I probably spend way too much time thinking about the theories of dating these days. To be fair, everyone single and not super stoked on staying that way forever and ever probably over-ponders how to hook up and how to stay hooked. But lately I’ve been wondering which works better on a first date: something low key and easy to escape from or something wild and adrenaline-inducing.
For my second date in Chicago, I went with option two. My personal Adventure Consultants, ZOZI, had a Fly a Plane experience for sale in the area. A few clicks, one phone call and one text later, Tadd jovially agreed to take off in a Cessna airplane with me.
Interestingly, our first daring stunt of the morning wasn’t our a.m., small-plane flight. Rather it was getting Tadd into our empty-tank-light-on Huckleberry Fit and then barreling down the freeway in order to make our reservation on time. Thank god for the fact that neither Tadd nor Megan nor I were psychos. Or worse…not morning people.
Maybe Tadd would add his own daring stunt to the drive – being the moral support to a complete stranger (me) who absolutely hates flying and just might cry on the plane.
When we finally arrived, we were greeted by a dog and a friendly office clerk. Then, we were ushered to the Cessna, handed ginormous head phones and buckled in. I began hyperventilating, but attempted to look absolutely nonplussed (mostly by keeping my sunglasses firmly planted on my face so neither the pilot nor Tadd could get a good read on me. So sneaky). And then we were taxiing. And then lifting off.
I had my eyes closed, so my only sense of the first ten minutes of the flight came from Tadd’s joyful remarks and conversation with Steve, the pilot. “Look, there’s the romantic rock quarry!” and, “Wow. Just. Wow,” and, “Oh, there’s the Chicago skyline,” and, “Huh, I wonder who’s flying the plane?”
At that last one I jerked my eyes open and saw Steve had removed his hands from the controls. Laughing, he urged me to grab onto mine. Timidly I reached out, grabbing the helm with as much enthusiasm as a great-aunt takes hold of a Texas Longhorn bull’s horns.
And with that, I was flying. Mostly straight. Sometimes a bit to the right. Once to the left in a large loop over Lake Michigan. And finally, I yelled, “CLOUD! CLOUD!” and pulled my hands off the controls looking panicked at Steve.
Back on land, high-fives and thank-yous were exchanged. Did I feel closer to Tadd because of our wild experience? You bet your sweet elbows I did. I even extended the date and invited him to brunch. We had just shared a first time for each of us — sitting down and talking about it felt natural.