Its late and I’m so ready fro bed. I’m sitting in my jump seat in the back of a loud buzzing plane. We touch down in Memphis and crawl along awkwardly on the taxiway, a great hulking beast who moves best in the sky. The pale orange lights of the ramp shine dimly through the windows, and making slightly lighter shapes that look like ghosts haunting the plane, moving across the walls and crawling across the carpet. The ache of my feet, the whir of the engines, even the questions the passengers ask me about their luggage and “is this my usual route?”, all so familiar.
This has been shown in stark relief to me as I’m flying with a brand new flight attendant who is doing her operational training. This is her first flight ever and she is observing and then being observed by her instructor who will have to sign off before she can fly on her own. She is eager and excited, and very worried about doing something wrong. I remember that.
I’m almost jealous of her enthusiasm, even about how much she cares. How have I become so cynical about everything so quickly? I’ve been doing this for about two and a half years. I’m certainly no veteran who has been here for twenty. But I can’t help compare my negativity to her upbeat view on the job. Now, I don’t think this makes me a worse flight attendant. I’m good at the smile and have a nice day. I go out of my way to help passengers make their flights when we are delayed.The passengers are one aspect where I still care. A passenger would never know if I’m having a terrible day, as it should be. All that acting training had to come in handy at some point. I do my job and I do it well.
So realistically, my attitude effects only myself.
I think this to myself as we are waiting for the van to the hotel for twenty minutes, then discover we may not have rooms at this hotel. My captain (thank God for assertive Captains) is on the phone with crew scheduling for at least 45 minutes trying to get it figured out, only to find out they had tried to send us to a hotel where we didn’t have reservations, so we drive to a different hotel, a half hour away from the airport, where I may get roughly 6 hours of sleep because this craziness has eaten into so much of our layover. And I remember why I’m cynical.
But I have to go back to, who does that help? While it isn’t with out cause I have to acknowledge that complaining and venting will only make me feel better to an acceptable extent. But I suppose there is a difference in knowing that things are often going to go wrong and I will suffer for it, and accepting it and moving on, and knowing it and holding onto these dark marks on the day, and make them only what I take away from my job.
Tonight I met a man named Clarence who had a voice like James Earl Jones and the nicest manners I’ve ever encountered. I was complimented on my glasses, more than once, a random little girl on my plane said I was pretty. The other flight attendant told me she thought I would make an excellent oe instructor.
Nice things happened to me today as well. Why is it so hard to take that away from my experiences? I felt the need to get this out in place of about 25 minutes of sleep, but perhaps that is okay, maybe it will help me enjoy my next day of flying a little more.