Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Five Things I Used To Care About, But Then I Graduated From College.

1. my diet

There was a time when I ate a lot of kale chips, didn't buy bread, and avoided eating anything that was delivered via a window into my car. Then I graduated from college. Turns out, kale is really expensive when the rent is due, and when life feels like a post apocalyptic hellscape, you really need to eat two crunch wrap supremes and have a stomache-ache to match your soul-ache.

 I'm trying to find a middle ground between this bizarre slew of fast food binge-fests, and my clean colon past, but i seem to be hovering by that 24 hour Taco Bell on Stadium a lot more, lately. At $1.75, A 7-layer burrito is cheaper than groceries.

  2. my body hair

This started with the STAPH FEST 2012, a happy time, when I got a flesh eating virus in my armpit and then couldn't shave for two months. Since then, I've been very relaxed about the state of my extraneous body hair. Let's be real: I'm blonde. I'm not very hairy. I don't try very hard as it is. Now, I only shave my pits if it's a birthday, or I'm on a date that doesn't involve someone telling me about how he plays the baritone recorder.

  3. Having Non-Ripped Underwear

It all comes down to cost. Look, I know that "5 for 25" is supposed to be a good deal, Victoria, but it simply is not. It's not a good deal, honey. And I know that hand-washing and delicate cycle are a thing...but laundry is a pain in the ass.

 I'm in that middle ground where I can't just buy undies when I run out, but I can never remember that since I don't have coin laundry, I can afford to run my panties on the "delicate" cycle. As a consequence, I find my panties hugging tight to my blue jeans after putting them through two cycles in the dryer on the "Summertime on mars" setting.

  4. Being Friends with my Exes

Ex-Friend Boy(noun): An ex boyfriend who you attempt to be friends with.  This relationship generally consists of awkward coffee dates and half-hearted hellos at bars, followed by a speedy departure, because one of you is probably on a date. "You're really cool with each other",  but it is a shallow and uncomfortable situation, and generally results in unnecessary rage and resentment from one or both parties.

Look, a relationship is essentially a friendship, and breaking up is,  generally speaking, the equivalent of saying "Hey best friend, you're really going nowhere with your life, and I'm seriously hoping for something better." It's not criminal to say that, and in many cases,  it's totally warranted. But it sucks to hear, and it's mean.


If you don't want to date me, that's cool. I'm hairy and my underwear are weird. But, like, then let's just not hang out. Let's call a spade a spade, and a douche-bag, a douche bag, ya feel?


**This rule doesn't apply if you are in an awkward, tiny friend group, or you need a lighting designer for your senior thesis.




5.  Having People Think my Hair Isn't Dyed. 

If Shakira Can Rock Four inch Roots, then SO CAN I.

--SheWolf OUT

Monday, November 4, 2013

A wall of words, from a month on the lam.

On a bumpy bus ride, one of a thousand rides home from somewhere I’d rather be. I am not, but not unlike a New Yorker walking through Times Square. It’s so bad that most people would rather run in front of three lanes of cars than stay on 42nd and 7th for any measurable amount of time. Midtown: to wander through crowds of lost tourists who are constantly moving and pushing and side-stepping toward the shiny center so that they can hug a bed bug infested homeless man in an Elmo suit or pay three hundred dollars to see a man in a Superman costume dangle, his torso wrapped in airplane cord. Midtown gets us all down.
And all you want to do is go home or go to get on a train and into a better neighborhood where these people who feel nothing do not go for fear of the danger that this city hasn’t had for a decade.
New York wants you to stay alive. It urges you on, it invites you into cash-only pizza places in Jewish neighborhoods where little boys hold their hats in hand so that they can wear a bike helmet and speed by the emptying Brooklyn street at dusk. It is the systolic and diastolic when your heart is so broken and torn up and in rebellion of your passion that it all feels like more of a joke than it usually does and you have no choice but to laugh like a madman when you are finally alone, but not alone, on the subway. Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, so the city is faithful still. And even those theatres overrun with commercial nothingness and corporate sponsors are packed on a Wednesday afternoon, each dying soul hoping to find the gospel for even just a moment, in between advertisements for Coca-Cola and exhausted references to William Shakespeare. He got it right, the rest of us are just pretenders, so they say. So someone says.
So what if everyone dies, so everything. Some people are in the business of preserving life for as long as possible; I’m in the business of enjoying it in the tiny sips it has been doled out to me. If it’s all over tomorrow, thank god because I have run out of activities. And since everything is made up as it is, I prefer to count my currency in mirth. Even in lack of mirth, because a negative number is just that number with a stepladder in front of it. At least I know what the gutter tastes like. At least I know.
I’d have that eternal mirth, and you your pragmatism and realism and so-called clarity, which is fear dressed as ambition for Halloween. And if all of these scribbles mean nothing and are not admirable, then so do those microscopic scribbles that sometimes behave and sometimes do not. I am failing to see much of a discernable difference between what I do and what you do.
Remember a half smile at the thought of staying. Remember the catch in your throat at not knowing but deciding to know anyway. Remember remembering how good it felt.
But then the canopy gave way and suddenly I am flighty and temporary; live a life in distortion, distraction, sure to fall and never get up again. So, by the beckoning of your bootheels, I took my love and my confusion and my stray dog gypsy life and I wrapped it into a bandana and tried again somewhere else.
Again, and stated clearly for the record: I’d have forged a path in precision and forsaken calamity because I, in no uncertain terms, adore your carefulness and your little drinking problem that you cultivate like a garden so that you can still retain some memorable pith. And stated once again in booming resonance I request only a stay of execution, not a life in any sense of the permanence that it is not.
“Everything is temporary” and a wry grin. And so it is. But that’s my point, you idiot.
In New York, it is too loud to think on love too hard, and yet the thoughts infect the mind, even when sitting on a roof that shakes hands with the empire state building, eating a salad with too many capers. Even when watching a little girl rebel against the adults like I used to do long ago when I believed in something more than the eternal wrongness of my singular self.
Where does all of the love go for bottle blondes with good singing voices and too many tattoos above the waist? And we are off again down rabbit holes of what-ifs and if-onlys and how-coulds, where I think of post-bacs and post-docs and my grade-point-average, which are as meaningless as taking a yoga class or having a drink but someone thought to create a hierarchy, under which I am well suited but ill fitted.
Jabber jabber jabber I’ll talk until I say it right and the key is revealed and I found the crack in your logic but there are a million faults in the wall of china and everyone still wants to climb all over it like its nothing. In the end, I know that you see the cracks, too, and the plain truth is that it was fun while it lasted but never meant to last because who stays with anyone who is such a hanger on.
And isn’t it just your ego, oh eternal discontent, that made you feel so guided toward a man who just wanted to be nice because the Midwest teaches manners and you just don’t know what that’s like and you think he might stick around because you think you are so special but what do you know about mitochondria that isn’t from A Wrinkle in time? Not so much anymore, like you said, you were smarter in high school when you had unbridled potential and now you are bridled and double bitted and ready to be ridden into intellectual poverty and not a good investment. Try for someone with a trust fund; they can take a gamble like you, if they’ve got the stomach. You’re only twenty-two and have been put out to pasture for idle behavior, so what good are you for but idle amusement.
But then the sun still comes, though it is early to rise and bed thanks to an adjustment of our clocks, so I'll keep my optimism in my back pocket and keep trying to make a straight line out of a spiderweb.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I dreamt I was an orange seed.

I dreamt I was an orange seed. Every spring, I would burrow myself into the soil to try and take root.  Thrice, the wind came and swept me away.  Once, a bird picked me out of my shallow habitat and carried me off.  Another time, I sunk too deep into the soil and when the rain came, I drowned.  Finally, I took to the right depth, the right quality and conditions, and I began to grow.

my roots spread in all directions. I was planted, and it seemed like the hard work was over.  Without  much difficulty, I sprouted; a delicate green tendril who pled her allegiance to the sun. But my woody stems took their good, sweet time, and delicacy grew to be a test of its own. Wind, rain and drought questioned the integrity of my form. I was brown and limp; nearly dead. It was then that I began to grow again.

From A seedling I crept into a young tree with two branches, Three leaves, one blossom.   Nourishing, that sole flower with all of the xylem and phloem within my structure, I battled against August.  But fall came before fruit.  Leaves fell off, and the blossom withered.   Winter came and I barely made it through the harsh winds and snow.

  For years, i was three leaves and a single blossom; nothing I could do would improve that reality.  Other branches formed, but did not bear flower or leaf. It was only from the confirmation of my increasing near-sighted-ness that I had an inkling that the ground was farther away than it was last year.  But, it could just be my eyes.

Then one day, a fourth leaf.  A flower I had not noticed closed in and started the painful, slow process of becoming an orange.  One flower, one fruit, four leaves.

Fall came, tore the greening fruit from it's branch. A winter of grief followed.


Spring was elated to find countless blossoms on branches, and from these blossoms countless green orange buds formed.

Finally, one, singular orange was made, encapsulating dozens of seeds, fully formed.

 I gave it away, and I grew for next spring's harvest. As a girl, I picked the orange from myself the tree, and I realized that I has just been watching the tree grow, not growing within the tree. I was waiting longingly for that fruit for years.  I was starving to death, but now I was not hungry anymore.


I spit the seeds into small holes in the ground and started over again.  I wished them well.

it is 7 in the morning.
I am grateful for the strength of my inner self when my outer self cannot stand up to the challenge of life.
I am grateful for half-friends who do not have to be kind, but are anyway.
I am grateful for air mattresses that stay afloat.

Friday, October 25, 2013

An Open Letter to Stephen King RE: a pretty solid book pitch and a couple of random fandoms

Dear Stephen King,

 I am writing to you as somewhat of a lapsed fan. I had a spark of intense fandom for your work around ten years ago, when my mom encouraged me to watch the film, "IT", because she knew how much vested interest I had in clowns.  When I fell asleep, she tied a balloon to my toes. I did not find it funny, but I did accredit the ensuing night terrors to your literary brilliance, even though it could be argued that the honor rests squarely on the shoulders of my long-suffering mother.  Once again, someone else gets credit for the work she did. But I digress.

Around late middle school/early high school I took an interest in actually reading IT, along with The Tommyknockers, Desperation, and probably a couple others, I don't really remember, I've read about a book a week since that date, and honestly your books are the kind i can just buzz through. This isn't necessarily bad, but I probably devour them too quickly to remember important plot points because I am so curious to know how you are going to creatively kill your stock characters.

I found the world you created in your novels enthralling and page-turning, but devoid of a lasting kind of fear. No, sir, you never succeeded in giving me more than a passing "eek", and even those were generous reactions to your carefully constructed suspension tactics.

If you would like to know what future readers might be looking for in a long-lasting, life-ruining fear-fest, you need only peek into the syllabus of a pretentious undergraduate English course.
The first time I picked up Proust's in search of lost time or Beckett's  The Unnamable, I stopped sleeping for more than four hours at a time, started drinking whiskey neat and dropped out of my Economics course.  Your books, while suspenseful and unexpected, never succeeded in placing an existential cannonball in my gullet like the aforementioned pieces did.  That is not to say that I don't like your work. After all, at least Bobbi and Gard worked in some phenomenal sex in the course of a town's disintegration in T-knocks.

(C)literally nothing happens in the aforementioned books of terror. Proust is just so fragile that even a fucking cookie sends him over the edge, and Beckett's careful uncertainty is nothing more than a  mimeograph of the nervous inner monologue we all have but like to pretend that we don't hear.  Its not a photocopier because it is not sure enough of its purpose to produce a clear picture, so we are just getting used to the muck as we go along. Get it? You probably don't get it because you read for pleasure and not for self destruction.

Digression after digression. The point it,  I have an idea for a new book that integrates both the alien-body-snatching qualities of Tommyknockers and the existential dread of Beckett's novelistic endeavors.

Stephen, there are girls in yoga class that don't sweat.  They do handstands, they crunch and flip their dogs, they double up on classes where we pretzel our bodies in heated rooms, and they leave looking nothing less than Rick's Ready. (By the way, if you haven't been to Ricks, you should check it out some time. There is definitely a good deal of body snatching going on there.)

These indescribably moisture-less girls are not, as you might think, the lululemon-wearing Tri-Deltas you might initially imagine. i've already taken into account that this particular breed likely has access to some cutting-edge sweat-eliminating Swedish drug that convinces your body to grow an inch of hair in lieu of accumulating sweat. I have accepted that this is probably a very normal, human thing. After all, those sororities are seriously well-connected.

No, these sweat-less goddesses are often wearing some brand of exercise clothing that looks both very sophisticated and very worn.  They do not smell like anything other than lemongrass and lavender. They wear buffs and their hair is either all springy curls or a long, coarse brunette.  They don't wear makeup--not to class, not to yoga, not to Ricks. Likely, they do not go to Ricks, because they are aliens. They have brown eyes, and artfully designed tattoos that were done using traditional tribal practices.  Sometimes, they have a nose ring.

These girls look like they could be my friend, if I weren't so neurotic and sweaty.  When I have tendrils of bang-hair plastered to my forehead, they are gracefully balancing in a four minute crow posture and the sun is rising off of their small, round asses, and there is not a drop of sweat, except maybe one falling from their cheeks, like a tear but happy because these girls are just so happy. But again, in a quiet way. They don't talk. They just mona lisa smile all over the room and look like the opening montage to a high-budget romantic comedy.

Stephen, where do these girls come from? Is having an excellent hand-stand vinyasa a new way of creating a marvelous invention from an ordinary object?

 Are they aliens? Or is there like, a club for girls that don't smell bad when they work out and I just wasn't invited?

This kind of existential fear of missing out (E-fomo), combined with the existence of what are obviously supernatural creatures, would be the ideal start to a new book by you, one that would effectively cannonball the gullets of all non-hopeless literature lovers.  You might be asking, Olivia, why dont you write this novel? Why save all of the glory, money and fame for me? 


Well Stephen, I figure that at this stage in your career, you can stand to take a risk.  This, while it will certainly be your best work-to-date, will seem like such a risk at first.  But then, with the endorsement of your name and loyal fan base, it will flourish, whether its good or not. And  believe me, it will be good. 
However, if I premiere my horror novel empire with this piece, people might immediately niche me into Body Terror or some other undesirable sub-category of a genre, and I want to keep my options open.


 Therefore, I've resolved to never finish anything I write and continue to have boundless potential. Currently, I'm writing a never-to-be-finished play about Icarus and Ariadne, both of whom have been over-written to death, but not, to their dismay, by me.  So once I half-finish my opinion on their lives, maybe I would half-write this story.  But this story should not be half-written. This is a story designed to terrify an entire generation of people who are just kinda good at a couple things, and who are not good at sports, and consider yoga a sport.

 Anyway, I look forward to reading this book about sweat-less yoga monsters; please be advised, they are all brunettes.



With Love,

Olivia Lloyd

P.S.
I only request that I get a nod in the acknowledgement section, with some obscure thank you that sounds like we have had a good deal of really excellent times together, basking in one another's literary prolificacy.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Courting my Spark

Well, hello again.

One time when I was little, I took horseback riding lessons.  Aside from the fact that this time in my life coincides with my "Young Abigail Breslin Lookalike" phase, it was probably the most excited I've ever been to do anything. Ever.  my personal timeline is punctuated by cynicism about nearly everything other than horses.

Well, I only did one show. Yes, I did a horse show, and Yes, I did Western style. I wore a pink, pearl-snapped shirt. I was beaten by a girl in a ten gallon hat. And also by everyone else competing.

Ladies and gents, Olivia failed at the only thing she ever found important in life; doing mundane tasks while riding on the back of an enormous animal.

It's not entirely my fault. "ICE", the horse I was assigned to ride, was 18 hands tall, and 18 years old. That translates to about a trillion in horse years.  He got pissy, he wouldn't obey, and I couldn't get him close enough to the mailbox so that I could get the imaginary mail. In horse people speak, that is an automatic fail. No mail, you fail.

I remember thinking, after realizing that I would never ride Mitt Romney's horse at the Olympics, that I had hit rock bottom. This was it. This was as good as it was going to get, and it didn't even get good.

my mother told me to stop acting so gloomy. She didn't understand. This was it for me!
I would have to find another chosen profession in life, as Annie Oakley was already taken by the brunette in long braids with a ten gallon hat.

On a side note, there is always a brunette getting in the way of my happiness. Always. 

 Of course, I bounced back. I stopped riding horses so much, but that had more to do with the fact that I don't own a horse than anything else.  Also, my mom got really nervous watching me during lessons. She doesn't like horses. She doesn't get the whole Annie Oakley thing. I don't see why.

And even though it is pretty silly, when I look back, I can still feel the shadow of that spike in my belly that said "you weren't good enough". Even though it is all so trivial now, I guess it was really, truly a heartbreak at the time.

I've been spending the last couple of weeks falling off of a couple of horses.. I'm broke, worried, and pretty heartbroken. It's been hard to write a snarky blog about being a free-spirited non-flight attended because i do not feel free or spirited in the least bit. Luckily, I am working on it.

Soon, I will be back in full-swing me-ness, in whatever place I end up finding myself in. And believe me, there are a couple of options, several split second decisions and a couple what-ifs lying between me and my "final decision".

For now, ICE is still a jackass, but my spark is coming back. I don't get so weepy. I'm a little more confident. Life isn't all my fault. It's just like, you know, a little bit of eveyone's fault.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

an open letter

Dear Emily,

 I've spent the past four days at home sitting in your sweatpants, eating bread and alternating between writing cover letters and listening to the Shins while crying.

your sweatpants say WVU DANCE and are way too long for me. I imagine they hit the top of your ankles.

sometimes, I get really angry at myself when I think about how much life I have, and how much of it I waste being unsure of myself and what I want. Also, I get mad at myself when I think that you never felt afraid or unsure. Of course you did. You were flawed as hell, thank god.  People call you an angel now, but you were my rebellious, impulsive best friend.  You were a total mess sometimes, which is good, because you also had this uncanny ability to actually not pass judgement on people for the stupid stuff they did. most of the time, anyway.

I wish I had some of your perspective on this whole thing. Probably because I know it would start with "dude" and end with "just do what you want".  You never really gave advice so much as repeated back to me what I said like I'd already given myself the answer.

Whenever I come home, I half expect to see you. Remember when we were little girls and made up a talk show? You were the host, all polished and professional, and I was the unfortunate cast of characters you had to interview. A wealthy heiress, a bipolar actress, a pop singer with an (obviously) live performance of some Hilary Duff song.

I think ten year old us probably wants me to go to New York, but they also thought that 22 was an impossibly old age.

In times like these, there should be some kind of reprieve from death, so that I can call you on the phone, and from your celestial perch you can tell me to chill out and stop making such a big deal out of everything.

Caroline and Carly are going to be around this weekend. Its so lonely without you stretched out impossibly across the only doorway, so that we all have to leap over you or suffer the weird horse-chomp noise you make when you're half waked.

If anyone can figure out how to text from the ethereal plane of existence, its you.  If you figure it out soon, I'd appreciate your two cents.  Better yet, any materialization opportunities that might lead to a momentary hug would be great, too.

 I think about the love I haven't found, the dream job I don't have, the kids I haven't even thought of--and how I'm going to tell you about them when I finally do get those things.

Sometimes, I think we've just lost touch. That makes me sad, too, but its easier to imagine you still dancing with koala bears and kangaroos than to recognize the reality of the situation.

 Em, I am so lost as usual. Everyone says my decisions are "not life-or-death", but isn't everything only life-or death? Isn't that what we learned? You either live, or you don't. I just want to get it right, so I can tell you about it later.

Love,

Liv

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Homecoming

Adages that will get any "gypsy" "pixie" "lunatic" through times of strife:

No plans ever go as planned.
A job application a day keeps the weeping at bay.
It's better to have loved and lost than to be one of those people who don't drink coffee.

 while I am closer to mining out some kind of passable existence, it is not the one I expected. I guess that's what I bargained for when I went off half-cocked and decided to vagabond around until I found something like happiness.

"You're hard on yourself and hard on the world"--mom
Dear world,
thanks for all of the high-fives on quitting my job and being homeless. Y'all are strange.
Also, you all seem to have such beautiful plans for my future. That's nice. They're all really nice to hear, and I'd really like to know how they work out.

This is the first time in my life where I'm not entirely sure where I am going or what I am doing in the next 24 hours.  This is the first time in years that I haven not had a job for more than a couple of weeks. This is the first time in my life where I have had moments of sincere "every way looks like a bad way"  thoughts.

Everyone gets lost sometimes, and spins his or her wheels in the mud until the tires catch some traction and we are on our merry way again.
...right?

It is fabled that there are people who don't take risks. And I think that day-to-day, they enjoy a higher level of security, comfort and run-of-the-mill happiness, especially if their risk-free life involves some kind of rewarding-ish work.

  But I believe (have to believe) that sometimes you have to spill all of the paint on the floor and break all of the windows and severely wound your hand because you're trying to convince a beercap that your index finger is a bottle opener. If only to have something to talk about, or to feel grateful for people who will bandage your hand. And-- take note of those who are quick to file you as a failure when you've only just driven your car up over the curb.
So I'm not the best at driving. I still get there, even if I go through Boonsboro to get to Krumpees. Sorry Clayton.

I thought I might stay in Ann Arbor, with all of its safety and warmth. I'd play my vagabond music, and meet people I might have overlooked before.  I'd learn to be a person, and I'd write and be safe and be held at night. maybe i'd go camping on the weekends. I'd let normality wash over me for as long as I possibly could.

Ann Arbor seems to have other plans, though, and as of yesterday I am drawn to New York, where I will work myself sick and pay too much for a closet bedroom.  Where everything is both overrated and better than can accurately be described.  Where I will be surrounded by people who are too convinced that they are in the pinnacle profession, in the best city in the world, with the best life imaginable. In other words, theatre people who I love and hate and wholly belong to.

 more often than not, I am finding that selfsame self-asbsorbed attitude in receptionists, in scientists, in baristas.  We all want you to think we are the best and doing the best and chose the best.  So why not involve myself in the study of self-love. In New York, you can either love yourself and what you do, or go home. That's a straightforward deal, and I do enjoy how New York is as upfront with me as I am with any given person.

This week, I've seen a tall blonde girl with a gratuitous hip-swaying gait prance through some crowd just out of the corner of my eye.  I've caught sight of a puff of half-dreadlocked hair, frayed from years of black dye and bleach, pop into a black Nissan and driving away.
I know these shadows, who come out to say hello when my ends are at their most loose.

Like every time before, I've followed these figures, knowing full well that they are not what I think they are,  that I will be disappointed.  Knowing that if the day comes when I do actually see who I am looking for, I have bigger fish to fry than feeling lost in the world.

 But it is not so bad, having these guardian memories flashing through streets they never walked, reminding me that, if only for the opportunity of continuing to remember, there is a reason to keep improvising until I find a life where remembering isn't hard, and the living is easy.



Monday, September 30, 2013

Nascent.

Apparently, my welcome band, full of job offers, cute and reasonably priced one-bedroom apartments did not get my change-of-address form.  It's probably still stuck in Oz along with a horse that is constantly changing colors, which I believe I was supposed to receive on my seventh birthday.

I never really thought of myself as an impatient person, because apparently I do not know myself at all.

 I think I'm beginning to understand why people in their twenties are so selfish, whiny and indecisive (I have been a combination of these three things my entire life because I am advanced)

We've had all of this time to go to school, learn things, fill our heads with ideas, examine every option in exhausting multitude.  The world is ours, full of potential and jobs and every door, window and skylight is flung wide open for our perusal.

 When we reach our twenties, we take a bull-fighting run at the windows of our choice...only to find that the glass hasn't been removed.  There was just a lot of Windex, and like so many birds, we find ourselves a little dazed and a little more boxed in than we had initially anticipated.


Really, though-- I'm fine.  Sometimes, I check in with myself and say "Are we sure we know why we are here? And why we left?" and my conscience gives me a big thumbs up and reminds me of panty hose.

  I'm where I need to be--for now.  The best thing about Ann Arbor is how it never feels like home, but it always feels comfortable.  These are my streets, filled with nice yellow autumn leaves and people who will help me get back on my feet, but it never feels like a place that can keep me for too long.  Even though I lived here for four years, much of that time was spent elsewhere--home, New York City...et cetera. I haven't entirely overstayed my welcome.

 I still haven't counted the Big Apple out as a part of the plan yet. She is certainly the Endgame, but something tells me that moving there, feeling as at loose ends, being as broke and confused as I am now is not the way to settle into a life in New York.  I could be wrong, but I think that this is the point where I have passed "right" and "wrong" and entered the realm of "decide" or "remain unhappy". 

Nothing in Ann Arbor is as I expected it to be, which is probably the biggest adjustment I am experiencing so far.  most of all, I have been surrounded by friends with offers of couches, snuggles, beers, winter subleases, and ears to listen to the knotted ball of a yarn I seem to be spinning.  I don't know how these people found me, or why they still like me, but there are some serious karma points being raked in here on their end.

I think the thing that scares me the most is my reluctance to embrace the madness, sit down for a second, and realize that it is really, actually all temporary.  The way that I feel is temporary.  The duffel bags on my friend's floor is as temporary as the worry on her face when she sees me come home without a job (again). It really can only get so bad from here. And that bad is not really very bad.  I moved to a bubble-town, where bad shit is a rare and mild occurrence.  And, despite the disaster magnet that is strapped to my ass ( I can never reach it to take it off because my butt is too big), I know that things are going to settle down really quickly, and I won't feel like a deer sprinting through the woods for long, because I will find a nice thicket and settle down.
 

Friday, September 27, 2013

sometimes, you actually have to live very much like a refugee.

So, I ran away from home and also from my job.

 There are roughly a billion reasons why, and I think the Kafka-esque series of posts that proceeded this one are a pretty apt rendering of my slowly disintegrating mental and physical state.

 I don't entirely know how it happened. I was going to tough it out, and  then i put on my uniform yesterday morning, and thought no. this is so entirely wrong. I have to get out of here. This is not the adventure I was looking for. 

In reality, it was a prolonged issue.  It wasn't a snap decision, and I'm not really feeling at all sad or regretful about said choice.  Being broke and unemployed blows, and going to Ann Arbor where I have no home, money, car, or job was probably a little rash. But I feel safe here.  Here feels perfectly temporary. And I've still got a dozen or so good people who take me out for beer and listen to my life quandaries and hold my hand when I start hyperventilating.

For the moment, I am happy. And I think i'm realizing that sometimes, you just have to get back to happy before you can make any decisions, move forward in any way. And if all of this is a huge mistake?
 I'm 22. 22 is the age to make mistakes. I've got to make a couple of them or I'll be too afraid to act, which was sort of the issue to begin with.

 my inability to make a decision to be happy caused so many more problems. Of course, feeling at loose ends, scared, unhappy and disillusioned is very "normal" for being 22.  This was not "normal 22 caught -in-the-feels, though. This was spirit-guide sending-- "you're on the wrong boat" feels.  These were not the droids I was looking for.

Essentially, laying in bed and preferring to not move because moving means you have to think about the job/lifestyle you have chosen is probably a sign that it is not the life for you.  Could I have stuck it out and muddled through? Absolutely.
  The fact is, I did not want to. I did not want that. "muddling through" could be the title of my memoirs, but I think that learning how to stand still for a second might be a better use of my time. And titles like "math is a feeling" and "big butt, little girl" would be way more eye-catching on a bookshelf.


For now, this is a whole new adventure, and I'm sort of (entirely) improvising.

For today, I am going to play my guitar under the Engineering Arch. It was one of those things I'd always planned to do--to the extent that I brought my guitar there, and then...I didn't set it up.  I freaked out a little, for no apparent reason, and I never actually did it.
So that's the plan for today.

New York City, home, and staying here are all immediately reasonable options, and probably a combination of the three is where I am headed.  It might take me a while to get where I am going, but I am going to get there, by hook or by crook.  There are only decisions, and none of them are right, but that means that none of them are wrong, either.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

it started when

I spilled my granola three days ago.
It just toppled over--all of my back up sustenance for the weekend.

Ready to literally brush it off, I went to the front desk to request a vacuum. No, no thank you ma'am, I made this mess, and I'd like to clean it up myself. my mess, my job.

She said she'd send someone with a vacuum, but no one came.

Everything in the room started piling up, so I started to reorganize my stuff.  Re-fold my shirts and pants, all kept neatly on the floor. There is no dresser space, and the closet is full of the $700 polyester uniform that we have been mandatorily issued. It gives me hives.

I found a pile of cockroaches under my shoes.  They had smelled the fallen granola and no doubt planned a picnic accordingly.  A gathering of Gregor Samsa lookalikes, large enough to put the poor salesman to shame.

 I called again, but it was too late for vacuums.

I rented a car. Getting out felt good, but I came home to that pile of bugs and food.  I spent money i didn't have, just to get away.

i tried to go on a run but the neighborhood is unsafe.   highway filled & devoid of sidewalks.  No sidewalks and men twice my size who like to stare uncomfortably long.  I turned around.  The hotel driver told me that was a good plan.  He told me to go run in the gym next time i got the notion to be physically fit.

Just run in place until you are too tired to think about how you got nowhere.

It was just me, alone in this hotel room, waiting for eight weeks to pass by so that I can get along with my little half-life.  "Full of travel".  Full of a thousand cockroach infested hotel rooms, alone, waiting for the time when I can have a life.

I dreamt that my hands were covered with bugs. my eyes, my throat clogged with them.

Just outside of my apartment, there are crushed eggs, as if some would-be delinquent wanted to be rebellious, but was too afraid of causing too much trouble to go full-on and destroy this hotel with eggshells.

tick. tick. tick.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I cannot sleep because of the full moon.

Tonight, there is a full moon, and I accidentally took a caffeine pill instead of a sleeping pill, so there are several reasons why I am chosing to write at 11pm instead of preparing for my 5th consecutive 4am wakeup call.

Up in the air, most flight attendants are meeting for the first time.  When we work a flight, we usually don't get much (read: any) say as to who we are working with. Sometimes, there is a little preference given as to where you want to go--if you've been working long enough.

 Still, the galley is the stage where every F/A has a chance to recite his or her autobiography.  Once the drinks have been served, the door has been armed and the lavs have been checked, a main cabin F/A digs into comped food-for-sale items, coffee (which is cold by now), and  the story of his or her life.

my trip to LaGuardia was no different.  I learned all about the daughters, sons, lovers and husbands of the two women training me.  Both of them were very sharp and professional, albeit a little jaded.

Since I'm a sap, the story of the #2 (galley) flight attendant has been stuck in my head.  It's had me wondering about the choices we make--career and adventure often do not align with a conventional path.  Love becomes secondary, and afterthought.  Things don't work out like we planned.  And then they do, sort of. 
A note:  I am an old woman (named after my mother) and I don't have a perfect memory. This is just how I remember it.


" When I came to training in the late seventies, I was engaged to a guy from home, back in Cleveland.  Well, I ended up being based in LaGuardia.  Imagine--a little midwestern girl with a dust speck-sized engagement ring, in New York flippin' City!
 I was having such a ball that I left the guy right then and there.  Gave him a call two weeks after indoctrination, called off the wedding, and didn't speak to him again until--well, I'll finish the story.   A long, long time.
So, I kept working at LaGuardia until Dallas opened, then I transferred down here and met my ex- husband, who was a pilot working out of Dallas, too.  Let me tell you what--he is just a complete ass.
He was when I married him too, but--you know how pilots are.  They seem like they really have it all together.  They can take you places, they understand your work schedule, they're quiet...the only reason a man like that is ever quiet is because he is afraid he'll accidentally let it slip that he's sleeping with another gal at your base.  Dallas is big enough that he got away with it for as long as he did. And now? He won't pay a cent over child support, and  Even that's late.  Just a total pig.
The man makes twice what I do and he doesn't want to pay his fair share of our daughters' college tuition? What a jerk.

Anyway, so's I caught up with my old ex-fiance last winter On facebook. One day, he just adds me to his friends list, out of the blue.  I says "is this Danny? Like, Danny, Danny?"
 And surprise surprise, it is.  He's got a girl the same age as my girls.  He even got divorced--divorced the same year that  I did.  Is that wild or what?! So's I tell him I'm heading into Cleveland to visit my baby sister and it turns out he still lives there.  I invited him to our family barbeque for my nephew's graduation, and guess what--he came.  Sur-real.
The man hasn't seen my baby sister since she was..15?  The last time he saw my parents, they were younger than he and I are now.  It was so weird, some real time capsule bull-shit.

But yeah. Nowadays it's nice.
We go out to dinner, keep in touch---we're friends now.
Nothing serious, I don't want nothin' like that.
 He might want that, but I knows better.
 I just think its nice that something like facebook can bring you back to your roots.  Yeah, I mean sometimes I get to thinkin' "what if"--
 but I've got my girls, and I've already got a bastard to hate.  Its nice to have someone to be friends with.
I'm minding my Ps and Qs and keeping it friendly, but not too friendly.   I know men, and when he insinuates something like that i should stay over, I stand my ground and I says to him
 'oh no sir, not this time'.

But just like that, he came right up to my old dad, like he was still lookin' for approval from the old man. After how many years?
  It was just somethin' else. made me feel like I was twenty-two again.

 The only advice I gots for ya---don't marry a pilot.  At least not an airline one.  I hear navy pilots aren't so bad, but I  can't speak for them.  I can, however, tell you from  real experience-- Don't marry a pilot."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Silver Linings

Today I got to go to Target.
In two days I get a weekend.
Look at these wigs we found.
Now we have lice.

This is Conchetta, Other Liv and Yours Truly, of course.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Reasonable amount of time left in Texas.

Today marks the beginning of week six (of eight) in Texas.
I am so close to being out of this Jack-in-the-Box parking Lot, I can taste it.

This weekend, I'll be working (in uniform) on a 767 bound for San Fransisco. 

Sorry I've been lax on the posting. If I haven't been sleeping, I've been studying. If I haven't been studying, I've been watching Season One of Breaking Bad and having nightmares about being forced to sell meth to first class passengers (I hope the NSA has a sense of humor).  Have you heard of Breaking Bad? It's a good show. I really think it's going to take off.

I'm getting to the point where I know most of my classmates pretty well.  I thought that eventually, a common thread would start forming between us, something that brought us all together to decide on this bizarre career path.  "I want my baby to be like Kate Middleton", "I want to be just like my mother" and "I want to wear a (brand new leopard-skin) pill-box hat" are high on the list of reasons people are choosing this career, but none of them really define who we are---except for that we are all apparently lunatics and Bob Dylan fans.

There are a fair number of people in this class whose mother/father/partner/sibling is a flight attendant/pilot and who realize that the job offers some serious benefits. One particular girl, whose dad is a  pilot and mom is a flight attendant, has never paid for airline travel. She cannot imagine a world that is not readily available by aircraft.  Therefore, she has secured her future in the sky by being a flight attendant, too.  And she's dating a pilot.  I like to joke that they're going to give birth to an S80.  I hope she flies an airplane down the wedding aisle.  I could go on with the aircraft-related love jokes.

Other girls are following in their mothers' footsteps after hearing about the wild adventures and craziness associated with being a F/A in the previous century. I love that I can tell my parents that they're so "last century".

 Others used to be flight attendants, walked away for some reason or another ("I got married"/"I hated it"/"I was furloughed after 9/11"/ "I didn't want to fly on a metal sheet of death anymore") and are now coming back to the job.  Out of? Love of the career? Inability to find a fulfilling job with the same kind of benefits? A rosy speculation of the past lent by a faulty memory?  Several of the above.

Some people were just sick of working at a restaurant or bar. This job is all about service, so several years of service related duties means you are a perfect fit.

many of my classmates consider themselves to be artists of some kind--and (mostly) for good reason.  Opera singers, actors, dancers, writers, painters-- we don't entirely know how to keep a regular 40 hour week, but we do know how to kiss ass and be spontaneous, so here we are. Armed with an inkling of hope to continue our artistic lives, here we are.

About half of us are not really sure how we got here. We have a vague idea of why--something about wanting to travel--and a head full of indecision.  For many of us in this category, we are learning an entirely foregin vocabulary related to our new-found (glory) airline life.  We are learning how to wear high heels and itchy pantyhose every day, and reluctantly spraying our fluffy, unbrushed hair into tight buns.  Half of the time, we are not entirely sure of what we are doing.  We're just sort of along for the ride.  When those senior mommas strut in and say "I've been flying for as long as you've been alive", we cringe a little.  We thought this would be a good job to sort of figure it out with.  See the world.  Eventually find a place to settle down, get a non-rev ticket and never return.  Disappear into Bolivia, with few upfront costs.  We are afraid of settling into something for a year, much less thirty years.  We think we are trying to find home, but we might just be running away from everything.

  For the record, Olivia from Bolivia is a children's story waiting to happen.



"Gotta see, Gotta know right now."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Try not to be a jackass on 9/11: The guilt issue.

if you thought that I was going to avoid the whole 9/11 elephant in the room, you are incorrect.

 I love addressing elephants in the room, beating dead horses, and telling both sides that they are wrong, mean and stupid. Disclaimer: I think that most people are mean, wrong and stupid. For some reason, I like people anyway.

9/11 is a tricky subject.  Tricky in that we have somehow managed to politicize death, and one of the worst examples is this, as it is largely seen as more of a political statement than a human tragedy some ten years later.

 First off, I don't like to dip my toes in other people's tragedy.  When 9/11 happened, I was ten.  I remember being very annoyed that recess was cancelled, and very confused that many of my teachers had itchy red eyes that day.  I remember my mother turning off the TV after about fifteen shots of the buildings crashing down were shown in succession
 I don't remember  feeling sad.  I was, after all, ten years old.  I did not know a single person who lived in New York City, and I did not know where Afghanistan, Iraq or the bulk of the Middle East were. "Terrorist Cell" probably sounded like a computer game to me,  perhaps a really intense version of Oregon Trail.

This is to say, in many ways, 9/11 was not a part of my world, except to that  what I saw on television centered around the event, and every year  afterward some teacher would ask the "where were you when" question. 

Of course the issue is complicated, as is every issue.
 
 9/11 was my introduction to the history of systematic, seemingly constant flow of violent massacres worldwide.  I was 10, after all. Previously, my understanding of complex political and religious agendas was essentially nil, and thank goodness for that. A little reprieve from that kind of knowledge is not the worst thing you can do for a youngster. Teach kindness first.  Save the violence for middle school.



But now we are so clever. Our heads are full of this secret knowledge that was always there.  People die unfairly everywhere, so why glorify one day?  The United States never gets bombed because we do the killing first. We are bullies, and we got what we deserved. After all, what is one act of tragedy in comparison to the thousands of atrocities that are committed every day? Where are the parades in honor of that? Why don't they ship Paul Simon to Darfur every year so that he can play the Sound of Silence there? Where is the equality of outrage?

or, on the other side of the spectrum: 9/11 is an example of how the rest of the world is jealous, and to sate that jealousy, we paid the price of needless lives. America is the best, strongest country in the world because we managed to get over this event, pull through, pull together, and kill those terrorists. 

Should we constantly post flags of the Twin Towers in our yards and fly them rain or shine to constantly memorialize a morbid and complicated tragedy from our recent history? Probably not, especially if your level of involvement in the situation is equal to mine.  Like I said, I don't like to dip my toes in other people's tragedies.
The way I see it? Life is going to throw you enough shit worth grieving for. People you love will die. People you love will leave you. Strangers will do the worst things to other strangers. You will have enough tattoos and scars and unshakeable memories of horrific unfairness.  Sympathy is a virtue, and so is having a hand to offer those in need.  Claiming a tragedy as your own for political, social--or really any gain compromises the validity of other people's suffering. Don't be that dick.Be pissed about 9/11, but stop "never againing" it to strangers on the subway when it is Tuesday at 5 and everyone just wants to go home.

On the other hand, while you are right, my intellectual and worldly friends, this is not the only day that we should remember in infamy, this was a real tragedy. This happened, and reminding all of us that this always happens does not counteract the overzealous behavior of your opposing forces.  Do people overreact on this day?  Of course they do.

 Overreaction does not, however, negate tragedy. It makes one think harder about tragedy. It makes us more careful with our words.
It does not lessen the count of important, meaningful and worthwhile human lives that were lost on 9/11 in New York City, the lives lost in the ensuing war, and those lost in the wake of the tidal wave of the events that day.

American Airlines avoided much ceremony today.  In the morning, we listened to a phone call placed by a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11.  It is a suprisingly calm, fact-based report that "I think we are being hijacked. The purser has been stabbed, and I can't get to the first class galley to see what is going on."  This information led to the early realization that this was not an accidental crash.  By naming the seat numbers of the individuals she saw involved in the attack, the F/A also helped to  connect the dots even more. Instead of calling her family to say goodbye, this flight attendant did her job up to the last moments of her life.  She stayed calm, she did what she could.

And, as is tradition on Wednesdays, another class graduated from training.  12 years ago, American Airlines abruptly closed its training center, one day before a class was supposed to graduate.  Training ceased entirely for 12 years afterward (with the exception of 30 mandarin speakers).
 It started for the first time since then early this summer. 

Today, 12 years ago, two of my instructors were teaching at the center, and witnessed the rapid shut down of the facility.  The other two were on the line, New York based, and happened to have a lucky trip assignment or day off. Crew Scheduling works in mysterious ways.

I know that when people talk a big show on 9/11, it can be exasperating.  But the quiet sadness in the eye of my least dramatic, least showy instructor as she exclaimed that it was "unbelievable" that flight attendants still go largely unnoticed for the work they did on that day was the closest I have ever been to the reality of the event in isolation. 
 It reminded me that having a stance on 9/11 on 9/11 is not quite a proper way to gauge your proficiency in American Government and 20th Century World Politics.
 Politics aside, this is an event that happened.  it happened to people. A lot People died. End of story.

  Any strong aversion to violent death is a step in the right direction in my book, no matter how dumb I think your politics are.  We can argue tomorrow. Today, I was sad that so many people died in such a horrible way on this day.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Eight People in Serbia Have Viewed this Blog.

Just trying to reverse the heavy and get a little lighthearted to end the night. 

To all those Serbian bros out there, I'd just like to say thank you. I'm glad my narcissism is appealing to you. Everyone else reading this is doing so out of duty--Because I am occasionally really nice to them, or they gave birth to me (thanks mom)

But y'all--y'all are the real fans. 

cue the 90s grunge rock ballad

okay folks.

so apparently, I have been effervescent, upbeat and "cutting the cynicism with humor" (a la LC's description, which will go on the back of my first Chelsea Handler-esque memoir) and generally seeming to be "havin' a blast" down here in Texas.

 Today, I don't know if I can offer that same level of optimism.  Usually, I would choose not to blog on the negative, but I think I'm not giving you the full picture here.

 I live in a hotel room off of the side of a highway. I have 12 hour days in an over-airconditioned training center where I learn information that is important, but so boring you have to drink six cups of coffee just to stay awake.  I am with generally great people, but a lot of large personalities in a very little place.  (Hint: You are never allowed to call me loud again. Oh honey. Y'all don't even know.)

When we are finished with the day, it is 105 degrees, and only beating sun and asphalt as far as the eye can see. I retreat to my hotel room, blinds closed.  I've been watching reruns of "Freaks and Geeks".



I left a pretty good life. I had a pink bike. I worked three nights a week and occasionally made decent money, did not hate being a waitress most of the time, drank a gratuitous amount of beer, and had a stable relationship. I was toying with the idea of moving to New York.
 Essentially, I was an average 22 year old, fresh out of college and fresh out of ideas.
(Fresh Out of College and Fresh Out Of Ideas. A Novel By Sarah Dessen.)

 This is the first time in my life that I felt like I was beginning to unravel that "personal life" mystery, and how being a normal person without a thousand checklists to check off worked.  I procrastinated. I slept late.  I ate a lot of pizza. I did some fringe theatre, and did not immediately update my resume, and I let the strings on my guitar go unchanged for three months.  I lived at a professor's house full of animals, ate popcorn for lunch and dinner, went on 15 mile bike outings at the drop of a hat, & slept somewhere that wasn't mine without finding it hard to sleep.
 I kind of loved it.

It wasn't all perfect.
 There was a lot of boredom, frustration and fear, because I had just graduated college with a pretty decent resume a pretty decent GPA, a pretty decent amount of loan debt, and couldn't even land an interview at a publishing firm, a theatre, or pretty much anywhere else where my education would  be directly applicable.  Yes, I know that this is normal.  But really? Not even one?
Skeptics say I should have waited. Patience is a virtue.  Unpaid interships are a gift from god.

But my trust fund is $5,000.
 I've got a couple of really nice parents who have helped me more than enough in this lifetime, and will probably continue to be too supportive because they love me or something. It was time to grow up, I thought. Try out autonomy.  Plus, I had an unpaid internship. It was for a company that actually could not afford to pay me, the University helped me out, and I still thought "no, I think my work is worth some money". Not a lot. Just like, you know, any. And that goes for pretty much all of the liberal arts minded people I have met, who are taking unpaid work "for the love of the work" Yes. the work is loveable. But so are you. And its still work. At least get a bottle of wine for your troubles.

And, while my college debt is pretty much average-to-lowish, I landed on my ass with about as much debt as I will have salary this year. Who am I kidding--probably a little  more debt than salary.

 So, while I "decided" to become a Flight Attendant, I didn't really feel as though I had a lot of choice when I landed the job. It was, after all a job.  And I wasn't going  to move in with my parents. Just with my sister. Doesn't count as pathetic if its your sister.

So here I am, at the halfway point with a plan and a straight path and a life of supposed adventure. I run my two miles most days, and I play my guitar in the hallway with its shiny new strings, and when the alarm clock rings at 3:45 am I wake up, put my hair in a bun and go out.  I go through all of the motions, but I don't know if these are the ones I really was meant to take.

And my version is only one story of  "8 1/2 weeks of unpaid training". Likely, one of the less severe, too.

  All of my classmates have left home, families, husbands, children, other jobs, stability, routine, and all of those things that I have just over-stated on my end.
We left it all to live the glamorous life.
AKA:  to live in a hotel room in Texas for two months, in the hope of a good job.  Of course, these two months are "still an interview". Everything we do, say matters.  For the next six months? Still an interview. No union protection. We can be let go at any time. Let's be real, even with union protection that is an option. This is AmErIcA,  after all.

We had a choice of five bases, and most of my classmates are living at least several hours away, if not across the country from their homes.  For us young folk, that part feels a lot easier.  "Cut your hair, and move anywhere" Those with families and attachments? Not so much. A lot of rearranging and managing of expectations and strained skype sessions are filling up the free time of those of us halfway through training. Too late to back out now.

Technically speaking, we have five days between our active status as flight attendants and graduation. But two of those days are used for base indoctrination.  We aren't dropped at home, or where we want to go. we go to base. We find an apartment, or more realistically, a crash pad and we make due.  This is flight attendant life.

I'll spend most of my time alone in a hotel room when I'm on layovers.  Three day layovers are expensive, often a thing of the past.  Nine hours in Vegas, and I'll be back around to DC again, possibly pit-stopping in Chicago, Detroit, New York. Just Long enough to see the skyline from the exit seat window, which looks like a fishbowl--bloating everything in the middle of the pane  to ungodly proportions, cutting off half of your expected view, causing you to go cross-eyed--and then off again.  Coffee, Tea, or me. 

Everyone cautions against being tied down too young. Getting too many entanglements that hold you back from "who you're supposed to become".  I think my biggest entanglement is the need to "become" something.  I take those grandmotherly smiles about being "somethin' else" way too seriously, I guess its the old ego doing its good work.

But there is only really one thing that I am wise about in my very young mind, and that is the notion that everything is consistent in only one way; its impermanence. People are not exempt from this rule, either. I know how hard it is to say goodbye, and how permanent goodbyes can be. Goodbyes do, after all, end things. And I have this bad habit of trying to cram every person I meet into the walls of my heart and keep them there forever.


So please excuse me if I tell you in a phone conversation, or on the internets, or after I finish training that I am not in my best of moods here. There are tenament riots in my chest, and a lot of doubt in my everywhere else.
And of course I do, since i spent 17 years there, but I miss school. I miss class discussions about nothing important that feel important, and production meetings and first read throughs and drunken football nights.  I hate how quickly the past goes and how slowly the present goes, when you just want to hurry up and either get to the future or go back, back back, because this is just a lot of ache and bother.

I promise that after tonight, things will be quirky and funny. Tonight, I just don't have it in me.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Training Wings

Today I learned that:

--Being an adult means getting up at 4am on a Saturday morning to do something other than pregame for football.
--Flying isn't so bad (and neither are those seasoned flight attendants)
--I am weirdly graceful when hit with unexpected turbulence.

Today I worked a Dallas-LaGuardia turn, which means I flew 2 3/4 hours to LaGuardia, saw a snippet of that long lusted-after Manhattan skyline, and turned right back around to Dallas, arriving just in time for the heat of this September day. Apparently, fall is in full swing here in Dallas, and it sucks just as much as summer did.

    All three of the ladies I worked with were actually pretty great. They were positive, adamant that I need to have a "life" outside of being a flight attendant, and full to the brim of the most ridiculous stories.

 For example, breastfeeding dogs on an airplane is a lot more common than you think it might be.  Also, flight attendants have been known to crawl into the coat closets on larger aircraft and hunker down for a nap (which is really, really illegal for so very many reasons, but something I would be tempted to do for hide-and-seek purposes if I thought that jumping out and yelling "BOO" on an airplane wouldn't get me shot immediately.)

Of course, flying to LaGuardia and turning right around was just the remedy I needed to feeling good about my assigned base.  I will start out as a DC-based (read: domestic. No London layovers for me boo-hoo) F/A.  In clear terms: I am having the slightest heart-death over not being based in New York right off the bat.

Death. not ache. Its more than an ache. its a pretty petite death, but not in the French la petite mort way, which, according to Roland Barthes, is pretty great.

Bottom Line, I miss New York. Upper line, I created an upper line, and  on my days off it is a 45 minute flight to that voluptuous apple. This means dinner in Manhattan, hold the rent.

 Speaking of Rent-- HOW we gonna pay this year's rent?!**
It looks like I'll be living in good old Fred-neck, a convenient 40 miles from my main base at Reagan National Airport (Because Who Doesn't Like Reagan...). (...)

On a related note, if you see any Nissan Leafs for under 5,000 bucks, let me know. Homegirl needs a car. (RIP Millie the Nissan, my only friend.) 

By "Live in Frederick", I mean that I'm creating a one person crash-pad in my sister's basement.  No hot bedding here, girlfriend.
It doesn't have a door, but it DOES have a toilet.

 Due to this ground-floor development, I have concluded that my adulthood is beginning to look more and more like an episode of Orange is the New Black.  Adulthood is a trap and I sort of want out. (Grad School?!)

When I was flying,
two (2)  particularly cool things happened today.

1. While holding a tray full of half-finished (glass) glasses over a man's head in First Class, we hit a patch of unexpected turbulence, and, although I did "drop it like its hot", I did not drop any glasses OR spill any precious liquids. Instead, I did a spectacular R&B dance move while holding an entire tray of glasses, and received a reasonable golf-clap applause from my (actually) captive audience--the seatbelt sign was on.

2. One of the pilots had to pee, so I got to go in the cockpit to "stand guard" (...). I am supposed to call the cockpit a  "flight deck", but one of my favorite parts of this job so far is that I can say cockpit as much as I want. Cockpit.
You know how the view from the window seat of an airplane never ceases to be mesmerizing? Oh, you don't feel that way? Well, I'm sorry that you don't have a soul, but those clouds remind me of the end of All Dogs Go To Heaven, when Charlie is hopping along the fluffiness, running with joy over these solid, cottony pillows like they're lilypads...chasing a pink dog he probably wants to hump,  but they left that part out (see, la petite mort). Of course, clouds are practically nothing (water vapor***), a fact I learned shortly after viewing the aforementioned scene from "All Dogs...Heaven".

 But those little puffs of nothing are astoundingly beautiful, and more than a little confusing, because they look like actual marshmallows, and if you disagree then you're an idiot.  To clarify, I am speaking of the cumulonimbus variety. Call a Cirrus as you see it, that shit's vapor.

The cockpit is sky land.  It's like I'm Charlie, but I've died for real this time.  There are three huge windows, and blue skies and clouds fill every one of them.  I don't want to think about how it looks on bad weather days. Well, I do, but I don't particularly want to fly in that. Someone can just instagram it for me.

 What you don't see in the cockpit (cockpit) is the ground. You might be able to see it if you bend over, but I  did not do that. I chose to lean against a wall that turned out to have a lot of buttons on it. I Felt safer?

I like the little mapped out grids of farmland, trees, and "civilization".  From up in the sky, everything looks orderly, planned, and meant to be.  Even though most stuff feels like it was random, accidental, even purposefully cruel when it is life-sized. (See: parking lots. Hospitals. High School. Shopping Centres with an -re.  The MLB. ) It's nice to know that from far away, some of our plans went as planned, and everything looks like a decent abstract painting. From way up there, water is the only thing that reminds me that our plans don't always fit the right grid.

Water creates the necessary chaos up there. It breaks up the plan, creating curved lines and unexpected pockets amid the squares of beige in varying shades.You miss out on that in the cockpit, though apparently watching a plane take off  from the deadheading seat is an even better view.  Its a new goal of mine to sit in the cockpit (cockpit) for the entirety of a flight (shut up, Olivia Raftshol with your cool life)



**I am really sorry that I referenced RENT in this blog, and I promise to never do it again, either here or elsewhere. Love, Olivia

***I googled a children's science website to confirm that clouds are, indeed, made of water vapor. I did, however, pull cirrus and cumulonimbus right out of the ole' butthole, and then confirmed onthe same website that i am in fact a meteorological genius. For reference:

http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-clouds.htm


Monday, September 2, 2013

Thoughts on Today:




 I've really got to stop crossing one eye when speaking to people.

Really.


 Really.







I don't want to talk about how long it took me to take a picture with one eye crossed.

 I think it's something I do when I am relatively uncomfortable/intimidated/self conscious. It sort of gives you license to judge me. HA! You cant make fun of my normal quirks because this is a highly ABnormal quirk! 

That's all I've got. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Return of One Beer Lloyd

This weekend, I got a weekend.

Which is a rare occurance. As in, the first time since I got here.

They keep us pretty busy here, with Saturday classes and "work trips" where we work on an airplane for free as trainees. Look for me on the next LaGuardia bound trip from Dallas  passing out napkins , logo side down (Coming to A Weekend Near You!)

 Since we were able to leave our hotel rooms without fear of missing our 5am wakeup calls, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting actual Dallas, and let me tell you what--its not actually a hellhole full of roadkill and Jack-in-the-Boxes!  I spent most of the day getting lost ("wandering") the Downtown-Uptown area, weirdly avoided a sunburn, and went to several free museums!

There are a couple really weird things about Dallas, though.

First, when we got off of the train, the city was completely empty. Devoid of human life. I'm not kidding, it was eerie.  This is a Saturday afternoon, on a holiday weekend, and no one was downtown.  The financial area of Dallas looked like a post-apocalyptic movie set.  All of these beautiful glass buildings were shining in the sun, completely empty.  They were paired with relatively clean streets, several affectingly closed Starbucks, and empty buses that shuttled no one across the city.  Even the populated areas seemed to be"small town" populated, rather than "enormous city" bustling.  It was kind of nice, because we got a chance to properly explore the city without the stress of interfering strangers.  The Dallas museum of Art  ( is actually really impressive (and free!) and we found some food carts ( I Pledge Allegiance to Food Carts) and I got a more than decent Banh mi for cheap from the guys at the Nammi Food Truck.

Speaking of Empty, Weird Thing #2. Everyone I have spoken to laments the horrific traffic conditions in Dallas.  Apparently, its a hot mess at 330.  While in downtown, I "discovered" a train station within one mile of my  hotel in (godforsaken) Irving, that shuttles all over Dallas. These trains were fast, clean and freakin' everywhere. It's $5 for an unlimited day pass. Get your shit together, Dallas. Use the DART, you crazy cowboys. 

Finally, everyone in Dallas is still transfixed by the Kennedy assassination.  You literally cannot swing a dead cat without hitting some kind of apologetic installation regarding the last couple days of Kennedy's life, which were spent in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We drove over the little "X" where he was shot. Its all very macabre, and its got me thinking about how we often replace the memory of someone's life with the memory of the specific event of his death. "Oh yeah, Kennedy was president until he was shot in Dallas".  Of all of the things we can choose to set in stone, we memorialize what is usually the least important, least defining part of a person's living.  I think it makes some people feel better, but I guess it just makes me feel worse. Death is terrible enough, why dwell on it? Why put up monuments to murder? What's the DEAL, Dallas? Don't you have better things to create tourism around? No? See, this is why I wanted to be trained in Austin. 

The night ended with a nightcap with my friend here who also has my name, and her fella. This is where One Bear reared her demure and flaxen head once again.

One Beer Lloyd is my name in several cellphone logs.  It came from a time when I had the stomach flu, drank a beer, took a shot of whiskey, and then puked. (of course this happened when i was 21. Obviously, 21.)  Thus, One Beer was born. And she hasn't really been out to hang much since.  (that's a lie.) Generally, I am just as insane while intoxicated as I am while sober and its not a big deal. (that's not a lie.)  BUT we don't have a lot of time to drink here. Of course I make time, but its never enough. Its hard to keep up the important hobbies under a demanding schedule.

  So, I had two little bitty cans of beer at the world's most hilarious bar, Single Wide, and have spent the majority of today in bed, curtains closed, with a massive hangover headache.  One Beer may go in hiding, but she never really leaves for good. By the way, Single Wide is the bomb. They have hilarious cocktails (Like a White Russian made with YooHoo and a Boons Farm manhattan), tons of taxidermy deer heads, and curtains that only a granny could love.  Totally made me feel like I was back in West Virginia.

Yee Haw, gonna try to sleep after a day of sleeping! Its so healthy!




Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I promise I'm not dead, I'm just really, really tired.

Contrary to popular belief, I have not been killed in a secret coup after being discovered as a double agent for Ed Snowden/  the female persona of  Bradley manning / Miley Cyrus at the vmas. (i didn't caps this because i do not have a functioning m key on my laptop. the only way to get one is to spell "Nichigan" and then let autocorrect replace the N with a M. << I did that there.)

Really, I've been very busy with 5am wakeup calls, drills, and becoming qualified on my first aircraft! The s80 is a narrow bodied, generally domestic aircraft with a minimum crew of 3. I hope none of that is classified.

It's that plane where you hope they'll serve cookies, but they don't because its a 45 minute flight , and everyone is bathing you in your beverage of choice because they're trying to do the entire cabin service before the bell chimes and we start to descend.  The glamorous life.
(also i've been at the pool, sleeping and trying to avoid the most recent pop culture outrage that is clogging up all of my social media outlets--how rude!)


So that's one down, several to go. And i can also do the demo with the seatbelt and the mask. I briefly got to take a mask home, it was like in home ec when they make you take a baby home. I had to be very gentle with it, and sanitize it regularly.

In other news, I have to wake up at 315 tomorrow to catch a 415 bus. It's pretty rude, and its also my bedtime right about meow.  I promise not to die again, and keep telling you, dear reader, all of the really irrelevant things about being a flight attendant.

I dedicate this post to my faithful readership, which i am fairly certain consists solely of my mom and former roommates.

Portrait of a Flight Attendant: Part One.


Our first portrait of a Flight Attendant.

Our first F/A is of one of the many natural born nurturers in this class.   For the sake of anonymity, her name has been changed, but I don’t think it will be hard for anyone who knows “Lucy” to pick her out from the crowd.  She is warm, loving and treats everyone as she would like to be treated.  The first day I met her, she drove me to Wal-mart after I asked how best to cross the highway on foot. She told me that she would want someone to stop her kids from trying to do something so dangerous, so she’d do me (and my mom) a little favor and shuttle me over there.

 That isn’t to say that she is only sweetness and light—Lucy is quirky, spunky and quick with a joke—especially if the laugh is on her.  When I asked her to re-name herself, she decided on Lucy because, like Lucille Ball, our Lucy finds herself in a sticky situation every now and again.  

 I sat down with Lucy and found even more than I was expecting.  In her “real life” she is a devoted mother, grandmother-to-be and artist. She’s a youngest child (just like me), with a strong affinity for family.
 What really struck me by the end of this interview was how straightforward, honest and immediate her responses were.  Lucy knows who she is, what she wants, and what is important to her.  After talking to her, I could not help but compare notes and remember that, as her answers reflect, Love is ultimately the most important part of life. 
According to Lucy, home is wherever her family is—location is secondary. Although Lucy’s life has not been without loss or struggle, she manages to find her joy in the love of others. With funny bone in tact, she creates a warm and comforting atmosphere, making us all feel a little bit more at home at the charm farm.

~~~   ~~~   ~~~

When you wake up, and you have nothing to do that day, what makes you get out of bed?
--You’ll learn this, a mother’s work is never done. My to-do list for the day gets me out of bed, because with kids, there is always something to be done.

--Tell me three things you know about life.
Never take anything for granted.  Find humor in every situation. Live it. To the fullest.

--where is the best place you have traveled?
Anywhere I went with my sister.  We used to travel together and have the most fun. 


--Tell me three things you know about love.
­Honesty. Passion. Desire.
(I like this one because instead of giving me “love” advice, she handed me a recipe, a little checklist for what ought to be present. Not what should isn’t there, rather a list of what is.)

Who was your childhood best friend? Are you still best friends?
We are still best friends.  She was the first person I met on my first day of third grade in a new town at a new school. She talked to me because she thought my brother was cute.
(This reminds me of how my best friend Kyle is in love with my mom, except its way less creepy.)

more to come! I promise I’m alive! Last week was a seriously long week (if you don’t believe me, ask Lucy)


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I have three tests tomorrow, so here is a picture of me wearing a PBE.



 here is a PBE.  Its supposed to be used as a source of Oxygen when fighting fires in flight.  I want to use it to go into space.









Friday, August 16, 2013

Everything is top-secret information: Thanks, Obama!

Due to FAA regulations, I can tell you essentially nothing about the specifics of training.  Even talking about image checks (which people call imaging, which makes me think of this. ) raised some eyebrows.
  They probably aren't a big fan of me talking about image call because some of the requirements are a little loopy...but I won't get into that. After 5 days, I am thoroughly convinced that i am being watched at every turn, and that if I am caught in jeans before 6pm, they will bob my hair and send me home.

In light of this recent security....enlightenment, I want to focus a bit more on who, specifically, becomes a flight attendant. 

I always thought it was funny that, when I went to college (GO BLUE, IF YOU'RE AN OSU FAN STOP READING THIS BLOG AND GO TO A REAL SCHOOL), I was ready for a land of outstanding diversity. Michigan talked a big show on diversity.  And when i got there---I found out that fairly intelligent, upper middle class men and women come from every race, religion and creed.

Okay, that's not entirely fair, but its cannot compare to the enviornment here. Diversity doesn't begin to cover it, from the difference in age, which spans over 20 years, to the are vast religious, political, social, cultural, and economic differences in my FA Class.
So far? The people part of this experience has been unbelievable. 
Suffice it to say, it's  only day 5. (WHAT)

In the coming days, I'm going to reach out and make (anonymous) profiles of some of my willing classmates. This topic deserves more attention than a couple meager paragraphs that are LyKkE OmGz ThEzE GuRlS ND GYZ R GR88888.

Look out for our first Portrait of a Young Flight Attendant

coming to a F/A blog near you! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dirty Acronyms--The Aiport codes game

Did you know that it is in the best interest of every flight attendant to know the airport codes of every airport their airlines services? Did you know that this particular airlines services 250 airports, and not all of them have logical names like BWI (Baltimore Washington International) or SAT (San Antonio, Texas)?  Some need fun acronyms to make sense of their strange abbreviations. Por ejemplo, HPN is White Plains, NY (Hated Payin' for New york).
This is the easy week, the test is (rumored) to be much less challenging than the hype for the test, and still I'm making flashcards and associating unknown regional airports with some really inappropriate acronyms.

Being a person who likes to be busy, orientation week for anything is always hard for me.  Being a sociable person who also manages to be highly socially awkward, making friends takes a while.  And of course, Feeling anxious/stressed/lonely/like I never fit in anywhere has made me a little homesick for good old Ann Arbor. 

It's pretty uncommon to hear a Wolverine celebrate her/his exodus from collegiate life.  But I really loved school.  I loved it. I loved it in spite of emotional obstacles.  I loved it in spite of having to watch the priveliged prevail over the talented.  I loved the school so much that I even started loving football. 

While I have a  restless spirit, there is a part of me that loves to come home. I like to cook dinner. I like to make the bed.  I like coffee in the morning from my favorite mug, and the best window with the best view shining light on whatever book I'm reading.  I like being a regular at a bar(s).  The fact that my Pap's photo is still hanging up at the  Meck in Shepherdstown is utterly cool to me.

Of course, the obstacle to this homey attitude is a constant stress that nothing is being accomplished, fear that I am not "doing anything with my young life". If I stay at home for too long, I start to become a monster. 

I suppose its both a matter of managing both sides of the coin, and remembering that most every moment in life is transitional.  The homebody portion of my life is not over, just because I am acclimating to a grifter-like existence. Depending on the day, Living in the now is either really easy  or impossible.   I suppose its just a matter of increasing the percentage of success.  Or at least learning a middle ground.  Alas, I'm a pretty extreme gal.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Everything I own has a mustard stain, and other reasons why I can't have nice things.

Setting out my Day 1 flight attendant outfit, i realize...everything I packed either A) has food stains or 2) is white and really could use a thorough bleaching.  I wonder what my "Image Counselor" will think of this. (I fear that her outlook will not be very positive). There is also something called a "lipstick check"  and "shaved legs" are part of the uniform, which is really cramping my style, considering I forgot a razor.

I woke up at 330 this morning to head to Dallas (really, to Irving) Texas this morning to begin my training.  I was tired. I am tired. This evening, I had some reasonably good fajitas and TWO unreasonably large "small" beers with my older sister's childhood best friend ( because Shepherdstown relocates in groups like ducks or fish) and now I am even mORe TiReD.

I will be living at a hotel for the next two months. It is not a suite. my roommate is nice, she is my mom's age, and I just want to offer to camp outside for the sake of her getting a little privacy. She is in great shape. She really keeps it together, whereas I just sort of loosely hold it in place.  We both do not run marathons.  the only difference is that She used to, but after three kids and something about her bones, she has to settle with half-marathons.  If I were a 22 year old man at a bar and saw us side by side, I'd go for her.  I aint mad.

Flying first class is as good as you think it is. They give you coffee until you pee. Then, when you start to pee, the pilot turns on the fasten seatbelt sign, leaving you unsure of whether you should return to your seat, or sit there on your new seat like some kind of toilet gnome. Actually, between flight attendant and toilet gnome, I think I might be a star pick for the latter.

Speaking of gnomes, I look terrible in business attire. I have small shoulders and short legs and whatever GenTlEmAn designed businesswear for ladies imagined his future, gender-neutral workplace to be one peopled with broad shouldered amazonians.  I was once compared (accurately) to a teacup pig.  Not quite the spitting image of Xena, Warrior Princess, my first celebrity idol, who probably looks as good in a suit as she did in weird boob armor.

Final thought of the day:
I live in a place called Irving, Texas.  It is a series of strip malls, actual malls and pinball-like highways. my friend's mom (who is a proud Texan) told me that "Dallas aint really Texas', and I'm thinking (hoping) Irving fits into that category as well.  It's like a really boring pinball machine, where you bump into cheap fajitas, cell phone kiosks and instead of a pinball you have a Hummer.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Last night jitters.

There aren't too many good words for how I feel right now.  It's all happening very (too) fast.  So. this is what I've got, and its borrowed from my buddy, Rumi. His poetry and wisdom do a lot for me when I get my heart rate going at rabbit speed and I can't see past the muck.

"If you are wholly perplexed and in straits,
have patience, for patience is the key to joy. 
If you are irritated by every rub,
how will your mirror be polished?"


Diving into the deep. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stress Eating, Preparing and Anne Bogart.

As I sit here eating my 2 1/2 slices of cold pizza (which rounded out my lunch of an entire cucumber, two pieces of watermelon and an ice cream sundae nicely), I am beginning to admit to myself that the past week of moving, saying goodbye to loved (and severely liked) ones, packing and unpacking has had a colossal effect on my emotional state. And, when I feel emotionally unsteady, I tend to go heavy on the snack-packs. I suppose the extra weight makes me feel more grounded.

 Aside from eating, I've been alternating between worrying about my future home and over-analyzing responses from friends/colleagues/old boyfriend's roommates in regards to my new occupation.  Although many people were just somewhat shocked that I wasn't immediately going to assassinate and then become Julie Taymor, I did feel that I had to somewhat "defend" my decision to become a flygirl in 2013. Well folks, unfortunately fame and glory isn't as easy as murdering the only female stage director anyone has ever heard of (Anne BOgart, people!), so I decided to take a pitstop into international travel, long hours and a life of utter unexpected lunacy--which I plan to document. Here. And hopefully somewhere that will pay me.

Keep track if you're interested. This is just a truncated post on my parent's dial-up like wifi (country life problems) to whet your apetite. Expect a lot of emotion, photos (when i get an iPhone) and emotion.

Please note the nearest exit, and remember that it may be behind you.