Weekend Workers

“Thank God it’s Friday!” people always said. There’s this buzz that surrounds Fridays because it signifies the end of the work week for some.

I always found the phrase to be annoying. For me and others like me, Friday is my Monday… or even hump day depending on when my work week started.

While we’re all familiar with the portion of the population that dreads Monday and drags themselves through the week trying to make it to Friday, there is that other section of the population that goes unnoticed and is unappreciated. Take nurses and cops, for example. People don’t stop being sick or breaking the law because it’s Friday. In fact, those may be busy times for nurses and police officers. There are those that overindulge and need professional medical attention… and those that overindulge and do things that land them in the back seat of a police car. I would think professions like this relate to the Lord in the sense that they neither sleep, nor slumber. Nurses and cops are always at work, keeping us healthy and safe.

Then there are privileges that we enjoy that (gasp!) involve someone having to work the weekend. Flight crews work around the clock (sometimes literally!), delivering packages, passengers, and shooting photos of the earth for GPS info. All so you can have that quick weekend in Jamaica, make your way to the dance hall using your GPS, or receive that thing you had to have from Amazon. Retailers are open on weekends, so you can get a new dress and shoes to go out in. I know; I used to work in retail.

Not to mention grocery stores and restaurants, who usually experience their highest volume of customers on the weekends. While people are so glad for it to be Friday, the real weekend warriors are working flights, bussing tables, restocking produce (that is hopefully fresh, depending on where you go), and making life livable, easier, and even enjoyable for those that work during the week.

And the night club. Those bouncers that let you in? Bartenders? Dancers (depending on where you are)? Servers (if there’s food), kitchen staff and venue owners? Yep. While you’re dancing the night away, they’re chasing Benjamins.

But hey, don’t feel sorry for us; it’s really not that bad! I actually used to love working the weekend and live to have the week off, and honestly, I still do! I have my reasons:

  • It’s not as crowded when you do any kind of shopping. You’ll rarely have to worry about a line, especially mid-morning or during the day before rush hour. Just watch out for OAPs (Old Aged Persons) with carts!
  • It’s easy to make most of your appointments because most offices are open during the week, and you’re off!
  • Some activities that people experience on the weekend will be less crowded. Sometimes you won’t be able to go dancing or do brunch, but you can do the movies and you might be the only one in the theater! The art museum will be as quiet as a church sanctuary, Reading Terminal… well, let’s face it, that will always be crowded. But there’s a stark difference between going on the weekend and going during the week. I’ve done both, and I daresay I won’t do weekends any time soon. The last time I went on the weekend was a couple of years ago. That was enough
  • No weekend price hikes! It’s terrible, but some things get more expensive on the weekend, including parking! I’ve even seen admission to places get more expensive on the weekend because places know there will be more people then. Go during the week and save that money!
  • You will NEVER experience the dread that comes with Mondays like everyone else does. That’s YOUR weekend. While everyone else has to go to work, you’re sleeping in. Preferably in your drawers. You might eat Lucky Charms in bed when you get around to waking up.
  • You might actually make more money working on the weekend. This especially applies to jobs where people tip (PLEASE tip your waitstaff).

I read a book once called “Waiter Rant”. A friend to the main character was upset because she had to miss work to be in a friend’s wedding. The reason this was so hard was because the weekends were the time for her to make up the money she wasn’t getting during the week. As a result, she couldn’t afford a gift for the bridal shower or the bachelorette party, could barely afford her dress, was short on rent, and had to endure the other bridesmaids talking badly about her.

If only those other chicks understood. They were obviously Monday through Friday 9 to 5ers who couldn’t imagine what this poor woman was going through. This isn’t to look down on 9 to 5ers, but just to give them insight into our world. I hope that they come to at least appreciate us… because without the weekend workers, what would your life be like?

#weekendcoffeeshare

And a man busted out laughing…

…after we were stuck on a small plane for around 2 hours. No, this doesn’t include the actual flight time, which was about 90 minutes more.

Being stuck on an aircraft on the taxiway isn’t fun for anyone involved. Yesterday, on a full 50-passenger aircraft, we were stuck in a holding pattern on the ground because of the weather. Nothing could take off until a new reroute was established.

For me, it’s a stressful thing when this happens. Really, it’s no one’s fault when these events take place, but you still worry that someone is going to lash out. Food seems to help. So does liquor, but there’s never enough to go around in those situations. Besides, giving away all of the alcohol is ill-advised.

The best thing I could do was smile; that was about the only defense I had. I had a smile, some pretzels, water (which was quickly depleted when I did the water service), and some cookies. It wasn’t much, but it seemed to placate people insomuch as food can. Captain made an announcement at regular intervals to update the passengers and I, even if he didn’t have much to tell us. I’ve found that if people at least know what’s going on (even if nothing new has transpired), they stay pretty calm and remain understanding.

Before said announcements, he would call me on the interphone to check on me, and keep me updated before informing passengers of the situation. “Keep smiling!” he would say cheerfully before hanging up. He has no idea how much that helped keep me going.

After about 2 hours on the ground (and like 2 rounds of snacks, including the special delay snack. oy…), we got our route and were ready for takeoff. I was ready for a nap and wanted to be off the airplane… but stewardess life is much like the life of an actor: the show must go on.

The flight proceeded just as any other flight, with me doing a service. I would’ve loved to hide in a corner, but I also wanted to see how folks were faring. Besides, they may have wanted something more than water. It turns out that they did; I sold a crazy amount of alcohol! I haven’t beat my personal best yet, but it got close. As I approached two gentlemen sitting together, one of them did ask for a beverage. “I’m fine, please”, the other replied. Then he quickly corrected himself and said “I’m fine, thank you.”

…and he laughed. It was a big, hearty, tension-breaking laugh. I could feel the atmosphere in the plane change when he did that, and it certainly shifted my mood and feelings. To be able to laugh after such an ordeal was a blessing to me, and I’m sure to those that heard him. I even laughed with him.

Those were among the nicest group of passengers I’ve had the pleasure to serve, and moments like that are why I love my job and what keeps me going on hard days. When we finally landed in Indianapolis, IN and everyone got off, we the crew were blessed with smiles and “thank yous”. The more memorable ones were “Thank you for taking care of us”, and the last passenger that got off told me I had a great smile. There were two more flights to work, and they were back-to-back so that we could catch up, but that flight helped me carry on.

The man that laughed also gave his thanks, and walked off the plane, onto the jetway, and out of sight.

Menthol & Cigarettes

“Why would you stop there?!”

This is what the bus driver yelled at someone that stopped in a place where he couldn’t complete the turn he was making. Later on, he swore at someone else for doing something stupid.

Yep, it was that kind of day. I couldn’t fault the guy, though; I’ve gotten hot-headed on the road.

He ended up swearing later on at someone else that stopped in the most inconvenient of places. A young woman across from me look toward the front of the bus, and started laughing with her hand over her mouth. I laughed too, even though I was in a foul disposition.

Once again, I was up too early on my way to work, dozing until I got to my stop at the airport. At some point, someone brought on a floral and cigarette smell, but what was forever lingering in the air was that menthol scent that comes from cough drops, or the Vicks vapor rub that your mom slapped on your chest as a kid.

Maybe it was the Lord’s way of helping me breathe, because I was feeling stifled. As much as I enjoy my job, things just weren’t going the way I wanted, and I’m still not getting paid as much as I’d prefer. What I needed to do was stop being frustrated, just breathe, and allow things to get better. It may not happen when I want it to, but they’ll get better. The answer may not even be what I think it should be, but I’ll never hear it if my mind is moving too fast.

I got off the bus that day, leaving the smell of menthol & cigarettes on there. Later on that day, which felt impossibly long because of fatigue, I laid on the floor and breathed. I remember doing this when I had voice classes in NYC, and it’s the most relaxing thing a stressed out girl can do. In fact, I laid on that floor for about a good 20 minutes simply breathing and listening to singing bowls.

I can’t tell you how many days temptation nearly led me to lay on the floor publicly just to do this, but I haven’t yielded yet. It seems counter-intuitive, but it calms and centers you when your mind moves too fast. Remember the Vicks vapor rub when you feel like you’re being choked and just… breathe.

Awake

It is now 5:06 am. Daylight savings time has ended.

One year when daylight savings time ended, I remember clock-watching on my phone. I wanted to see what happened when the time changed.

Now I’m in another such position to be awake at this time, but under entirely different circumstances. I don’t recall trying so hard to remain up in my life. Please excuse me if these ramblings make no sense.

The alarm on my phone went off at 1am, telling me that it was time to open my eyes and forego getting that bit of sleep that almost had me. It’s just as well; I wasn’t sleeping anyway. It was vanity to attempt to reset my body clock so that I could have some semblance of rest before that cursed alarm went off. Now here I am after 5am trying hard not to drift off.

The hum of my ceiling fan, which used to sound melodic, now seems far too loud. The pressure in the room is crowding my ears and my face is droopy. I can feel the bags under my eyes pulling my face down.

I question my sanity: why am I doing this to myself? Why couldn’t I be drawn to a normal profession… one that doesn’t involve me staring blankly at a computer screen & randomly doing squats in a feeble attempt to stave off sleep in the wee hours of the morning?

I could nap, but I know I’m a heavy sleeper… and if I fall asleep, I just might miss that call. For flight attendants on reserve, the call is everything.

and now, I’m happy to say that as I was typing this, I got that call. I thank the Lord that I live close to my base, and that show time is far enough away for me to sneak a nap in.

for now, this is life. It’ll be what it is, and I pray to survive it.

The Start of Something New

There is a scripture in the bible that reads “we were as those that dream.”

This is a job that I’ve applied to on and off over a few years, but nothing ever came of it. This time around, not only was there an actual response, I received a job offer, went to training, and managed to successfully pass my class training.

After about 2 days at home, Monday was my first day doing on-the-job training. It all felt surreal. Even now, it still doesn’t feel real. But oh, it’s very real. I’ve visited a few cities in a matter of 4 days, and spent the majority of my non-work time in Rochester, NY. I had my head in the clouds, got frustrated, scared and was a little unsure of myself. I questioned whether or not I was suited for this position.

Then something happened. It’s tough to explain, but on that last day, everything clicked. I got ready for show time, and decided to wear red lipstick. Just like my red Tahari shoes, the red lipstick did something for my confidence. I did forget a thing or two, but it all ran smoothly. I was confident, sure of myself, and had all of the main things together. I even managed to show improvement on the part that I struggled with most.

Once my trip was officially done, I was elated. Mostly because I was getting rather tired, but also because my training was over, and my instructor said that I was wonderful. On my sheet, I got to see what he wrote, and I saw these words: Rachel was outstanding. That meant everything to me, especially since I was feeling doubtful at times.

It’s now official. I’m still a little scared, but I’m just going to read over my materials, and reach out to those more experienced than me. It’s the surest way for me to get better and gain the confidence that I need. I can also be assured that I now have a job that will make me happy and afford me the opportunity to travel.

I posted a picture of myself in uniform on Facebook and got so much love and support from those around me. Even though I’m still quite new, I at least feel comfortable enough to tell people what I do. It’s also a blessing to, for once, be proud to tell people where I work and what I do.

What am I?

I’m a flight attendant, and I’m so happy to find a job that finally makes me happy.

Loved ones and neighbors, people I go to church with, former coworkers and friends have been supportive and encouraging. I was surprised to find out how many people have wanted to do what I do and that have even applied for the profession. I owe it to them and to myself to press on. Even on the days when I feel a little unsure, I’m still going for it. At this moment in my life, knowing the things that I enjoy and how well this job fits my personality, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Having said that, I’m also happy this seems to be working out because now my blogs will get more interesting. Lord knows where I’ll be posting from! For right now, though, I’ll be posting from home until my next trip. What’s hilarious is that I’ve been in hotels for so long, I almost thought I was in one this morning when I woke up. I made myself wake up from my daze just to ensure that I was, in fact, home. I think this job will make being home even sweeter.

That first day, my back hurt from trying to stay balanced, I felt like I was bouncing when I was lying still in bed, and I was too fatigued to remember whether or not I showered (I did). Despite all this, my head was still in the clouds (no pun intended. Okay… maybe a little bit). I hope I never come out of this dream phase that I’m in.