Getting struck by lightning

I left Auckland last Sunday to spend a week working in Sydney. I love working in Sydney because while it has the excitement of a foreign and more vibrant city, it’s still relatively easy getting around the city. Most importantly, being out of the country for a short amount of time gives me an excuse to be “offline” for the week.

I have fond memories of Sydney. When I was 11 or 12 years old, I stayed in Sydney for two weeks filming a Nickelodeon TV show with my best friend. A couple of years later, I toured with my high school concert band to Sydney as part of a music festival, which included playing in the Sydney Opera House as well as it’s beautiful Darling Harbour.

On Friday, two things happened. Sydney reached it’s hottest day on record at 45.8 degrees, and my flight back to Auckland that evening was struck by lightning as we were gaining altitude after take-off. I can’t say that either of those events were ever on a “things to experience before I die” list, but at least it makes for a good story and another (not so fond) memory.

As I was sweating profusely on the plane (the air conditioning system had shut down after the lightning strike, causing the cabin to heat up quickly, and I was getting really anxious anyway from the heavy turbulence) and wishing that someone could sedate me so that I could stop freaking out about the strange engine noises (I have a normally bearable fear of things going wrong mid-flight), I was feeling pretty miserable about the fact that I might just die on this flight and, most importantly, that I couldn’t do anything about it.

No one on the flight – from the newborn to the senior business executive – deserved to go. No matter how rich or powerful or important or loved you are, everyone is equal in the face of death and completely powerless should the engines fail.

I guess that’s why they say that life is something that you create, because death is something that ultimately happens to you. You can choose how you live, but not how you go.


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