I hate flying.
It’s a terribly irrational fear, I know, but it’s a real one. I usually hold my breath during take-off to stave off the growing tension in my head. Once in the air, my nerves succumb to a general discomfort, and I rectify this by drinking copious amounts of expensive stout bottles of brown liquor while listening to music. I can’t usually focus enough to read or write, so I just close my eyes and devote all my attention to each song as it unfolds, in order to calm myself. A couple years ago, I was in NYC during winter. It was a great trip, but my liver practically hurt to the touch. I was scraped out and diffuse, heading home. There was a long line of planes scheduled for take-off in front of mine, and I saw crews de-icing the wings of the 747 in front of us on the tarmac. We were sitting there for a long time. I imagined frozen turbines coming apart in flight and whether or not I could be trusted to help anyone with their oxygen mask. I started scanning through some songs I’d uploaded to my iPod before I’d left North Carolina.
This was the first time I heard “In the West.”