Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You got the right stuff, baby

In my short time working as a flight attendant, I have already discovered that the right crew makes all the difference.

I had a trip where I got along really well with all three of the pilots I worked with those days. I felt comfortable, included. We talked and joked and time went by quickly.

I didn't get so lucky on the next trip I had. We ended up getting stuck in St. Cloud for nine hours. First of all, St. Cloud is only an hour and a half from home, but they wouldn't let us leave. No, we had to stay and babysit the plane. Well, that's fine. All six of our flights for that day were canceled, but whatever, we'll just hang out here. The STC airport is tiny, and their crew room is even tinier. It happened to have three chairs, which the pilots and I commandeered. Sorry, actual STC employees, this is our room now. The pilots were perfectly nice, and we got along alright. But we spent the nine hours doing NOTHING. We watched football all day long. I read my book for awhile, but I can only take so much Jane Eyre in one sitting. The pilots were clearly frustrated at the situation and just anxious to get out of there (one of them was a captain-in-training, and the six canceled flights was a severe loss of hours for him). There was no free-flowing conversation, no joking around, no suggestion to even try to amuse ourselves in some other way. We just sat there. For nine hours.

It doesn't help that I'm usually the only flight attendant. (It also probably doesn't help that I'm still cursedly shy. But really, the right crew can alleviate that no problem.) If there's another FA around, even if it's a woman (or man) I'd normally have nothing in common with, flight attending is always common ground to walk on.

But when it's just me and the pilots, for hours upon hours of sit time? Well, I've just got to hope I get the right crew.

In the days (and weeks) immediately following the cancelation of my wedding, I spent most of my time at my sister's house, curled up in a blanket on the couch. There was wedding stuff spread far and wide over my parents' house, and I just couldn't bear to be there looking at it all day.

Jess was my savior. While Pam was at work and I was contented to sit and waste away on the couch, Jess brought me food and forced me to eat it. She sat with me, talked with me when I felt like I needed to talk, handed me a Kleenex when I started to cry. She helped my mom in the unpleasant task of notifying the guests. She made awkward jokes that forced a stuttered laugh out from under my tears. During a stop at home one day, Jess made some calls outside while I put on blinders and grabbed whatever it was I needed. On my way back out the door, Dad said, "I like Jess. She's good people."

I got really lucky with my crew in life. I think I'll keep them.

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