Hoops Review

 

 

 

Mister and I have been watching the L.A. Clippers during the post-season and the other night the announcers were talking about other players and particular records. When they mentioned Moses Malone having a run-in with someone, I smiled.

 

Back in my flight attendant days, I had my own run-in with Moses Malone. He and the Atlanta Hawks were on a flight when I was working first class. I knew who he was, but I wasn’t starstruck or anything. I was just working. Anyhoo – at some point during the flight, I accidentally (I swear) spilled orange juice on Mr. Malone. When I asked what I could do to make things right, Moses Malone said, “You can send the black flight attendant up here to take care of us.” I smiled and said, “You’ve got it.” I walked to the back of the plane and found the requested flight attendant and asked if she would work first class. We traded positions (and cabins) and that was that.

 

Ah! Memories!

Dates on a Calendar

 

 

I have a little calendar hanging inside a kitchen cupboard. Each year I get a new one at an Italian deli. It’s a weird habit – getting these calendars. I’ve been looking at them for years now and I hope the deli never stops printing them. I wouldn’t mind if they changed up the calendar’s reminders, however.

 

For some reason, a couple of years ago the calendars were printed with reminders of the beginnings of wars or the dates of battles. Recent stuff, too. I mean, if old, historic references were printed on the dates, I could probably get into that. But these odd anniversaries are of things I’ve lived through. And, well, I’m not too keen on remembering.

 

That being said, today’s entry reads “Start of Operation Desert Storm – 1991.” Do you remember what you were doing on this date in 1991? I do. I remember because I was being trained in how to look for suspicious packages on commercial air flights. It was crazy. It was scary. And I remember it as if it happened yesterday.

 

I’m glad I’m not a flight attendant these days. I can’t imagine the required training for today’s crews. I can’t imagine the fear. I guess that’s why I don’t like the Italian deli’s direction with their calendars. I don’t know. Maybe next year I’ll just go out and buy myself a kitchen calendar. The freebie is a bit too negative for me.

Troubled Waters

 

 

I don’t usually write about politics, as I just don’t want to.

 

It isn’t that I don’t have thoughts or feelings; I most certainly do. But I try to keep that out of this forum, as I truly want to respect those I know to be reading. We do not always align on the same side of the political fence, but I look across at you with respect. For that reason, I endeavor to keep politics out of our shared time in these posts.

 

Many years ago, I was at a bar in Boston. It was a night out with fellow flight attendants – all gals. We met a slew of fellas from Australia, and before I knew what was happening, those dudes were talking about America’s role in the world. They said that like it or not, others in the world count on America to fight battles when they arise. I asked if they were serious (or merely drunk), and they were for reals. As they’d all taken their turns in military service, they told me their opinions were relevant and vital – whatever that means. I was drinking, so what did I know? I filed the night away as a typical pub experience and thought nothing more of it. But – and this is important – I did not forget it.

 

A couple of nights ago, as I watched news of the Ukraine, I suddenly recalled that long-ago night in a Boston bar. I thought about it for a moment, then I said to Mister, “This is the reason America has to get her shit together: the rest of the world won’t. And someone has to.” And this from someone who loves the world more than words can adequately express.

 

That, friends, is the end of my political rant, if it can be called as such.

Her Name Was Christina

 

 

When I lived in Boston, I was a flight attendant. Mister was in grad school and my job paid the bills. We lived in a tiny apartment in Beacon Hill. When people heard where we lived, they assumed our place was super-swank (being in Beacon Hill and all). Swank it was not. In fact, Mister and I used to say that we lived in the slums of Beacon Hill. Didn’t matter, as I loved it anyway.

 

Many of my flight attendant buddies lived in a 2-bedroom apartment on Commonwealth Avenue in Back Bay. A couple of those gals were fixtures and lived there for years, but the rest of the cast changed fairly regularly, as other girls transferred to other cities. After Mister graduated and moved to L.A., I was stuck in Boston for a while, waiting for my own transfer. That’s when the Comm Ave apartment became my commuter pad.

 

By that time, there was a new flight attendant living there. Her name was Christina, and she was a hoot. And a holler. She would regularly pull some little quip, tale or saying out of her repertoire, slaying us all with laughter in the process. There was the time several of us were wrapping up lunch and we made a group-visit to the ladies’ room. Christina took her turn after one of our gang, and as she entered the stall and closed the door, she said, “Chrissie – if you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie, wipe the seatie.” On another occasion, she broke into song as one of our roomies returned from a trip. This particular gal’s last name was “Beaver.” For reals. When Christina saw the girl walk through the front door, she sang/shouted, “Beaver! In the morning, Beaver all through the night! You give me Beaver!”

 

Christina did more than make me laugh. She seemed so mature, so knowing, and I often consulted her about my being stuck in Boston while Mister was on the other coast. Though she was a few years my junior (and unmarried), she just had a grip that manifested as wisdom. She was smart, beautiful and funny. She was always up for a trek across the city to a gallery or a short trip around the corner to a pub. She was game. She was fun. She was deep. I trusted her. More importantly, I liked her.

 

One afternoon, I myself was returning from a 3-day trip and upon entering the Comm Ave apartment, one of the gals told me we needed to get to Mass General right away, as Christina had suffered a seizure. This girl had already gathered some of Christina’s belongings and was on her way to deliver the requested items. I changed as quickly as I could and we rushed off to grab the train. On the T, this girl told me she had been alone in the apartment when Christina became ill. She had called 911 and had gone to the hospital with Christina. By the time they’d arrived, Christina was lucid and answering questions. The answers she provided had surprised this girl and had left her at a loss. As she shared this private information with me, we both wondered how we’d known so little about our friend. Who was the real Christina?

 

We visited the hospital. Christina seemed embarrassed and our being there felt like a strain for her. Turned out Christina was bulimic, and the toll of her illness had been more than her body could tolerate. She would be in the hospital a long time.

 

My transfer came through, and I moved my few belongings out of the Comm Ave apartment for the last time. Christina was still in the hospital when I moved away, and, as email was hardly yet known, we fell out of touch. The last I heard, she had moved back to her home-state of Utah. I have no idea if she recovered, got better, or what. I suppose I’ll never know.

 

I guess Christina popped up in my mental rear-view this week because Boston is news. She isn’t the only Boston memory to surface, just one of my favorites. And no matter how or where Christina’s life may be, I feel nothing but fondness for her. I’ll always remember how she made me laugh, but more importantly, I’ll remember late nights at the Comm Ave apartment, the two of us on opposite sides of the room, in the dark, trying to fall asleep. Christina’s quiet voice, assuring me that everything would be okay. That it would all work out. Such calm comfort from that sweet, worldly young woman. A woman I never really knew at all.

Ice, Ice, Baby (or, My Brush With Mediocrity)

 

 

The other morning I went out to my old car and finally got the engine to turn over. Once it did, I swished the wiper-blades a couple of runs to clear the night’s dew from the windshield. Only it wasn’t dew. It was ice. In L.A. Wha??? It reminded me of an old flight attendant story…

 

I was deadheading from Dallas to Atlanta. (Deadheading is when a flight attendant simply flies from one city to another, and doesn’t actually work the flight. A seat is taken, but the flight attendant just stays put, while the rest of the crew works. The purpose is to either get a flight attendant back to home base, or to get said flight attendant to another city to work from that airport.) It was a full flight, but I was only authorized to deadhead and not to help, so I sat and read. I was seated next to a funny looking guy. His hair was all slanty and his eyebrows were trimmed in a strange way. His appearance didn’t mean anything to me, but I did take note of his actions: he had a spiral notebook and several magic markers, all in different colors, and he kept drawing the same two words over and over again – in big, puffy cloud letters. He colored in the letters, then flipped the page and began anew. I thought he must’ve been, well, “special.”

 

About an hour into the flight, I noticed a couple of dudes kept walking up and down the aisle. It appeared their only mission was to be seen. They were wearing backstage passes around their necks. On a plane. Not backstage. Seriously, they were all about attention. After they’d passed me four times or so, I threw some attention their way. I stopped one of the guys and said, “Hey! Who are you with anyway?” The dude looked at me and said in a rather snotty manner, “The artist is Vanilla Ice.”

 

Now y’all, I was in uniform. I had to be on my best behavior, or I would’ve gotten in some sort of trouble. That’s the way it was. I knew that. I did. And yet the words escaped my mouth before I could stop myself. I turned to the guy in the seat beside me and said, “Are you the guy who ripped off that David Bowie and Queen song?”

 

He glared at me and probably wanted to slug me. He didn’t say a word, however. He simply flipped a page in his notebook, chose a fresh new magic marker color, and again started drawing his puffy-cloud-lettered words: “Vanilla Ice.” I went back to reading my book and not another word was exchanged between us. When we landed, I stepped out of the way so that all the paying passengers could exit before me.

 

I’m not gonna lie to you – when I look back on that flight and my blatant question, it’s one of the proudest moments of my life.

Old Friends, New Tricks

 

 

Yesterday I mentioned a dinner meeting in Santa Monica. When I arrived at my destination, I walked around the block and saw the building shown above – The Huntley Hotel. Talk about a blast from the past…

 

Back in my flight attendant days, our layovers were often at The Huntley (I was based in Boston at that time). Only we called it “The Hauntley,” as it had not yet been refurbished, the elevators were rickety and the interior was a little on the shabby (sans the chic) side. But it was clean and safe, and in a great location for flight attendants.

 

Anyhoo, looking up at that now-beautiful, old hotel really made me smile. You see, I was in Santa Monica to meet up with a dear friend. And I’ve known her for 20+ years. We met as flight attendants.

 

Carolyn is still in the travel industry. She is the founder and CEO of “In-Flight Insider,” a travel resource site based on her vast experience (“over ten million miles in the air”!) and expertise. She focuses not only on safety and preparation, but also on luxury and glamour. And believe me, she’s just the gal to do it! She doesn’t rest on her laurels and is constantly researching and learning about the wide world of travel. I trust, admire and respect her. And I am blessed to call her my friend.

 

So Carolyn was by the beach to review a luxury hotel, its amenities and restaurant (she is a travel writer/editor for “Fairfield County Look” and “Westchester Look”). As her food dork friend, I was invited along to experience dinner at “Fig.” And it did not disappoint.

 

Though we each ordered a starter and an entree, we were treated to course after course from the chef. Y’all, I’m not a girl to leave good food on the table, but I couldn’t finish anything placed before me. It was a feast! I’d love to show photos, but alas, they all turned out too dark…

 

 

At the end of our meal, Chef Ray Garcia stopped by and spoke with us a bit. He pointed out that a lot of what we’d eaten had been procured that very morning at the Farmer’s Market. (Carolyn had accompanied him on his market rounds.) He answered questions and his passion for food was obvious. As he and Carolyn spoke, I observed this new person my friend has become.

 

 

It had been a 3 1/2 hour meal. Carolyn, on East coast time, was surely as exhausted as I. We hugged one last time and I ventured out into the rain and made my way home.

 

Old friends are beautiful things. Not only do we get to look back at the people we were, at where we were, we also get to marvel at who we’ve become. To me, Carolyn looks exactly the same as when we were flying together. But she’s certainly grown, matured, evolved. She continues to open my eyes to facets of life I would never see without her guidance. And I absolutely love watching her as she blazes her trail through this all-too-short adventure.

 

My own face seems completely different from that flight attendant of all those years ago. I think my soul is different, too. And though I’ve parted ways with the travel industry, I still consider myself to be a traveler. A seeker. Those are the ties that bind me to my old friend, Carolyn. Those are the ties that bind me to myself and to this world. Once you grow wings, you never lose them.