Friday, December 25, 2015

Adventures in Flight: I Know What You Were Doing

While you were dancing with sugar plums in your head, I was flying from London to San Francisco. I wore a gold and white Santa hat I bought in Japan. Working in business class I served passengers who loved the hat and were so thankful to me and the crew for working on the holiday. I love making people happy like that!

You were stuffing yourself with turkey, dressing and potatoes, while I was eating more meat than was on Noah's Ark. I left on Thanksgiving for Sao Paolo, Brazil. At the two-for-one happy hour, we met up with a crew from D.C. Drunk on Caipirinha's, Brazil's national (and very powerful drink) we all went to a Brazilian steak house. The salad bar would have been enough to eat, but then came the servers in national garb slicing off skewers of pork, beef, sausage, lamb, venison, duck, chicken and yes, turkey.

While you were opening presents on Christmas morning, I was walking around Diamond Head in Hawaii,
Hawaiian Santa
marveling at the numerous Santa displays in store windows and yards with him wearing colorful beach shorts instead of his furry red suit.
Santa in a kayak, Santa on a surf board, Santa only in swim trunks. It was the first time in my life I spent a Christmas morning in such heat and humidity; no snow or snowmen. Finally, I knew what it must be like to celebrate Yule in the southern hemisphere, as, up to that point, I had not been in that part of the world during Christmas.

As you kissed your loved one at midnight with the mirrored ball dropping, I was watching the two magnificent pyrotechnic shows put on over Sydney Harbor. I don't know that I've ever seen more fireworks in one day in my life. The first show was as 9PM. I viewed it from a large hotel room obtained by a crew member from LAX for the purpose of hosting a party for all crew members. For the midnight show, we ventured to a park near Darling Harbor where we could see it from the waterside and view the bridge with the Opera House beyond.

While you were watching Thanksgiving Day football, I was at 36,000 feet sitting in first class eating Mother Airline's version of a Thanksgiving meal. It was not bad for turkey and dressing, with green beans, mashed potatoes and a slice of pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. I wasn't working, so I was able to wash it down with white wine.
Another Christmas in uniform

As the little ones gasped in excitement over Santa's haul, I sat at home on call, waiting for Mother Airline to need me for a trip. I enjoy working on Christmas, bringing loved ones together, sharing in the joy and cheer and, just for fun, wearing my red holiday pin that reads, “Scrooge was right.” For some reason, people always ask what that means. But all I have to say for them to understand it is, “Bah-humbug.”

It's not just the winter holidays. You were digesting hot dogs, potato salad and waving the US flag on the 4th of July, while I was in a 14th floor hotel room in San Diego watching fireworks in all directions. It was time to get to sleep for my flights the next day. It was difficult to do, as people continued to shoot off firecrackers, poppers, zippers, zingers, bangers and gongs for hours.

Or I was alone, sitting along the river in Cleveland with the masses enjoying patriotic music, watching children play while their adults drank. Then the rockets red glare took off to bursting in air to thunderous applause and oohs and ahs.
Cleveland on the 4th of July

I know what you were doing on your holidays. I've done them before. Now I'm a first responder, responsible for safety and security on airliners going to and fro. Now I fly the skies circling the globe to watch others celebrate with customs not familiar to me, with foods not typically found in my pantry, with people I don't know but enjoy the company of. We all have one thing in common, we love our celebrations, our family time, our cheer and goodwill toward others. We all love a good party!

I love working holidays. I don't work them all; I tend to rotate...Thanksgiving this year, Christmas next. New Years only if I have to. I know what you were doing. In many cases, I, along with my many flying partners, helped make it happen.
One Christmas in Osaka, Japan

Happy Holidays!

I know what you were doing
I have done it too
Celebrating Christmas
Or were you playing Scrooge?

I know what you were doing
Eating with family and friends
Traveling to be together
Cheering the bygone trends

Each year the circle spirals
And brings us back around
Enjoying all the holidays
And getting out of town

Gather your things and presents
We all love a great surprise
Travel to see your loved ones
Travel through the skies

I know what you were doing
Spending time with those you love
I may not be with folk I know
But I'm as happy as a dove

I help bring people together
Encouraging smiles and laughs
From takeoff to arrival
On a big ole jet aircraft

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