I have made passing references about my past as an airline flight attendant, but did I ever fill you in on how I became one?
First I should inject that this was a career I had over thirty years ago and the Airline is no longer in service. No….it is not in the Smithsonian………but parts of it are in the Museum of flight exhibit. I happened upon this when I took my kids on a trip to Washington DC to view some history. Little did I know I would stumble across a notable prop plane with my daughter at my side pointing out to her friends that it has the same Logo that is on her mom’s Stewardess wings now collecting dust in a Jewelry box…
When most high school graduates were sending in their SAT scores to prospective colleges, my mind was set on traveling the wonders of the world, and I did not see my self scoring a place and having to SAT my seat in front of a desk thumbing through textbooks. I knew what I didn’t want to do but not quite sure what I wanted to do. I was the last of four children and I’m sure my parents were tapping their happy feet for me to venture out. OUT of the house.
I came home one day and told my mother I decided I want to be a flight attendant. My mother’s reply to that staement went a little like this: ” Why?….Any idiot can do that.”. Well, being that my grades were in the toilet at the time, and Harvard and Yale were not Knock-knock-knockin’ on my door…..in fact no college was knocking….not even a light tap-tap was audible; I decided to succumbed to my mothers statement and went to all available ticket counters at our local airport to fill out an application that might send this Idiot abroad.
My first interview and rejection was from a large airline that UNITED their fleet all over the globe. I returned home feeling distraught and feeling the FOOL and now realizing that I’m one less idiot that can’t make the cut. My mother sat in the living room reading her morning paper and sipping a cup of java as I entered the house with my head lowered fighting back the tears and laughing on the wrong side of the mouth. I crept in down the hallway and headed straight to my room to wallow in my defeat. Without looking up from her Dear Abby column she slung the words toward me:
“So..how did it go?”
I gave her my results through a broken voice :
“They said Thank you for coming……………NEXT!“
My mother folded the Times and placed it on her lap and looked at me. She could see the disappointment I endured and then uttered a few sentences that went like this:
“You know why they didn’t hire you? You’re too pretty for that airline. Your father and I fly that airline all the time and those girls are not easy on the eyes.”
Then she offered to call my father who knew the CEO of that airline to help me along with the process. I rolled my teary eyes at her and her backhanded compliment and declined her offer. This idiot doesn’t need a helping hand……
Out of the Ten or so applications I sent out to become a flight attendant three responded back with proposed interview dates. The first was the afore mentioned above, the second was from an EASTERN company that I had never heard of because I was a local from the Pacific Northwest. I had it set in my mind to handle this interview differently. I decided to let fate and nature take its course.
I borrowed a suit from a girlfriend that was one size too big, and clipped my long brown hair into a studious undocked tail of a pony. My make up was subdued and my pantyhose the color of the Ivory coast with my feet locked into someone’s leftover Nun’s shoes. I was the ugly Idiot determined to go abroad…..
I walked into the entrance of the building shuffling my shoes along the linoleum when something hit me in the pit of my stomach……….
It was yesterday’s enchilada.
I raced to the concierge for directions to the nearest restroom and made it to the porcelain thrown as chili peppers held an emergency evacuation of last nights dinner. I sat there in all my glory emptying contents and thoughts of missing my interview based on some bad beans. I fled from the scene of the chyme and raced upstairs to make my appointment. I hurried to the designated office and flew through the doors only to be greeted by a room full of life like Barbie’s. There they were aligned in a U- shaped formation around the room……….forty girls, beautiful, tall, perfectly postured, trimmed, sleek, impeccably dressed with Ultra- Brite smiles.
I crossed the room to take the final seat and sat there as my pony tail flogged the person next to me and my stomach growled Beethoven’s 9th……
An Airline rep entered the room and called out half the names to follow her and the second half remain in the room. I was left in the room. It was then I was ready to accept the fated realization that who in their right mind would hire this plain Idiot in an over sized hounds tooth printed attire shifting in their chair stressing to suppress a symphony of Gas. I should just relieve myself of this ill-fated agony ……Well that would be one way to clear the room of competition….
In those hours I managed a few trips to the ladies room, hoping I wouldn’t be marked “absent” for my upcoming interview. I was the last person called, and as the interviewer approached me I detected a wince emanating from her face as she ushered in her last candidate into her office who looked more like a Cabbage Patch Kid left out in the back yard too long than a prospective Airline Stewardess.
The Interview lasted over an hour and most the time it was filled with visual scrutiny and few ” ah yes….” and “Hmmm” as she scribbled addendum’s into her notebook. She ended with the usual “Thank you” and shook my hand. I walked out of her office knowing there was no future in this company for me and said “Thank you” in return. As I took three steps down the hall the interviewer called out to me and said:
” Say…would you mind changing your hair style?”
I spun around and looked her in the eyes and smiled my reply:
“If you can do something with this hair I would be grateful, I have been trying for years and can’t do a thing with it”.
It was a week later I got a call for a second interview and this is how that went down:
I wore a nice suite that fit, I wore wedge heels, I applied make up, and I didn’t eat any Mexican food the night before. I made the interview on time and noticed only one other girl in the waiting room.
I was called into a small dimly lit room with a leggy blonde sitting at a desk that held a smoldering cigarette in a glass ashtray. She stood up to greet me and we shook hands. She asked me to have a seat. I sat as she discussed the Airline’s back round and what is required of a Flight Attendant who works for this airline. I listened intently and answered when asked. She then told me there is certain protocol with this airline and there fore I needed to be put through some tasks:
One task was to see how you walked, carried yourself, stature, balance, and posture. She asked me to rise and walk about five feet and turn around to face her. I rose out of my chair and in doing so my nylon clad foot slipped out of my backless wedgies and I toppled to the floor. I got up from the cold tile and I turned to look at her and said:
“Well, that went well”.
The Marlena Dietrich Interviewer didn’t even flinch, she lit another cigarette and blew a puff of smoke in my direction and muttered:
I walked the allotted five feet steady as she goes, and spun around to return when she shot a command of :
“STOP. Stand right there.”
And I did. Frozen in step. Then she ordered another request:
“Raise your skirt up so I can see your thighs”.
Okaaayyyyy……yeah…….uuuuhhh…..yikes…sheesh….now wait a minute sister……can I have a nurse in the room?
I stood across the room and questioned the thoughts going through my head. I looked back at her through another puff of smoke as her head glanced down at a sheet of paper filled with check marks. I stood there with my eyes closed as I grasped the bottom of my skirt and fanned the hem high above my waist resembling a card board cut out of a Can-Can girl………minus the kicks. While poised center stage flashing my Moulin Rouge,I heard the interviewer cough a chuckle and state:
” You can put that skirt down. This year our Flight Attendants are wearing Hot Pants and we need to see the size of the legs to see if it is a right fit for the uniform”.
Strike two….I’m batting a thousand..I’m sure I’ve nailed this job…..what…..starting with a fall , followed by flashing my panties with Thursday written all over them…..as if she needed reminding of what day is was…..
She walked me to the door and said: “Thank You”.
I reiterated the same and tried to leave with what dignity I had left, and as I took another step she called out to me:
“I forgot to mention where you will be based, you have a choice of New York or San Juan”.
I told her San Juan is fine, being that I was from the Pacific Northwest and we use to boat around the San Juan Islands all the time and I would be close to my hometown of Seattle.
She blew her final puff of smoke and went back into her office.
A week later I received a packet from this EASTERN company announcing my acceptance to the airline and a welcome aboard the “Wings of Man”. I was so excited I rallied around the family and told them my base is really close to home.
“It’s San Juan”, I scream with delight.
My sister read the fine print of my contract and stated it was a base in PUERTO RICO……
spread the humor.
Now that my kids are soon to be vacating the house on a semi permanent basis I need to fill a void that has been lying dormant for years. Something that I have been aVOIDing to do based on my life as a wife, mother, dog walker, housekeeper, nurse, chief cook and bottle washer, chauffeur, laundress, accountant, gardener, psychiatrist, travel agent, consultant, sports authority, and sibling rivalry referee………
I am ready to Tap-out now and try my attempt at re-entering the workforce. It has been years since I’ve held full time work and I am not afraid to go out into this world and show them exactly what I’ve got:
I’ve got a wardrobe from the 1990’s.
I’ve got the ability to apply my half -used free samples of Lancome products that I acquired over the years during a Macy*s back to school sale. Yes, I got a little side tracked at the Mall while hunting for back-packs and lunch boxes.
In fact, I’ve got pulled aside by many mall make up artist’s who try to perform their magic on me. I can’t imagine why they keep picking me out of the crowd of soccer moms. I arrive dressed in appropriate attire when the doors open in the morning. I see nothing wrong with waking up and sliding down my fire pole to slip into my uniform sweats that have been standing at attention all night, accompanied by dirty Vans and a Hoodie. I carry an odiferous aroma about my being ranging between Downey fabric softener and last night’s Pizza.
I’ve got my hair in an erect ponytail and I shield my puffy bags with over sized Raybans. I can’t imagine why the make-up crews single me out……..
I’ve got the ability to clean up while driving and apply make-up at stop intervals. The drivers behind me hate it though, they keep honking at me just because I’m waiting for the Stop sign to turn green. I thought it would buy me more time with the Mascara…. I find it takes two applications now. One; to find the lashes, and two; to glue together the few that I have left…..forming a uni-lash.
The downfall about putting make-up on in a car are the bumps in the roads. They are always working on our streets and neglecting to refill the potholes, so when I finally reach my final destination ( usually the school drop off line) and park my car and get out, I notice people staring and kids pointing in my direction.
After transmitting my morning without coffee sneer to ward off evil onlookers, I take a quick pause into the ladies room to wash the morning gas of my hands from filling the empty tank left by my husband. I looked up at the mirror as I rinsed the suds off my paws and saw what the villagers were scoffing at: My freshly applied make-up face resembled a combination of Picaso’s Weeping Woman and Baby Jane Hudson’s as she delivered a Parakeet to her sister…….
I’ve got a pair of pumps that my feet haven’t felt in ages. One cannot describe the agonizing pinch of the toes that have been granted freedom in flip flops with arches that collapsed from the great depression of Ked’s insoles. I took the time one late afternoon to strap on some heels and practice walking in them around the house with no one around to witness the teetering and the giant fight against balance, except Charly-dog, who steered clear of my runway in fear of a crash landing.
I spent the better half of the day shuffling about in my designer heels that peeped out from my Yoga pants. I practiced my walk until I felt I had it down to a science and stopped echoing a staggering drunk on some forgotten street. I felt confident and assured that I had tackled the High Heel dilemma and ventured to take my stiletto’s to another dimension: The Stair case.
Climbing up the steps was met with ease….. it was the descent that had me clinging to the banister like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, avoiding a result mimicking Scarlett O’Hara’s demise after her lunge toward a drunken Butler…….
I’ve got a resume. Somewhere. It hasn’t been updated since the Clinton administration. Just a minor
I’ve got credentials. I’m accredited with incredibility. References available upon request. Go ahead…..request. Request until the cows come home. Habeas corpus; I can produce the body……..it’s just a little rusty and needs a make over….which the Lancome staff has a signed commitment to uphold……
If you don’t like my credibility try my crudites. They are incredible, and edible, but not available upon request.
I’ve got the corporate beige panty hose that are tied up in knots from the last load in the wash cycle.
I’ve got a brief case from 1987 that needs airing.
I’ve got a boat load of humor stuck in me that is trying to float to the surface………………..
spread the humor.
My high school son announced the other day that he was getting a tattoo.
I told him: “That’s nice, and when you leave for your INK appointment make sure you take extra clothes with you”.
He stated back: ” Why? Do they make you change your clothes?”.
“No”. I smiled back at him….” You’ll be needing something to wear when you find yourself no longer living in this house for doing something stupid”.
“My friend Jordan got one”….He mocks back. “It’s scripture, written under his arm”.
“Well”, I breath out between gritted teeth, “I’m sure God will be pleased to know that his word is being spread through Jordan’s armpit”.
He carries on: “You know I turn 18 soon, and I don’t need your permission. That’s what Jordan did”.
I hate that sense of entitlement and the continual referencing of the legal age of consent being thrown at me. Just four years prior I had to defend against the dark art of over usage of that illegal statement by my daughter. (That’s right..I call it an Illegal statement because teens tend to use it before they are deemed legal).
I smiled that smile you may have seen painted across the Mona Lisa’s face; the one that smirks: I’m not that innocent…..
I shot back: ” Son, you are right, you don’t need my permission, nor my money, nor a roof over your head, nor the car you drive, nor the snowboard and all the equipment that goes with it, nor the food in the fridge, nor the education I provided, nor the pants that hang below the boxer line, nor the straight teeth, nor the numerous Doctor visits to cure your acne, nor…”
“Mom”…he tries to chime in, interrupting my total recall as I tally his bill and prepare an invoice for Mom Services Rendered.
“Moooom, stop already..I get it”.
“Oh sorry son, sometimes my Stepford brain wiring runs amok with phrases pertaining to child rearing chores…”
I continue; ” It triggers a signal when a teen gives me eye rolling attitude and it can fly out of control when such teen harbors intense entitlement followed by contemptible demands that are rooted and enhanced by Jordan’s freshly stamped armpit”.
How is it that I give birth to two different children of two different genders four years apart, yet I am met with similar situations at roughly the same time intervals? How…
My daughter once came to me at the same age and roughly the same time with the same demand: I’m getting a tattoo. Why do they pick a tattoo. Why not a new spiral notebook or a matching pair of High GPA’s. If they are looking to instill the shock value, getting high scores might do it for me…..
As far as I can tell, I quashed the tattoo dilemma with my daughter the same way I managed to hold off any piercings in areas where they don’t belong. When my daughter was five she wanted her ears pierced. Her reasoning at the time was:
“Because her friend Emily is getting her ears pierced”.
I wasn’t going to get into the family accolade of my mother’s comeback to anything I wanted to do in benefit of someone else, that being: “Well would you jump off a bridge if so-n-so jumped off a bridge?”.
In which I always responded with: “Possibly… it depends on the weather”. Or some ending that would throw her a curve ball and cause her Stepford Brain to re-route…
I brought my daughter to a local mall to get her ears pierced as she petitioned. As we stood next in line, the first piercing victim was a four year old girl stepping up to a high stool minus any arm support. We watched as the ear-piercing attendant approached her with a giant gun that shoots studs into her delicate lobes. My daughter witnessed an unbearable Ear Piercing scream from the cute little waif and grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the exit doors.
The next piercing conversation that came up was in her teens when the rave was attaching a gold hoop through your navel, nose, tongue, and any other not for prime time area of the body. I merely discussed with her that should she attempt to pierce anything but the lobe of her ears, I will personally shop her down and remove the piercing my self….no anesthesia required…..
My first born’s inclinations for obtaining an underage tattoo came about later ,nearing her high school graduation. She, too, offered up the proverbial ” Household Teen Amendment” of: “When I’m eighteen………..”.
It was then I took the medical approach to describe in pain staking detail to my daughter the artistry of Tattooing, knowing full well of the intense fear she has of needles. I know this first hand from the early years of her receiving inoculations by the Pediatrician. My daughter required a Swat team to steady her limbs…..
I continued my diatribe of the long term effect of hosting a tattoo. I calmly explained that depending upon the physical location of this desired Ink Splotch, she will wake up one morning with that cute little butterfly she posted on the lower 40 anatomy and discover its collagen wings collapsed and fell into a fatty fold. And in another thirty years or so she will experience the butterfly defect of The Girl with the Dragging tattoo….
For all you fresh parents out there who shelter tiny tots and elementary dumplings who can’t imagine ever being confronted with issues outside of Gerber, Lego, and little league; hold onto your diaper bags when you hit that bump in the stroller. There will come a time when one has to confront the battle of the almost legal teen who proudly injects their unprincipled Bill of Rights onto your List of Wrongs.
Just make sure you don your under armor and prepare for the battle of parental injustice as they cry foul play when you take their hand in yours and guide them down that road of teenage wasteland to take a sneak peek under their armpit nation…….
spread the humor. This one’s for you Karen…
I have been doing time as a quasi- stay- at -home parent for..let’s say…..22.5 years. I believe I have met the necessary requirements and demands that became the imprisoned criteria throughout those years in order to obtain freedom from: boring PTA meetings, exhaustible Fund Raisers, Mad Max Sports Chauffeur, 24 hour on call chef , Personal Shopper, Emotional Referee, and in-house psychiatrist…..All this parental jurisprudence under one leaky roof to allow freedom while enforcing order among family chaos….
I have enjoyed my time in this institution of parenting through each and every stage of child development. All the way from directing developing girls into their first wonder bra, to underdeveloped boys figuring out how to un-hook them.
It seems like only yesterday that my daughter was putting her toddler feet into my size 8 Charles Jourdan’s teetering and shuffling through the house while leaving a trail of scratch marks on the hardwoods. Now she is grown and shuffles her Knock-off collection between college and home via the trunk of a car, and still teeters and stumbles in her stiletto’s on the hardwoods.
And my son, soon to approach high school graduation and walk towards that collegiate path where he will pick up the fork in the road and use it as a reminder of all the lovely over cooked meals mom made for him. I think he will enjoy his “leaving the nest” gift I constructed out of the equipment and attire that lays suffocating inside his sports bag gasping for a breath of fresh Febreze huddled in the garage for months on end….…..oh it just brings tears to my eyes……..
Yes, time flies when you’re raising kids. Sometimes too fast and in certain predicaments, sometimes not fast enough. Looking back for example: Potty training. My children had stubborn bottoms. There was no way in Hell that they were going to plant their tuschies on a porcelain stool containing water with a hole in it and “let loose”. They might fall in and who knows where that would lead to.
I invested in a lot of time and energy and “potty” reading material in order to get my kids trained in toiletry. I researched all the child experts and read their advice on bathroom training and the commode controversy. All that information just filtered an assortment of crap that drained me and I was left pooped for the day. Who has that kind of time to sit and read lengthy descriptive potty books to toddlers in hopes to encourage a movement.
When my kids did finally concede to try the pot located in a chamber adjacent to their rooms, they found themselves actually liking it and would sit for what seemed like hours. Once my son hopped off the pot to go grab a toy and return to the bathroom theater to reenact the “mummy” with Elmo wrapped in Ultra Soft.
My daughter took a more regal approach and dragged her Crayola markers to the throne as she mastered an imitation of a Calder painting onto the toilet tank.
Yes, those were the days that I didn’t mind if the hours raced on ahead…
Lately,I find myself caught in a web that spins in only two directions as my parenting comes down a home stretch creating a possibility for early parole….if you’ll Pardon the expression. There is a minor offensive feeling of freedom when you are about to face an empty nest. It’s sort of an unleashed guilty pleasure of retreating back to what was once designated as ” Me Time”; yet, at the same time, harboring a push-me-pull-you defense against “letting Go”.
Just as I came to grips with the realization that my household was soon to be down to basically Charly-dog and me, and I started to feel the content and joy of releasing most of the everyday tedium involved with indwelling kids. Just as my heart started to jump for joy as I unfastened the shackles of daily duties revolving around kid schedules and looking forward to…oh….I dunno………. perennial Spa time?……..
I received a phone call.
My son’s school called to ask if we could be an “emergency host family for a foreign exchange student from Holland who needed a place until graduation in June”.
This all came about before the holidays. I could not lie and tell my sons school that there was “no room at the inn”, so I took the little Dutch boy in.
Apparently Amsterdam Boy and my son are two tulips in a vase. They became best friends at the beginning of the school year. When Holland boy’s window of opportunity landed from Netherland into our home, I swear I had met my sons Doppleganger. They are the same size and shape. They laugh alike, they walk alike, and times they even talk alike.……….in different languages.
They are both carved out of the same Dutch Elm. Both their bedrooms resemble an aftermath of the Fourth Anglo-Dutch war. The shrapnel of clothing splinter out from the opened dresser drawers and wounded trousers lay lifeless on the floor from their nights frivolity. I gather up dirty laundry from two countries now. I find myself lost in the glory of scooping up the minor coins that strategically drop from loosened pockets throughout the house. I’ll hang onto the Euro’s from Dutch boy until the exchange rate drops to our level, then give him a buy back option…
I will conclude that hosting a foreign exchange student has actually turned out to be a pleasure. There are no major complications and the language barrier is minimal. He respects my professionalism I’ve acquired in the experience of teen behavior: Eye Rolling is International.
Yes, confronting the empty nest syndrome has had some effect on me. It caused me to confront the hollow spaces left behind where dirty laundry and missing History assignments use to congregate. I always thought when this time came, I would succumb to the sadness of a half empty house and wallow and wine as I second guess my parenting skills. Skills that did not include instructions from the onset. Skills that you obtained through trial and error and all the Dr. Spock books in the world could not prepare you for. Skills that have been handed down from generations nursing verbal acuity with four simple words:
“Because I said so….”
Yes, the bars will be lifted soon and I will be set free to roam about the cabin without tripping over size 13 shoes left in the middle of the kitchen floor; accompanied now with size 12 Faux Wooden clog slippers. Something tells me my nest won’t be empty for long and my parental ship will not be sailing into the sunset where freedom rings and Chianti flows rampant, and responsibility can take a back seat. Something out there is still lurking around and sniffing about my feet to fill the void that is soon to come…..
Oh..yea… I forgot………Charly-dog.
spread the humor
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