09 July 2012

Age Is Really Just a Number

After being a dormant blogger for a while, I recently had two ladies on a flight that revived my writing. I am not easily impressed but frankly, they knocked my socks off.

Anny was a business class passenger on a recent flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco. She initially looked like she was going to be a handful, constant motion and requests. We sort of thought to ourselves, okay 8B will be our needy passenger today. Almost all flights have one, a passenger who needs far more than their time allotted time when you do the math of passengers to crew. We were fairly certain she was ' the one'.

The one she was , was one of the most interesting people I have had on a flight in quite some time. She would have not reached 5 feet tall in a pair of platform shoes, and soaking wet she may have been 80 pounds. She was also 91 years old. Traveling back from Madagascar, where she went to see lemurs. Alone.

She has restless leg syndrome, so Anny was in constant motion, the only time we could get her to sit still was when the seatbelt sign was on, and we only had partial success at that. She got a chance to practice her self taught Spanish with Sonia, our crew member from madrid who was very impressed. She also shared a banana with her, sadly not fresh from Africa but from the airport club.

Anny kept us busy between services with tales of her leaving Germany after the war, teaching school in San Francisco and her world travels. She also shared with us ways to save money, like bringing your own cup to coffee shops . We had to lean in to hear her speak, it was like being told a secret each time you spoke to her.

We all loved that her first plans when she got home were making appointments for a mani and pedi, as well as a haircut. Clearly her age did not remove her vanity, and I liked her a little more for that.

Tessa was the other person that wowed me on that flight. She looked to be in her early sixties, and was the senior crew member on the flight. Some of these ladies never manage to make it past the curtains to see the other cabins, much less offer to help out there. She popped back to business class several times , pouring wine, picking up and offering help here and there. Even more shocking was when she grabbed an economy cart and began to pick up back there. This happens about as often as a lunar eclipse .

She bucked the trend and not only did not glue herself to a jumpseat reading People magazine, but was in constant motion working everywhere.

My jaw dropped when I found out she started flying in 1961. Not only before I was born, but before my mother began her time as a stewardess. Wow. Double wow, when you factored in how naturally good she looked! There was no Beijing layover Botox to her, or Buenos Aires face lift. She was as fresh faces as I could ever hope to be. I wondered for a second if she was a witch, to look so good. Not only blessed with good genes, and a fabulous work ethic, she was as nice as I could ever wish to be. Damn her she was a triple threat stew !

I really hope to have both of these ladies back on the plane with me sometime soon. They , in their own way, made my nearly 11 hour flight fly by. They reminded me not to judge a book by its cover "Potentially Needy" or "Senior Mama Works Only First Class". Ladies, you humbled me!!