I’m a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof — ON METH

Meth Cat Sketch
So then… the plane shudders and moans – and my stomach flops and churns.

I’m usually a pretty calm traveler –

but the plane makes a SUDDEN and SHOCKING DROP!

The passengers emit a collective gasp!

It’s the Tower of Terror times a million. And what’s worse is that the cockpit is strangely silent. No intercom announcements like “whoops, sorry about that folks — just spilled my latte in my lap, we’re back on course now.”

And no “Oh, so THAT’S what that button does.” Nothing. We fly in spooky silence.

And NOW, we can’t seem to land. Something about the excessive heat and winds in Nevada today make the plane SHAKE violently – along with a horrifying, THUNDEROUS noise.

So the pilot brings the plane back up.

He circles and tries to land again, but the same thing happens – deafening noise and visible signs that the plane is literally SHAKING like it’s about to SHATTER.

A third attempt fails.

By now, even the most stoic macho world-weary world travelers are sitting up, half leaning, craning to look out the window, asking “what’s happening?!” and “what the hell?!”


People are literally shouting expletives — and some are practically hyperventilating.

I am numb with terror.

If people around me remain calm, I can hold it together. But when they start to freak out, I turn into a puddle of panic.

I silently grip the arm rests, eyes wide, heart hammering.

On the fourth attempt — plane shaking, skittering, dipping, pounding – and emitting an ear-piercing noise – we land!

And something amazing happens.

As soon as we’re grounded, everyone experiences a collective amnesia of the past 30 minutes.

It’s like it never happened.

People grab belongings out of the overhead bins, check cell phones for messages, stuff books into purses.

Their faces indicate that they’re already thinking about which rental car counter they need to visit, scheduling their son’s orthodontist appointment, paying the property taxes by Friday, and…life goes on.

I want to shout:


But they’re just chatting on phones, filing out of the plane with all their briefcases, purses, and overnight bags in tow.

It’s like the selective amnesia you have after 12 hours of brutal child labor that makes you think, “Ah, that wasn’t so bad. Let’s get pregnant again!”

But after those four terrifying landing attempts, I do not forget.

No, I hold that fear like a cold dark claw in my chest, ready to rip my heart out at the slightest provocation – a flight…..a mention of a flight…..a paper airplane.

Once a laidback traveler, I am now like a cat on a hot tin roof – on meth.

A Meth Cat.

Take a high-strung cat.

And a strung-out meth-head.


That is me.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any travel tales of terror? Share your survival stories in the Comments below. But ONLY survival tales please. If you are dead, do NOT write about the travel disaster that got you there. That will totally mess with my Meth Cat Mind right now, and I’m NOT havin’ it.)
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41 replies on “I’m a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof — ON METH

  1. LOL! I travel a lot for biz and have been through a few rough flights myself. The worst is when it’s bad and you can see the wings of the plane bouncing like they are going to break off! I like flying but after those flights I need a change of underwear!
    Phil recently posted..Public Farting and Killer Fumes in NYC!My Profile

    • Yes! our wings were bouncing like crazy too — freaked me out!

  2. K.Haskins said:

    Well, That would never happen to ME. Nope! Not A chance IN you-know-where. And would you care to venture a guess as to WHY? Because there is no way in the bloodiest of HELLS that I would EVER get ON or IN a plane in the first place. Now,see? Being a consummate COWARD has its perks! (I never travel anywhere that I can’t get to by car anyway, but that’s really beside the point…kind of).

    • ooo, I can relate to that sentiment! after this flight, I swore off flying for quite awhile! the whole idea of 200 people zooming through the air in a silver metal tube just seemed laughable!

  3. Oh boy been there!! When I went to New Orleans for a Digital Marketing conference our plane got stuck in a lightning storm and had to circle the airport until it was safe to land…. 45 minutes later! The airplane shook, and dropped multiple times, and of course riding alone I was making eye contact with random strangers and making faces like “Holy $h*t did you feel that?” and “Are we going to die?” but everyone gave me the same face back! no1 forgot when we landed though! we ALL called our family members.. probably because we all thought we were about to die at one point. I’m heading to another marketing conference in Sept also in NOLA and I’m praying and hoping things will go much smoother!!

    • Veronica, that New Orleans flight sounds dreadful! Here’s hoping the Sept trip is much better. Be sure to “wine up” first!

  4. Love the comparison to the meth cat. lol
    I hate to fly. They say it is safer than driving but I always say, yeah but if you are in a car accident it could very well not be a bad one. Whereas flying, you will pretty much be messed up or dead.

    • superb point!
      I’ve had a couple fender-benders in my time — and I’ve lived to tell the tale.
      But I’d hate to be in a FLYING fender-bender!

  5. Mariah said:

    My family and I were on a very small plane (only three seats in each row) when I was about 6 years old. We were in the front row, and I was facing the flight-attendant in his seat. It was extremely bumpy, but I was convinced that it was a ride and treated it as such. When we would drop, I would put my hands in the air and say “WWWEEEEE!” Pretty soon, the flight attendant played along, and so did most of the plane. My mom loves to tell the story about how I calmed everybody down. I just remember having a blast that day!

    • Oh, Mariah, please travel with me from now on! I need a fun-lovin’ gal like you to make me less fearful! You sound like a hoot!

  6. BWAH HA HA HA!! The illustration of the cat made me burst out laughing! My worst travel story has been documented on the blog but let’s just say it involved my SCREAMING 2 year-old and what turned out to be a raging case of kidney stones for me. Good times! ;)-Ashley

    • glad your son is fine — I’ll look for that story when you post it!

  7. OMG. You know I’ve done a lot of traveling, but I HATE to fly. It scares me. You’d never guess if you were sitting next to me though.

    I’ve been on a plane that had to make an emergency landing because one of its engines ran out, and I’ve held onto walls during horrible, horrible turbulance. But this? This would’ve made me NEVER fly again. EVER!!!!
    Dani Ryan recently posted..8 free (and easy!) weight loss tips that work for meMy Profile

  8. Flying is not my favorite mode of transportation, either, but going to the UK makes it a necessity – unless I have the time, and money, to take the Queen.

    Anyway, one summer we flew out to Colorado to visit the brother-in-law. The trip from BWI to O’Hare was not bad, but then we had to take a “short landing and landing” plane into Colorado.

    The plane goes about twenty feet down the runway and then LEAPS into the air, and lands like a bloody rock. It didn’t help that this vehicle had probably flown in WWII, and was about as large as a soup can.

    I had just dozed off when the plane began its descent – that is, its imitation of a rock – which left me a leeetle bit upset.

    The teenaged girl across the aisle asked if this was my first flight. I told her I’d flown before, but it was like having babies. It just never gets easier.

  9. Chris B said:

    My worst flight came on a high school trip to Mexico. We were delayed several hours in Philadelphia for “maintenance”. Once we finally got in the air, the pilot apologized for the delay then announced “Engine number one is working . . . ‘pretty good’.” (and yes there was a delay as if he decided to take a peek out the window to make sure all was okay). Between that and some pretty heavy turbulence, let’s just say to this day I pity the teachers in charge of us 60 high schoolers. Then there was the the crazy bus ride up the mountain with the sheer drop off – but that’s a story for a different day.

    • yikes! sounds like a harrowing experience!
      at least you had your high school pals to cling to, in your terror! I was about to jump in the lap of the stranger next to me on the plane!

    • That’s so funny! Yes, the pilot was probably trying to avoid some Dementors!

  10. AinOakPark said:

    Well, I’m glad it was you and not me; poor you!

    I hardly ever fly, but once I was flying up to San Francisco to move my college-age daughter back home and had only a change of undies and an extra shirt in my bag/purse (since she had so much STUFF and we weren’t sure it would all fit in her van). I was seated between someone who didn’t even make eye contact (and then “fell asleep”) and a man who was working. Even though I was NOT talking with my hands, I spilled my tomato juice down the leg of my (only) jeans, into my shoes and my bag/purse. The man gave me a look and handed over his napkin and I did what I could to begin the clean up, saying, “Well, at least the plane won’t crash.” “What?” he says. “Well,” I say, “the bad thing happened already, so the plane won’t crash.” He shrugged and worked on. The plane didn’t crash. Told you.

    • Good idea! I’ll just start each flight by spilling tomato juice on myself to ward off other disasters! :o)

      • Steve J said:

        That’s why I always take a bomb with me on the plane. I mean, what are the odds that there will be two bombs on the same plane?

        • Ha!
          Steve, I’m making a citizen’s arrest for that remark!
          If you were at the airport, the TSA would have you bound and gagged in 30 seconds flat!

  11. I don’t have a terror story to share, but I do have a sweet one. Hubby and I had been married for about five or six years (i.e. honeymoon long over) and we were flying to visit his parents. And the stewardess and captain came through and said something about “the honeymooners” to each other and the next thing, we got given two very expensive and very delicious bottles of red wine. Confused us totally, but we loved it. And the fact that they thought we were on honeymoon so long after we had been married. How lovely is that?

    • That IS lovely! And it’s given me a fabulous idea to get free wine! Let’s just say whatever man sits next to me on the next flight will be the recipient on my “amorous honeymoon affections” in order to trigger a similar generosity from the flight crew!

  12. Dee said:

    I agree with your comment about being fine as long as everyone else is fine. On a night flight into Reagan National, we experienced extreme turbulence and 2 aborted landings. During the jarring, nauseating upheavals, I looked to my seatmate for some reassurance. He was in uniform — a major in the Air Force, no less! He would make me feel better, right? He never even looked my way, but I was definitely not reassured as I watched him begin sweating profusely and turn a lovely shade of green.

    Even worse than my sea-green, glistening seatmate was the insane hysterical laughter from the back of the plane….

    • oh, no, I would have been terrified!

      ESPECIALLY if the Air Force Major was looking green about the gills too! (I actually had a funny experience sitting next to a commercial pilot that I’ll post one day — but similar to you, it was NOT reassuring!)

  13. Ha ha Darcy I would be the same. My sister and I were on a plane without my parents when we were little and we flew through a major storm it was terrifying. My husband flies often for work, last week our work booked him on a dodgy airline’s flight and then the flight was delayed for technical reasons. We were both very nervous. My hubby saw a plane patched with duct tape once (fortunately he was not going on it) – I suppose only in Africa.
    Vivian Pitschlitz recently posted..Our snow chicken is 21My Profile

    • duct tape on an airplane!? oh lordy, I’d be hightailing it to the nearest bus station!

  14. I don’t know if it’s as easy to get where you are as it is where I am, but go to your local health/hippie/natural medicines shop/tent/stall and ask for Valerian tincture and take a couple mls of that. It’s the natural and herbal root of valium. Non addictive, perfectly natural. Tastes and smells terrible but works within minutes. Brilliant stuff.
    Good luck!

    • never heard of that tincture — thanks for the tip!

  15. Reading this made me feel like I was there with you, stomach in my throat, tense neck and all. I’m convinced this is precisely why they serve booze on planes. Bloody marys for all!
    Whit recently posted..What the actual fuck.My Profile

    • Ha! You’re right! I never thought of that before — what if we all had to fly stone-sold sober? Yikes!

      • My ass would NEVER get on a plane again. Along with the rest of me, thank you very much!

        • Now THAT’S one way to avoid fear of flying — just don’t fly! Sound strategy!

  16. Sarah said:

    So, before the hellacious plane ride to Hong Kong, somehow losing a whole day…On the first leg of my journey from vermont to to JFK, I rode the megabus (double decker) because it was the quickest form of transportation. All of the seats were facing each other, like booth seats at a restaurant except for the one I chose, located directly behind the driver facing the road ahead. We’re cruising through Connecticut on the freeway going 65, I assume. Not really fast, some folks in a hurry might pass on the right and in this case an out-of-control car did just that. After passing the bus and sharply veering into the buses middle lane, the car ended up rotating 180 degrees so that the car and bus were facing head on in the middle lane of the freeway. There was no time to react for either vehicle. Fortunately for the bus, the cars momentum caused it to keep sliding into the left lane as it faced oncoming traffic head on. I don’t know what happened after that, the bus made it to NYC. MY FLIGHT WAS FANTASTIC! Korean Air plus prescription sleeping pill was the best flight I have ever taken.

    • I just had a mild panic attack while reading that! So glad you survived!
      Holy Cow, now I have to cross megabus AND airplane off my list of potential transportation methods!