the new normal?

The weekend before last, I was mulling over whether or not I wanted to turn my last four-day trip into a blog post, whether or not it would be cheating to insert photos from my last two Austin layovers and if these “things to do when you have x hours in City” travelblog posts were passĂ© and would forever just be pale, toothless imitations of Tony Bourdain’s The Layover, with all the casual swearing but none of the coke-encrusted weary wisdom or disdain for well-worn tourist traps.

Then last weekend happened, and, well, I figured I’d better go with a different approach.

I have the relatively unique position of being a flight attendant in a period of time when, though flying is not yet explicitly banned, nobody wants to fly; a period like which hasn’t happened since 2001, when I was a college student blowing off my afternoon lectures to discuss Harry Potter over deep dish with friends. I am still working, because not working means not getting paid, and because I have no savings, having directed any extra income toward the consumer debt I incurred over five years earning slave wages for the state of Arizona. I cannot “socially distance” myself from anyone when the very nature of my job involves consistently breaching the American-socially-accepted three feet of personal space, which is way less than the COVID-19-recommended SIX feet of personal space.

The Barbie Jet this morning before all of 22 passengers got on

As I type this I am in Dallas, decompressing after an exceedingly long day full of flights that felt longer because there were so few passengers to wait on. While the Boeing 717, a coveted out-of-production short-range petite plane we refer to as the “Barbie Jet”, is my favorite for its small size and ease of loading, we didn’t have a single one today loaded to capacity. Slightly over half capacity, at most. Our gate agents greeting us in Dallas were surprised at how quickly we deplaned, then told us they’d been experiencing canceled flights all day.

Earlier today I was stuck in Detroit for two hours longer than anticipated. Instead of keeping our plane all day as we were supposed to, my crew and I were hustled off and made to wait for a different aircraft–ostensibly because some flight somewhere had been canceled, and the pieces on the board needed to be shuffled.

As of right now, my schedule for tomorrow is still intact, but that could change at any moment. The nature of this job is that your rotation (scheduled trip) is always subject to change, but the majority of the time, barring thunderstorms or blizzards or mechanical failures, you can expect it to remain intact. But this is an act of nature we weren’t adequately prepared to deal with, and so now becomes a day-by-day process of dealing with the fallout and learning to adapt. There’s nothing else we can do except smile at our customers, exercise our Diet-Coke-pouring patience, and wait for what’s next.

back at the beginning

This is the latest in a series of many, many failed attempts over many years at having a Real Blog, which, in its current incarnation was postponed time and again because of 1) my natural Taurean laziness and tendency to procrastinate (trauma brains, unite!) 2) some half-baked notion I had about finding a particularly auspicious day on which to launch, which was also thwarted by aforementioned Taurean laziness/procrastination. See, I was going to start on January 17th, since it was also the birthday of several awesome ladies (Michelle Obama, Betty White and Kelly Marie Tran); plus it was the last day of Cap season, my moon sign. See, procrastinating was fortuitous!

Then I had another glass of wine and fell asleep instead. Again, like a Taurus would.

So, after many more delays and non-starts, here we are, almost a full month later, which makes my blog an AQUARIUS, which makes us incompatible. But whatever. I brought this on myself.

As it turns out, February 14th is also a sufficiently auspicious day on which to launch: not because it’s V-day, but because it’s profit sharing day at work, and I got a payout big enough to lay waste to four different credit cards. I’ll go into more detail about my journey into the cavernous depths of consumer debt in an absurd and unbalanced capitalist culture later, but right now I’m just marking this as the beginning of a “lean year,” in which I stop impulse buying clothes and shoes and makeup, dropping wads on eating out and alcohol, and conquer my dread of bodyweight workouts.

It’s impossible for me to be motivated to do mountain climbers without a Navy recruit division commander screaming at me to GET THERE first.

For a long time I’ve fallen into the trap of spending when bored, spending when stressed, and spending to create the fantasy life I wanted instead of trying to actually improve the life I had. This hit a peak sometime around 2017 when I finally accepted I was never going to climb the ladder at my then-desk job and that I was yet again wasting my life in a cubicle, ten years after I decided to join the military to…get away from a very similar cubicle.

I am now a flight attendant, a job I had never even considered, but which now seems incredibly obvious in hindsight. That said, I have no interest in making this solely a “flight attendant blog,” because it really is still just a job. It’s more about how the job enables me to do things like go to New York and Paris while getting paid instead of having to plan expensive trips months in advance; in a sense, I can make my layovers into mini vacations, and scratch my itch to wander without having to sink excessive time and money into a single trip, like I did when I spent 40 hours a week in a cube.

There will probably be controversy invoked at some point, because I’ve been invoking it since I was a columnist for my high school paper (my honors English teacher: “oh, they know who you are, Victoria”), and am incapable of not stepping on toes, but I’ll try to refrain from putting my foot in my mouth, at least when I’m also sipping Barefoot Bubbly.

There will also probably be a lot of twenty-year-old Simpsons references, irreverent gifs, and various pop culture detritus. But I’ll try to keep the cursing to a minimum. You don’t get sponsorships that way.*

*I don’t really want sponsorships, unless they’re in the form of free blocks of Tillamook cheese or something.