I'll take a double shot of paranoia - Curt Yeomans

I have always been uneasy about flying, mainly because I'm no fan of heights.

I mean no disrespect to jet airliners, because I got the same weak-kneed, stomach-clinching feeling when I stood on the roof of the former World Trade Center in New York City when I was a senior in high school.

It's really a matter of, "Hey, if I fall from this height, it's going to be messy."

Actually, with flying, I'm cool once I've been in the air for a bit. It's just the part about ascending into the skies, and descending from them, that I don't like.

Surprisingly, once the plane has reached that cruising altitude, where it will be for most of the flight, I'm chill.

Case in point. Two years ago, I was flying to New York City for my grandmother's funeral, and the plane I was in reached an altitude that was somewhere around 40,000 feet, according to members of the flight crew.

The plane was so high in the air, all of the clouds were below us, and there was a thin blue line above them. Above that was just darkness - in the middle of the day.

Yeah, that was a bit surreal.

I'm just trying to figure out how I'll handle a flight I'm going to make to Paris next month. This will be the first time I've flown overseas, so of course, it will be a little different from flying over land.

There is going to be a realization that I'm going to be flying over a vast expanse of ocean.

Great. Water. Another thing I don't like traveling across. Your boat can sink in water. And the ocean is deep. It's full of things that will eat you, too.

On top of that, I tend to think about plane crashes before a plane that I'm on takes off. I know it's morbid, but let's be honest - and I work in the media, so I can attest to this - how many uneventful flights, and safe airplane landings do we hear about on the news?

With all of this talk about the Air France plane that crashed last weekend in the Atlantic Ocean, and all the speculation about what could have caused the aircraft to go down, I'm understandably uneasy about my upcoming flight.

I'm still going to make this flight, though.

I've been wanting to go to Europe for some time, and seeing how the alternative travel method is a boat - on the water - I am absolutely going to make this flight. I just may need some liquid encouragement to be able to cope with the plane ride, however.

If I'm still here come August - well - I guess you'll know I safely made it over there and back.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.