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.