Times were different. We all thought we’d be wearing our matching blue and turquoise uniforms until we were grey and wrinkly.
It was a warm spring day with a bit of a breeze and we were in Windsor. Again. A crew member was telling me how adorable Hvar was, having been there several times, and it became firmly planted in my mind’s forever-long to-do-list. I saw the flowers she talked about, I saw the sea sparkle at the end of the alley. I was almost there. Meanwhile, in Windsor, I walked past a cafe with colorful, luscious muffins in the window, and did not feel the urge to take a picture.
The hotel had a nice gym and my workout mate was a girl who was obsessed with whitening her teeth. They were very beautiful indeed. Everyone was excitedly planning what to shop at Tesco, what foreign food items to bring home to their empty fridge. Joss Stone’s songs were playing as I waited for reception to return my passport.
We were issued company credit cards without asking – we spoiled brats – as we traveled from country to country. At one point or another, we’d all sat on the tiny jumpseat in the cockpit listening to funny aviation talk with important-looking headphones on. Watching the plane land from the pilots’ viewpoint, seeing them aim in between the lines on the runway. Feeling pleased when they hit it spot on. Triumphant.
Another warm spring day and I was in Zurich, speed-tanning myself on the front steps of an empty plane. Our empty plane, that day. The pilot, a plane spotter, announced the arrival of an unusual plane at the airport at that precise moment, and told us where to look. I let the technical details slide, but was curious to see. I had previously been testing perfumes at the tax free shop and could smell four different scents on my wrists. Perfume and coffee were my airport routines.
Times were different. Climate change wasn’t part of dinner conversation and mass tourism wasn’t everywhere. The notion of a pandemic was just a nightmarish sci-fi movie. The only thing on my mind was what to buy next, where to travel next, what to eat next. It was all about me.
I didn’t grow old and wrinkly in that uniform – and that’s a good thing.