Forty Things I Never Would Have Gotten to Do (Part II)

“Aloha” from the Biggest Pool in Hawaii!

So, I’m in the elevator in my hotel in Oklahoma City this morning, en route to the lobby, and the elevator stops on the third floor.  In piles a gang of about seven kids, all around eight or nine, who are running amok in the hotel the way eight- or nine-year-olds will (is there anything quite as thrilling as a hotel elevator at that age?).  Their leader, a curly-haired girl in glasses, decrees the second floor to be next on their itinerary, so it’s not ten seconds later that the doors open again and the gang swarms off.  Just before she leaps off the elevator to assume command of the second floor recon, their leader stops.  Leaning against the elevator door so that it cannot close, she turns to me and asks, “Are you a pilot?”

“Flight attendant,” I tell her.

“Oh, a flight attendant,” she repeats.  “So you go from hotel to hotel all over the place?”

“Well, yeah,” I say.

She cocks her head, considering this.  I usually wear my uber-neutral Passenger Face in hotels, too, when I’m in my uniform, but perhaps it’s not quite as neutral as I imagine, cuz this nine-year-old girl reads it like a billboard.  “It gets old, huh?”

I laugh and say “sometimes” to the closing elevator door.  Her investigation concluded, she scampers off to explore the great unknown of the second floor, and I ride to the lobby, then trudge off to the airport van.

And now I’m in another hotel in another city, and have just hung up the phone from talking to my husband, who thought I was going to be home tonight.  He’s bummed out that I’m not coming home, which bums me out, and this is one of the main ways that going from hotel to hotel all over the place gets old — it’s less the hotels themselves and more the time spent away from home.  Away from the kitties and from waking up next to my husband and from good coffee that doesn’t cost $3 a cup.  But I’ve had loads of fun at hotels, too, with this job  — fancy ones, tacky ones; waterfront hotels and downtown high-rises and sprawling off-brand complexes miles from nowhere.  And so, in keeping with my effort to highlight the fun (or at least funny) parts of this gig, and having been called out this very day by a nine-year-old for wearing my oh-so-over-it heart on my sleeve, I dedicate Part Two of our Forty Things I (probably) Never Would Have Gotten to Do If It Wasn’t For My Airline Job feature to hotel adventures!

30. Skinny dip in the largest pool in the Hawaiian Islands on Kauai

29. Crash the very grand luau at the Grand Wailea on Maui

28. Sling trays for three legs on a 727 with the whole sweaty crew smelling like the gym after our hotel in Louisville, Kentucky ran out of water

27. Cross “Sleep with a Pilot” off of my “Now That I’m a Flight Attendant” To-Do List in Reno, Nevada

26. Be pampered by a Japanese toilet

25. Attend the Great Midwestern Polka Festival poolside at our Chicago layover hotel instead of sleeping (an option ruled out by the Great Midwestern Polka Festival poolside) after an all-nighter

24. Re-enact a Brady Bunch episode after putting (Body Shop Satsuma Orange, I remember for some reason) bubbles in a hot tub in Las Vegas

23. Be an audience member at a real-life Newlywed Game at an airport Holiday Inn in Hartford (“Grand” Prize for the Winning Couple: one night at an airport Holiday Inn in Hartford.)

22. Stay at a Fairmont

21. Be asked, along with the rest of my crew, to leave a wedding reception in a New Jersey hotel, only to welcome the newlyweds aboard our flight the very next morning.  We showered them with champagne and our best wishes, and, as was so often the case back in those days, a good time was had by all.  Now there’s an extra fee for that.

Forty Things I Never Would Have Gotten to Do (Part I)

Go get ’em, Vicki!

Stick with me for a second, here:

This summer — in just a few weeks, actually, on Midsummer’s Night — I turn forty.  I am inspired to do a “Forty Things” blog post to commemorate this occasion, and I have decided to do it in four parts, so that I might create something like a Mister Stewardess Feature (and to buy time to think of forty listworthy things).  Because I strive to make this blog more than a clearing house for Things Flight Attendants Complain About (at which I am a skilled practitioner, and of which there are way more than forty), and because I do myself, from time to time, lose sight of precisely why I stick around this gig, I am going to take this opportunity to celebrate some of the wild and wacky highlights from my flying career.

Airlines in general (I do not work for Southwest) are blood-sucking executive-bonus-factories that care little for their employees and even less for their passengers.  But this is a job that I wanted, that I worked hard to get, and one that has afforded me many opportunities and many years of amusement.  Life takes us unexpected places, and it is entirely possible that in a different life I could have saved up for a trip to China or frequently visited France — it’s not like only airline people do these things.  But it is for the opportunities (and the laughs) that I am most grateful, and thus do I bring you Part One of Mister Stewardess’s Big Summer Feature,

Forty Things I (probably) Never Would Have Gotten to Do If It Wasn’t For My Airline Job:

40. Watch the Space Shuttle take off from the cockpit of a 777

39. Get hit on by the drunken boyfriend of a (female) soap opera star

38. Exfoliate with champagne and sugar

37. Meet Chris Isaak after one of his concerts in New York’s Central Park

36. Get bitten black-and-blue by an Englishman

35. Learn that “You’re Welcome” in Japanese is best-remembered with the phrase “Don’t touch my mustache”

34. Try caviar

33. Respond to a call light to be asked by a self-proclaimed addict for morphine

32. Restrain a psychotic passenger with flight attendants’ pantyhose

31. Sell Duty Free to Whitney Houston

OK, that’s ten.  Check back next week for ten more.  I’ve been doing this for fifteen years — surely there are ten more.  Hopefully there are thirty more — we’ll find out.

A Walk in the Park

My much-beloved huz with Champion MS Walker (here riding) Trevor

So last Saturday, a bunch of us — family, friends, well-wishers — rolled out of bed bright and early, donned some jazzy orange t-shirts in the name of Team Spirit, and did a lap around Denver’s City Park with like ten thousand other people to raise awareness (and money) for the National MS Society in their annual “Walk MS” event.  We raised a little bit of money, got my cousins’ kids out in the park for a while, and a good time was had by all.

My mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1992.  A nurse by profession, when she stumbled off of a curb in Santa Fe that summer she muttered to me, “Dang it, I hope I don’t have MS in this leg,” and she had her diagnosis by the end of the year.  A lifelong Denver resident, forty-five years old at the time, she fit smack in the middle of the oddly specific demographic at greatest risk for contracting the disease, which for who-knows-what reason affects a disproportionate number of Coloradoans.  She was an aerobics instructor and avid runner in those days, and was such a fan of bike rides that she rode the MS 150, a hundred-and-fifty mile fundraiser, for the first few years after her diagnosis, until MS robbed her of sufficient balance to stay upright on the bike.  My sister and I rode it with her one year: Day One was so hot that the tires of our bikes actually sank into the asphalt on one memorable hill near Boulder, and on Day Two we rode eighty miles in the pouring rain in trash bags with arm holes ripped in them.  For years after, we were largely supportive from the sidelines… Continue reading

Cuz If Loving This is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Go To North Carolina

An Open Letter to the people who voted for Amendment One in North Carolina, the lawmakers who didn’t have the guts to put civil unions up for a vote in Colorado, and Homophobes Everywhere (cuz so many of them read gay blogs, I know),

You don’t scare me; you have won nothing. I have never asked for permission to be who I am, and I have never asked for validation, legal or otherwise, for my feelings or for my relationships. Vote all you want, but you don’t get a say.  Justify yourselves however you want to; I live in love, you live in fear, and I wouldn’t trade places with you for all the legal legitimacy in the world. I thank your god every day for making me gay, and he puts Michael Phelps on television all-but-naked by way of saying “You’re Welcome.” You were afraid when you went to bed last night — of that same god; of me, who you’ll never meet; of yourself and your own body and mind — and afraid when you woke up this morning, and if that’s what “Victory” looks like to you, please enjoy it. History will one day laugh at you. As I do today.


The Gayest Guy You’ll Never Know

P.S. This might have mostly been posted as an excuse to post this white-hot photo of Michael Phelps from  You’re welcome…