with all that you fly?
NT: It’s better. Used to be mortal. But I’m a fucking idiot. But Dalia on the last flight was a little jumpy and my heart sank
MG: she was picking up on it from you? (btw, I can smell frying garlic from my desk…)
NT: Ha! sounds good. No, I’ve been pretty brave-faced with them around. They also ground me. I literally am ok with perishing if they are with me. It’d be like a telelnovela
MG: The thing that Sasha’s freakout reminded me was this: It’s nice to have kids grow up and be more intelligent and sentient, but the smarter they get, away goes the feral-animal not-caring that made flights so easy before.
NT: yeah. And I think that dalia is still more animal than human, so her phobias shouldn’t start. not yet. not soon
MG: But still, god, there’s nothing like hearing “I scared!”
NT: poor girl. I’m sorry to hear that.
MG: It’s the kind of milestone you don’t want to reach.
NT: Altho it’s worth remembering that Dalia gets VERY SCARED at episodes of Wallace and Gromit
MG: wow, weird
MG: but now that seems irrational
MG: like that would be the part of the animal brain reacting
NT: Yeah, the cheese brain. I am not one to lecture on irrationality
MG: whereas flightphobia (yours and Sasha’s) seems more considered: “Okay, this aluminum tube I’m in does not seem all that sturdy.” the cheese brain!
NT: Eh. I spent a decade of my life thinking I was so exalted as to be on the ONE DOOMED FLIGHT that year. that’s stupid
MG: no one’s that lucky. oh, last night, Sasha hit on another new thing
MG: she woke up crying and screaming at 2am, and we had to bring her into our room
NT: that hadn’t happened before?
MG: and she told us repeatedly, “I can’t sleep.” (that’s after all the flights and such)
NT: i bet she couldn’t
MG: it was an interesting statement, like she wanted to sleep and knew this was the time to sleep, but also knew she couldn’t. there were some layers there
NT: how old is she?
MG: 2.25. oh, and another thing I kept meaning to mention the other day when we all met up: I was at a book party for Greg Lindsay’s “Aerotropolis” a couple of weeks ago and I met another writer, Andrew Blum or Bloom or something
NT: sounds like our people
MG: while we were talking, the subject of kids’ ages came up, and I mentioned my scheme for how you’re allowed to talk about weeks, months, years, etc., and this Andrew guy said, “Oh, you’re on the DadWagon guys.” presumably b/c I’d written about that (kids’ ages) on DadWagon
NT: You’re one OF the dadwagon guys?
MG: sorry, “You’re one of the DadWagon guys.” yes, correct. jetlag
MG: ah, now I smell fish frying
NT: fame! fish! great combo
MG: I know! Weird, huh?
MG: I don’t know if I’m smelling my own lunch or someone else’s
NT: ha. that’s the problem with Asia. Fucking great line
MG: Asia, however, is so cheap you can usually just buy someone else’s lunch off of them
NT: “I don’t know if I’m smelling my own lunch or someone else’s.” Right
MG: and that’s the headline for this IM-transcription post
NT: Theirs can become yours. No doubt. Great chatting with you
MG: same here
NT: Sorry it built off your daughter’s terror