I’ll admit, I’ve been slacking when it comes to writing my book, SKYDOLL, but it’s time to get back in the saddle again, time to get back to work, time to meet the writing group! Which is exactly what I’ll be doing today, in Pasadena, at Anne’s house. Yes, it’s been a very long time since we last met. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time we met. And no, I have nothing, nada, zilch, to share with the group this month, except for chapter three, and they’ve already read it. Below is an excerpt from Chapter 2…
Dressed in a fitted navy blue blazer with two gold stripes around the wrist, a white button down blouse – starched and ironed to a crisp perfection, opaque navy blue stockings, a knee length navy blue blazer, and three inch navy blue heels (leather of course!), I pull my suitcase on wheels through the chaotic terminal. Flight 3 to Paris is now in the process of boarding. A family of four carting wheelie bags, a car seat, and a Winnebago sized stroller piled high with god knows what steps in front of me. Quickly I weave in and out around them, passing several other passengers who looked horrified as soon as they spot the long line forming at the boarding door.
Although I still like my job, there really was a time, not so long ago, I actually loved my job, despite working in contaminated tubes, pushing and pulling three hundred pound carts, picking up trash (I’m not talking about my ex boyfriends), and dealing with frequent liars, I mean fliers, on a regular basis. Unfortunately this job no longer resembles anything I signed up for eleven years ago. Try standing in the aisle wearing frayed polyester, a fake smile on your face, constantly apologizing because we don’t have this and we don’t have that to a flight full of miserably cramped passengers, all the while serving, I mean selling, astronaut food down the aisle.
Not bad enough?
Keep in mind I’m also simultaneously on the look out for terrorists while having to remain politically correct for up to fourteen hours after a sleepless night in dumpy airport hotel. Now that, dear reader, takes skill! Never mind being lethally trained to kill with a silver coffeepot and plastic meal tray. I mean seriously, who would have thought I’d be capable at moving explosive devices with nothing but a couple of soda soaked blankets and the information card located in the seat back pocket in front of you? Not me, that’s for damn sure! But that’s my job. As John is always saying, Welcome to the new millennium.
Though much has drastically changed over the last few years, there are a few things that have remained the same. Take the airline mystique, for example. Once again another popular man’s magazine rated a flight attendant as one of the top hot jobs to date, right after nurse, which is great in helping to attract not only Mister Wrong, but also Mister Never-In-A-Million-Years. There are even websites dedicated to the madness, websites like date-a-flight-attendant.com, date-a-pilot.com, and even date-a-passenger.com. Swear to god. Go look it up if you don’t believe me.
Now that I’m at Flight Operations, finally, I jab the elevator button several times until it illuminates a bright shade of orange. I wait and wait and wait. Okay, time’s a ticking with only a few minutes left before I’m officially late to work. Screw the elevator! Pulling open the heavy stairwell door, I pin my crew badge to the front of my blazer, pick up my overstuffed bag, swinging my tote over my shoulder, and take the concrete steps two at a time, carrying my bags as if they weigh nothing, as if I’m super woman in heels and a blue suit.
Believe it or not, the time clock doesn’t officially start ticking until the aircraft door is closed, passengers are seated, and the airplane has backed away from the gate. And look at me, freaking out about being late, late to a job that doesn’t even pay the first hour of work. Can you believe that? Day after day we report to work an hour before departure in order to check the safety equipment, set up the galley, board passengers, reseat passengers, rearrange bags, check bags, while delivering drinks, hanging coats, and a million other things, yet we aren’t making a dime until the brakes have been released and the aircraft is in motion. How the hell the airlines get away with this is beyond me. Where’s Erin Brockovich when you need her?
God forbid I have to call in sick, even if I really am sick. No matter what the situation; an IOD (injury on duty), walking pneumonia, a twenty car pileup on the Grand Central, my own personal death, it’s not acceptable – not even with a doctor’s note. The attendance policy is a joke, considering we work in contaminated flying tubes surrounded by hundreds of germ-infested passengers and recycled air for anywhere up to fourteen hours a day after a short nine hour layover at a dumpy airport hotel. I don’t understand how management expects us to look model perfect and stay fit and healthy when people are constantly handing us dirty diapers and crumpled snot rags in the aisle. Management cares more about the shade of my lipstick (Clinique red), the length of my skirt (no more than an inch above the knee), the style of my hair (pulled back, no frizzies, and absolutely no longer than six inches from the shoulders), and the height of my heels (at least a one inch heel, and no buckles), than my very well being. Who cares if I suffer a concussion in-flight due to severe turbulence when our earrings are bigger than a quarter and I’m wearing more than two rings on a hand? Don’t even get me started.
Even so, with all my complaints, and I know I do have many, I’d never quit. Ever! Call me crazy, but it’s still the best job in the world.