10 November 2011

Overheard in the Galley

Random Flight Attendant: Does anyone want some chlamydias?
Rest of the crew : WHAT?!?!?!
Random Flight Attendant: Oh, I think I meant to say clementines...

And I'm back !!

10 August 2011

A Little Family Stuff

Sorry for the blog languishing. 'BoyWhoFlies' has a father dying of leukemia so we are in France trying to take care of things. Photos and stories of Brittany as well as crazy pilots coming soon. Thanks for your patience!

15 April 2011

The Kaiser

Sometimes people in our profession get a little 'colorful' the longer they fly. Maybe it is all that time trapped in a confined space, maybe it is the lack of consistent coworkers who know you well enough to pull your mental kite back to earth, or maybe we just encourage the general nuttiness of others we work with because, frankly, it is fun to watch. I have flown with a pilot who covers himself in linen to protect from radiation, flight attendants who beleive in elves and gnomes ( yes seriously) and people whose imagined past and present could not possibly be accomplished in their years on earth .

I recently flew with one of these colorful types, she was an 'extra' which means she is a random flight attendant working with us who is not based where the bulk of the crew is. When she lumbered into briefing, she looked as if she had been walking 20 miles, or dragged behind a train. This was the start of her day, at a not particularly early hour, even for her time zone. She was, of course the most senior... which meant she worked mostly alone in first class.

Her name was Swedish, and close enough in sound to Kaiser that our purser had named her that before we took off. She ate enough cocktail nuts during boarding that I heard her remark, "Well that saves us offering seconds to the passengers". Translation, she ate a whole metal tin of nuts, the size of a paperback book. Her balloonlike proportions and puffiness began to make sense. She continued to eat whatever was not nailed down, all while the rest of us were racing around hanging coats, offering newspapers and drinks to everyone.

I was sitting on the jumpseat next to her for takeoff, and of course due to the weather the captain asked us to stay seated until he called us. She had a captive audience... Some people in our job have a tendency to overshare far to soon, personal details and secrets with people who really don't want to know or care. Before the captain released me from my captivity I was regaled with how she had sold her home because there was a sinkhole on the property, evicted from her rental condo and was now living with her 30 year old unemployed daughter in the basement of a friend who is alcoholic, weights 350 pounds and had 4 cats, one of which poops everywhere. She felt her explosive diarrhea of the past seven days was related to the poopy cat. Did I mention I was seated a foot from she of the loose bowels?? I would have chewed through the jumpseat harness if I thought I could have escaped.

Later on in the flight she shared how she had formerly flown for Pan Am, and had been based in Honolulu. She felt that was when, by her own admission, she started to become eccentric. The purser remarked she must have been based there a very long time..We also learned she had been the person who qualified the Pan Am crew in Swedish ( gave them the test to assure they were fluent in that language, and could make announcements onboard), was trained as a surgeon, and owned a restaurant that had burned down. Well, her surgical experience was actually medical school, and even that was up for debate.

She mostly flew trips to China and Japan . She told us her layovers in Tokyo consisted of eating carrots, and that she was going to Fukushima to write a paper on the effects of radiation on civilians nearby. Good thing she had that background in surgery...She never made clear why she would only eat carrots there, the answer would have probably not cleared it up in any case.

Her layovers in China were spent shopping an average of 400 dollars per week on 'all sorts of junk' for her kids and friends. She also told us she got her hair done there, at which point the acerbic purser asked if it had been a long time since she had had a Beijing trip? Again the surgery came into play as she mentioned she had a Chinese doctor, who, when she drew a picture of her body and circled what ailed her, he would remove that body part. Yes, surgery real or imagined on the layover. Based on her size, she was not drawing pictures of unwanted jiggly thighs.

She said she had been as skinny as a rail until last year when the cortisone shots have her "all this" ( gestures my lifting up and shaking her belly fat). I am sure the constant eating was just a coincidence.

The Kaiser asked us why her bank was not paying her interest on the part of her savings account she had withdrawn. I really had no idea how to answer that one, but her fiscal sensibility or lack of became obvious when she said she was moving back to Sweden as they had the lowest taxes in the world.

She also shared her relationship past, presumable when she had a better fighting form that she did now. She swore she had dated Bill Cosby, and he could not accept when she broke up with him. That was when she had to flee Hawaii. She them married a stalker, who she is now on friendly terms with.

Kaiser ate any crew meal that had not been grabbed, I think someone missed out on theirs when they stopped in the toilet on their way to the galley, she viewed it as unclaimed merchandise . She ate a pork entree which she said was delicious and well worth the 'sh*ts' is caused. Really??? Oh my God I was going to have to sit on the jumpseat after she ate that meal for landing.

The landing was spent telling me how she was going to live with her son, whose rent she would pay as his girlfriend was unemployed, like her daugher, whose rent she was also paying for a year when she was finally able to evict her from the basement they shared.

When the flight was over, the rest of were in tears laughing all the way to the hotel, sharing our Kaiser stores. Please let me retire before I get this loony. Please...

23 February 2011

Will the Last Person to Leave Belgium Please Turn the Lights Off

Recently Boy Who Flies and I did a road trip to Sankt Wendel, Germany to watch the World Championships of cyclocross  . (Go ahead to look it up, I had to Google it the first time he mentioned it to me).  Last year I agreed to go see the races as we would stay in Prague, it actually kinda suprised me how much fun they were to watch.  This year they were in a tiny town in Germany, about an hour from Trier. We made that our homebase and drove to watch the races.

Cyclocross is apparently something of a religion in Belgium, there were 65,000 people at the races and I would swear 64,500 of them were Belgian. I am not sure how many were actual fans of the sport, judging by how many stayed in the party tent the whole time, I suspect they will travel for parties.

The course was insanely crowded with people in all sort of crazy costumes sporting their national or regional colors. People had gone there in buses from Belguim, the belly of the bus FILLED with beer, or in caravans with flags hung from them. Horns, cowbells, megaphones all honking, ringing and blaring. Swiss fans were neatly organized in one corner, cheering a choreographed cheer, girls wandered around with their faces painted with Belgian flags, Frenchmen wandered waving their flags and wearing red, white and blue scarves. The Germans seemed frankly a bit bewildered by it all .

As you can see people enlisted their pets, umbrellas and mannequins into supporting their country and cyclist.

The racing itself is fun in the fast moving , messy way hockey is. Cyclists have to hop over wood barriers, carry their cycles over their shoulders up flights of stairs and over pavement , mud and often snow during the races which are less than an hour.

The race itself was much more exciting that the clip, however the fans at the 'dramatic' parts apparently staked out their turf at sunrise. Equally fun as the race was the action inside the party tents. There were two tents, the regular one and the "Belgica Village" where I am fairly certain you had to be drunk to enter and also speak Flemish AND wear red, yellow and black. As we were none of the above we hung out between races in the normal tent. Beer sold in increments of 1-12, sausages and the ubiquitous frites, which I had to wolf down quickly and without photo as Boy Who Flies was gagging at me eating fries topped with mayonnaise, ketchup and chopped onions ( weird but actually tasted good). The tent was sort of comparable to a European apres-ski, with crap pop music and sing alongs. It was certainly as cold as a ski slope there, even inside the tent.  


Next year the race is in Belgium, but I think we will give that particular race a miss, the year after it is in Louisville, Kentucky. I can only imagine how the crazy cycling fans will mix with the Southerners. They do share the mullet in common.....maybe it will be a match made in heaven. 

13 January 2011

Dear 9J

Dear 9J,

You seemed to really enjoy using your iPad on the flight. I am the first to admit...jealous. However it was a little too kind of you to leave your iPad in your seat for me.

NO, I did not keep it! It was turned into a concerned gate agent along with your name. We shouted your name on the people mover going to the terminal in Washington, you must have been connecting and going the other way.

This brings me to my point, which I need to follow as well. LABEL your electronic devices!!! It is more than once passengers have left phones, computers etc not only on aircraft, but at the security area as well.

The black covers everyone purchases for the iPads help them to blend in, I use a brightly colored striped ( okay some might say garish) bag for my Mac, but you can be sure its hideous colors catch my eye and it is not forgotten!

One crew member had her white Mac blend in so well with the security bin that a TSA worker put it back in the pile of bins, luckily she ran back to retrieve it!

PLEASE, put an address label, or even just a piece of tape with your email address on things. If you lost it on my flight I WILL take the time to mail it to you.

This is a traveling public service announcement.

07 January 2011

My Blogroll has died

Ugh.. I noticed that Blogroller bit the dust and took all my blogs I read links with it.. I am adding the ones I follow, and if anyone has any suggestions, please comment, I would love to check them out. They can be of any variety, I would be bored reading only about aviation!!

A Roundtrip to Crazy and Back, aka the Naughty Photos , the Tooth and the Tiny Terror

What a round trip. 16 hours of flying had the drama of a months worth of flying for most people. I had to let this trip settle for a week before I could document it. I thought it might look a wee bit less crazy upon re-examination, but it only looks worse...

One of our French stewards, who shall remain nameless, had an admirer on our flight to the states. Said steward is married, a bit paunchy and not the slick gent many of his countrymen are. He is shy, nervous and frankly creeps out many of his female coworkers as he draws rather filthy comics obsessively. Of the 6 men of the crew that day, he would be my last choice for an inflight crush.

A Turkish woman on the flight developed a sweet spot for him. Somehow she got up her nerve and approached him in the galley between services. Before the pre-landing service it had progressed to the Turk running her hands up and down his chest murmuring how she wanted to kiss and hold him. Bold words indeed in front of an audience...

Somehow he managed to pull out a nugget of that Gallic charm and said as he did not have a camera he would have to take a photograph of her with his eyes. Moment later she presented him with an array of PG-13 Boudoir photographs. I would not have believed him had he not shared them with the whole crew.

He was wondering how he got so lucky, I was wondering who in the hell carries an assortment of saucy photographs to hand out like candy?

As we left the aircraft and wandered towards passport control, the Turkish temptress was waiting for him. Somehow she wangled the name of the hotel we were staying in out of him. She was traveling to Orlando, so luckily for his marriage a meeting could not be set up. On the bus to the hotel the crew begged him to make sure his hot tempered Moroccan wife would not find the pics, she would kill him. The girls on the crew were horrified at what he was contemplating, the guys were hysterical with laughter.

A late evening of phone sex apparently ensued, and I imagine she gave him enough inspiration to crank out another half dozen of his comics.

The flight back we had a two fronted assault of insanity. The first passengers to board were a woman and her wheelchair bound mother. The daughter thought it was not necessary before getting to the aircraft door to tell us her mother could not walk . (Note to anyone traveling with a wheelchair bound companion, this is VERY important).

So after a brief delay waiting for the wheelchair attendants to get the aisle chair, and bring the elderly woman to her seat, the daughter starts screaming. The gate agents had thoughtfully upgraded the 2 ladies to the premium economy section to give them more leg room, and given then a row to themselves. Daughter decided she anted her mother in the exit row, which does have more legroom, but it would literally be breaking an FAA regulation (law) to do so.

When the steward pointed out that sadly it was not possible, but with the row to themselves they should be very comfortable the daughter started shrieking "You are killing my mother!" so loudly I could hear it in First Class.

Daughter dearest demanded that her mother sit in the exit row, law or no. When the crew member tried to point just how unable to sit there her mother was by going over the abilities required on the safety card, she said her mother could do all them.

Finally the daughter shoved her hand at the crew member and told him "Get out of my face!!" Not a wise move, ever. The customer service was called on the plane, and she gave them full attitude as well, so the cops were called. The tiny terror gave the cops more attitude and told them to go away. Oh they went away, carrying her with them. She made herself deadweight, like a no nukes protestor. She clutched onto each headrest as she was pulled a row forward, screaming all the way.

I was a bit suprised no cameras were out, for this would be a classic YouTube moment. Her legs were kicking and flying as she was brought to the front of the plane, and her mother taken off. As the door of the aircraft closed, you could hear a guttural "NOOOOOOO!!!!"

If only the drama ended there. The passengers were , not suprisingly, unusually docile for the rest of the flight. It was only the pursers dead tooth that caused the remaining drama. The purser is a Triathelete, very physically fit and proud of his toughness. His dead tooth and dying tooth nerve caused him to curl up and start crying. Never a pretty thing to see.

We called for a doctor or dentist, and they determined nothing in our medical kit would alleviate the pain. He was put on sick leave for the flight, and we were all offering our home remedies for pain, including sucking down a copious amount of Cognac. One passenger offered forth their supply of "Purser's Little Helpers" and he was off in lala land for the duration of the flight. When he didn't wake in pain and down some more. We drew straws to see who would escort him to his commuter flight home, to make sure he didn't fall asleep on the cool tile floor off the terminal floor, which would seem perfectly reasonable in his state. He made it home safely, his parents collecting him at the other end.

I slept a really long time after that trip...

02 January 2011

Painted Ladies

I am providing a brief palate cleanser before I write about my New Years trip. Something light, fluffy and appealing to the eye... if you like bright colors.

I was recently in Coconut Grove, Florida visiting my Boy Who Flies (BWF). He was called out to work a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina and as the flight was full I entertained myself in warm sunny South Florida. South Florida is filled with many men who look like Santa gone bad, but I was a little reluctant to photograph them. Between them and the homeless woman who wanted money to buy Vagisil ( a new approach) I was not hard up for good people watching there.

Coconut Grove hosts a series of peacock statues on parade , sort of similar to the cows that travelled the world . The peacocks were created by local artists and are scattered throughout
Coconut Grove ( well the safer parts anyway).