Monday, September 30, 2013


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 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:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Thoughts on Today:

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



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!