When settling into your seat to watch the flight attendant deliver the safety demonstration, have you ever thought about what life is like for that flight attendant?
Maybe you haven’t. Or then again, maybe you have. And if so you may have thought how they must truly travel in one of life’s fast lanes. Paris one week, Rome the next. Lazing on a Thai beach before curling up in fresh, crisp sheets on a king size bed in a 5 star hotel. Sounds like a dream right?
From someone who travelled in that lane for close to 25 years, it was life in the fast lane, or as we sometimes said, ‘we live the life of a millionaire, without spending any money – pretty much flying in a nutshell. Well the good bits anyway.
I enjoyed lagers in London, parties in Paris and slings in Singapore. And aside from enjoying the wonderful perks of a high flying job, being a flight attendant was also exciting, rewarding and at times, very humbling.
Sipping caprioskas whilst watching a Roman sunset is exciting. Watching snowflakes float amidst the skyscrapers of New York, before claiming the soil of Ground Zero as their final resting place, as did some 2000 souls on 9/11, is humbling. And seeing a child totally enthralled by the fact that you, the flight attendant have captured clouds in a teapot, is rewarding. (Dry ice + water = instant clouds).
But being a flight attendant can also be very comical.
For instance, try telling an Indian man that the sanitary napkin you gave to the woman sitting next to him was something he really didn’t need? My words were to no avail as his reply, with a swift roll of his head went a little like this. ‘No, I’ll be thinking you’ll be not understanding me madam, I’ll be saying that I’ll be wanting what she is having’ as his head again rolled from side to side. I repeated my words, but they were in vain for he seemed relentless in his pursuit, so in the end I gave up and gave him his much needed package, and as I passed it over I wondered just what he would do with the contents. On my next walk through the cabin, my question was answered. There he was, sitting ever so proudly, with a very large, very white sanitary napkin firmly placed across his eyes! He had peeled off the adhesive label and quite obviously decided that this strange white object was the latest design in airline eye masks. At that moment, between holding back fits of laughter, I was so thankful that he didn’t discover the little white numbers that were housed in the same package and decide to use them as ‘earplugs’.
Flying truly was a beautiful blend of the good, the bad and the downright ridiculous. And for those of you who have aspirations to try life in that fast lane, I strongly encourage it.
I lived in that lane for many years, and loved it. Then I began to question which lane was really the more important one to travel in, fast or family?
So now instead of sipping cappuccinos in Rome, seeing rhinos in the wilds of Africa and waking to the sounds of street hawkers in Singapore, I now wake to the sounds of my beautiful children starting the day and my beloved dogs panting excitedly and the prospect of going for their daily walk.
Yes, I was hostie and I lived in the fast lane and loved it.