You Should Write a Book

One thing I like about my job (and you knew there had to be something): it’s a big hit at parties.  You tell people you’re a writer, and they look at you like, Yeah, right.  “I’ve never heard of you,” they seem to say, “and you’re obviously not a millionaire, so you must not be a very good one.  I have to… turn this way now.”  In other words, as Geena Davis said of Lori Petty in A League of Their Own, go pull someone else’s leg; mine are long enough already.  But people perk right up when they get a hold of a flight attendant in a social situation.  Some people say, “Oh, I always wanted to do that,” and others say, “Yikes, I could never do that.”  But everybody’s got an idea about what this job is like — some more realistic than others — and everybody’s got an opinion.

The first order of business (alas) is usually to hold the flight attendant personally accountable for one’s last airline-related travel debacle.  (I especially love when people carry on about the absurdity of their latest mechanical delay.  Cuz they’d presumably rather fly on an airline that doesn’t fix their airplanes when they break?)  And then come the questions: “Why are flight attendants so old?”  (Cuz they’ve been doing it a long time.)  “Why are flight attendants so cranky?”  (Probably cuz people are always asking them “Why are you so old?”.)  “What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on a flight?”  And that’s the fun one.  Partly because the answer is always refreshing itself.  Only one thing?  How do I choose?  Continue reading

My First Novel

Not, of course, to be confused with my debut novel (which comes out next month), I cranked out the launching pad for my eventual literary career in 1987, when I was a freshman in high school.  Banged painstakingly out (I still can’t type with more than three fingers) on the dernier cri electric typewriter for which I begged when I graduated from the eight grade, “M.J. Horne’s” Bermuda Triangle predates my first National Novel Writing Month by nearly 20 years, and thus must be counted as my “first novel.”  You know, to the extent that 33 numbered-in-pencil pages can be considered a novel. 

My original plan, for scrapping which you can thank me later, was to publish my Masterpiece in its entirety here.  Like in a series, ramping up to Kiss Me, Straight‘s release, portrait of the artist as a young man, that sort of thing.  Continue reading

Forty Things I Never Would Have Gotten to Do (Part IV: The Big Finish)

We love fritopies!

Today I turn forty, lying in the loving arms of our favorite Santa Fe spa.  We’re big on Landmark Birthdays around here.  We went to Hawaii for Jared’s 30th last year, and I won sixty nickles (!) in Las Vega$ on my 21st, once upon a time.  Oh, the plans we had for my fortieth: we were going to go to Australia.  To France.  On a cruise!  To Buenos Aires.  On a really glamorous cruise!!  We fly for free, after all; the possibilities were endless.  And yet, free flights were kind of what steered us towards Santa Fe.  Mind you, we’ll go pretty much anywhere to soak in hot water (I’ve gone as far as Iceland and New Zealand for no other reason); we love New Mexican food (stuffed sopapillas!  Frito pie!); and there’s a Trader Joe’s on the way out of town — try finding one of those in Paris.  But Santa Fe became the Official Choice when I realized that what I didn’t want to do with the Longest Day of the Year was spend it sitting around an airport, fingers crossed, hoping to get on an airplane.  Flights are too full, airports are hectic, and, like, I go through a TSA checkpoint every day for work — it’s definitely not my idea of a good time on my days off.  I mean, if one of the hot ones would come over and frisk you, that would at least be something…

So we drove here, in Jared’s little yellow car, and we can do whatever we want on our own schedule and take home all the Trader Joe’s-brand liquids we can cram in the car.  And, as is so often the case, taking a step back from My Airline Life, even if only for a few days, helps me view it through the slightly rose-tinted lens of Appreciation.  An important perspective, you’ll agree, when curating the last ten items to be included in our series,

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

10. Run amok in Sydney, a city to which I never worked a trip that I didn’t hope would be my last — every layover a race against the clock to find the situation (read: the Boy) that would entice me to stay forever

9.Upgrade a big fat guy to First Class when the person next to him demanded — loudly, for the benefit of the entire airplane — that I do something about the fact that he had to sit next to a big fat guy

8. Get in honest-to-god trouble (like, there’s a write-up in my file) from another grown man for wearing argyle socks

7. Accost and adore the delightfully chatty and warm Bonnie Raitt after upgrading her to First Class on a flight from London to San Francisco

6. Be tenderized like meat in a Shanghai massage parlor

5. Stock my stationery drawer at the World’s Largest Hundred Yen Store

4. Watch the men play Beach Volleyball (hubba hubba) during the Sydney Olympics

3. Hike to the top of the Great Wall of China in the middle of the night in the pitch black all by myself

2. Be approached by a psychic on an airplane and assured that I could pursue my passion without fear, and thus

1. Write a book inspired, in part, by the people I’ve met, places I’ve been, and things I’ve seen at this wacky gig.  Kiss Me, Straight chronicles the (mis)adventures of a lovelorn flight attendant as he chases a romance with his sexy-but-straight crush around the world, and it’s comin’ at ya from JMS Books later this year.  I never could have written this particular story were it not for this Big Career, and I might be more grateful for that opportunity than for any of the others.  I hope, come November, that it’ll put a few smiles on your face, too.