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air pocket

Air pockets are interesting phenomena. However, before getting into that, I’ll say what they aren’t. Air pockets are not small pouches sewn into your pants, shirts, jackets, or coats for the sole purpose of holding air.

That would be ridiculous, particularly considering that you can usually get all the air you want, whenever you want it simply by breathing it in. If you don’t currently have any air available, this would probably be a good time to panic. Panicking probably won’t last any more than a few minutes before you die of asphyxiation.

Come to think of it, maybe clothing manufacturers should make pockets for air. Just in case.

Now, on to what air pocket does mean.

An air pocket can be a small area of air in a spot where there is no available air surrounding that area. For example, if you’re in a canoe, the canoe capsizes, and your foot gets caught between a paddle and the gunwale, with the paddle trapped underneath two of the seats, there may be a pocket of air, i.e., an air pocket, trapped under the capsized canoe. You can breath this air while you 1) panic, and 2) work your foot or the paddle loose.

Before you ask, yes, this was based on personal experience. It was more than four decades ago and I’ve long since gotten over the trauma.

An air pocket can also be a section of the atmosphere with a major downdraft or rarefied air through which a plane might fly. If a plane does fly through an air pocket the plane will drop suddenly. What’s more, the distance of that drop could be sufficient for your life to give serious consideration as to whether or not this would be an appropriate time for it to flash before your eyes.

Again, this is based on personal experience. I was on a five-hour flight when, less than an hour from our destination, we hit an air pocket. The plane dropped suddenly and far.

I did not panic nearly as much as I thought I would. Possibly it’s a good thing that I a have long reaction times. The plane resumed its smooth forward motion before my brain had a chance to scream, “Holy, freaking crap, we’re all going to die!” Or words to that effect.

The woman sitting next to me, whom I’d never met before and whom I hadn’t talked to at all for the entire time we were on the flight, didn’t hesitate in her panicking. Her reaction was to grab my arm instantly and dramatically, with a force that suggested she felt that there was no good reason whatsoever for me to want blood to flow to my hand.

This was at least two, and maybe three, decades ago. I’ve managed to get over the trauma of this experience as well.

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