I’m bad at waiting. It’s not that I mind the wait itself, it’s just that I get very fidgety. The minutes seem to drag on forever and I start getting butterflies in my stomach. I tell myself, why are you feeling so nervous, this is ridiculous, as it can happen in any kind of waiting room or at the bus stop. Have you ever heard of someone getting butterflies in their stomach just from waiting for the bus?! I told, you: ridiculous!
I used to be a flight attendant and the job involved a lot of waiting. I’d fidget and meditate, daydream, read a book or do safety drills in my head. Anything to take my mind off the fact that I was waiting.
One of the regular waits in my work day was waiting for passengers to board. My job was to stand by the exit I was responsible for and wait. While waiting, I needed to survey able-bodied persons to summon for help in case of emergency (bodybuilder alert!) and see that everyone was putting their hand baggage away properly.
Hand baggage, my goodness what drama that could involve! There was always someone who came in late and whose enormous bag was too big for the overhead bins and the person just sat down and left me with the bag like I was a portier at their hotel. Some of my colleagues were brash enough to simply chuck the oversized bag out the door. Don’t worry, it was caught by a cargo handler who would put it in hold where it belonged. The passenger was never happy with that since the bag always contained the Queen’s jewelry or something else utterly irreplaceable which would get destroyed in the cargo department and was obviously much more important than anyone else’s baggage.
That reminds me of an interesting flight I once had, when I almost met the Queen of England. Hah, well I’m exaggerating of course, but nonetheless it was quite fascinating. Mid-flight, a gentlemanly British passenger came to me and asked me to be allowed to deboard separately from the rest of the passengers because he was a royal messenger. He was wearing the quaintest tweed hat, a matching brown tweed suit and bow tie and he was terribly polite.
The purser investigated the matter, no doubt the Captain called ground control, and indeed, the Royal Messenger had a long, shiny, black limo waiting for him directly outside the plane as soon as we parked.
As crew, we had our own shiny, black vehicle waiting for us outside the plane. Not a limo, but a van. When our work day was done, we were taxied off to crew headquarters or a hotel, each of us absorbed in the miniature worlds of our phones, silent and solitary in a group.
During each flight, the crew would consist of different people, but we were all made from the same mold. Once in our uniforms, we became uniform, and there was something oddly comforting about that. It was like I belonged and I loved being a part of something, a member of a crew. How I longed for those flights, a feeling I’ve never had at office work, and looked forward to the people I’d meet, the conversations I’d have. Every day was an adventure.
It was always worth the fidgety wait (even though I didn’t quite meet the Queen).