I woke to a nudge. “The pilot’s going to make an announcement,” the flight attendant said. I palmed at my eyes, nodded and looked around, feeling my hangover creep back in. The girl next to me was flicking at her nails while she paged through a fashion magazine. I slumped back against the window after the flight attendant passed. White clouds blanketed the sky floor.
I sat up suddenly. Wait — since when do they wake you up for a pilot talk?
The P.A. squawked awake: “Folks, there’s been a failure of the landing gear. We’ve been circling Philadelphia for two hours burning fuel and prepping personnel on the ground. You have five minutes before we shut down the electricity, 10 till landing.”
Philadelphia? That’s not even on the way to Denver. I pictured a red light blinking on the pilot’s dash, him radioing for help, diverting to the north. I ran through other possibilities. A few minutes passed before it dawned on me that I might not have many left. You need to go into psychic lockdown. I tried to concentrate: family, gratitude, acceptance.
My mouth sputtered into a smile: I guess you don’t have to worry about showing up at the wedding without a present.
For the rest of the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/the-plane-was-about-to-crash-now-what.html