<Home | 05:41>
I can’t sleep. My body woke up somewhere around 04:30 even though I was up until almost midnight getting things together- there is no sleep left in me. Megan isn’t going to come to pick me up for another six hours but I’m done sleeping. Maybe this is a good thing since my flight doesn’t leave Los Angeles until 23:45 tonight. Maybe that means I’ll actually sleep on the plane. I should drug myself.
<Los Angeles, California | 17:53>
Megan showed up right at 09:30 and I grabbed my two bags (one to check and one to carry-on) and threw them in the trunk of her car. We had to make a stop at Walmart so I could grab a few things. Arron commanded me to bring Hostess pies and butterscotch pudding for him. What I really mean is that he asked me if I’d bring some for him- I knew that if I did, they would get smashed in my checked bag, and he’d need to eat his treats with a fork or a spoon. I guess these are some things that they just don’t have in Australia. I ran into Walmart and found a little plastic box to put them in. I hope this keeps the treats uncrushed until I see Arron in about twenty-two hours.
Since I still had about 10 hours until I could check in for my flight, I walked down to get some lunch at In-N-Out Burger, near LAX.
After ordering my #1, animal style, a gal who was also waiting for her order started chatting with me. Her name is Roxie and she just so happens to be one of my coworkers, based in Baltimore. After being an operations agent in Raleigh for I-don’t-remember-how-many years (close to thirty years, if I recall) she finally decided a couple years ago that she was going to transfer to inflight and start to see the country. We had a great chat!
We talked about our experiences in flight attendant training and the fact that her 30-year-old son is going through the exact same training in Dallas at this very moment. We remembered all the stress and head games that we had to live through to earn our wings. Those memories came flooding back! I think I had tried to block most of them out. It was quite common in training for you to get close to someone, thinking they’d become a life-long friend and coworker, only to find out the next day that they’d been sent home for failing a test or for one of a million other reasons. I remember that our training class started with 136, and I think only 84 made it to graduation. Roxie told me that from one test alone (passing of the P.A.s) they lost about 11. Mind games. Stress. Tears. Sleepless nights, pacing the hotel hallways studying because you really, really wanted to be a flight attendant.
I remembered there was a boy named Edwin in my training class. The day before our graduation, Edwin went out to celebrate his twenty-first birthday. The next morning, we all showed up to the shuttle and were very excited because this was our big day. We were getting our class picture taken and going over some last-minute career training and then we were going to “get pinned” (receive our wings) in a ceremony later in the afternoon. Edwin never showed up that day because he partied too hard and slept through his alarm or wakeup call. Instead of allowing him to join us later in the day (he had already passed all of his exams), they put him on a flight home. They told us from our very first day in training that we always had to be on-time to class, because they had to trust us to show up to the plane when we were supposed to be there. Edwin would have made a great flight attendant. I wonder what he’s doing now.
After a quick visit to the CVS so that I could pick up some generic Zzzquil and some generic Gas-x, just in case, we walked back together until it came time for me to turn right, heading to the terminal and Roxie turned left, heading back to her layover hotel. She’s a very cool gal and we exchanged our info so that we will hopefully keep in touch.
I grabbed my bags and lugged them all the way to the L.A.X. international terminal. Up to this point, I’ve only experienced terminal 1 because this is the only terminal that we fly out of for work. The international terminal or terminal 4 is a long hike, especially carrying a bag the size of the one I packed for this trip. Next time I’ll fork out the $5 to rent one of those easy cart thingies. I felt like I was going to pass out, lugging it the whole way.
I stepped up to the Qantas ticket counter, wondering if it was too early for me to check in for a plane that wasn’t supposed to leave for hours. The agent told me that it was indeed possible and that many other passengers had already checked in. She took my passport and told me that she wouldn’t even need my confirmation number. She scanned it through the groove on her keyboard, checked the screen and asked me if I had any bags to check to Charlotte this evening. “Okay, first of all, I didn’t even know that Qantas flew to Charlotte. Secondly,” I told her, “I am actually going the opposite direction and flying to Brisbane tonight.” She scratched her head and I pulled my confirmation number out of my bag. She scanned my passport again and this time it had me going to Brisbane. Much better! Although Charlotte, North Carolina is lovely!
Once I was through the security line (which was basically nonexistent for me since I happened to be in a flight attendant uniform- awesome benefit!) and a pitstop to the men’s room, I set out to find some chocolate. It is a well-known fact that you should always bring chocolate for the flight crew. Now that you know this, never fly without bringing some! Please don’t get the cheap, waxy kind of chocolate either. I was glad to find a See’s Candies shop in the terminal and grabbed a couple boxes of truffles. I hope the crew is grateful for the gesture.