Pap Smears and Pedicures

I had been discussing the issue of insurance and commiserating with a fellow flight attendant. I was upset with the fact that my time is being wasted when I am at home, with doctors’ appointments, etc.

Why should I continue to waste all of  this time on layovers, in hotels, when I could accomplish these mundane tasks?  I work a trip and arrive at home to a million different errands. Can’t we consolidate this somehow? I began to think of ways to multi-task.

“For instance,” I said, “why not have my pap smears at my hotel? If we could get a doctor to do house calls and bring the equipment, it would be perfect! Hey, since my feet are in the stirrups,  I could even get my pedicure at the same time! Just think of all the time I would save!”

My flying partner totally agreed. “Yea!” He said, we should all be able to have our prostate exams and everything on our layovers. I said, “well, just imagine, relaxing with a glass of wine, while someone is doing a facial and an annual exam, at the same time.” All the leisure time you would have when you get home!”

 The next morning we met downstairs and I said “Hey, I had my mammogram last night.” He replied, “Yea, I had a colonoscopy!”

I do believe this should be one for Obama’s new health care reform. We could save time, and they could save money. I’m thinking I could probably have my hair done, while the mammogram is being performed. And I could even throw a manicure into that. Perhaps a little discount for added incentive. Put our tax dollars to work for us!  This is my own ‘energy conservation program.’ No more running as if I’m in a triathlon, when I come home for my few days off.Not to mention we would also be more environmentally conscious, as we would be conserving much more fuel.

The hotels should just have these medical people on staff and we could make our appointments as we check in. Perhaps the insurance companies could work out a special package with the salons and offer it to the consumer.

While I’m getting my teeth cleaned, I think I’ll have my legs waxed. I think anything that I could do in a salon, basically, can be added to the exam routine. Waxing, hair, nails, facial’s,etc. Why not?

As I was explaining my wildly ingenious idea, to my mom and daughter, this is the song which came to me and my mom was rolling in laughter as I was singing it. I’m sure many lyrics could be added. “Pap smears and pedicures, on company time, Insurance coverage, I don’t spend a dime!” (To the tune of Incense and Peppermints)

Yep, that’s a perfect tune, waiting for the lyrics.A one-stop shop, on our layover time, and it would all be a perfect package. Now  I say we vote on this as part of the plan. All who travel as part of their jobs, please weigh in… All in favor, say Yes!!!

The Journey of the Three Stooges

Journey of the Three Stooges

Journey of the Three Stooges

Aren’t we all in an episode of the Three Stooges at one time or another in our lives? We have to laugh and this is what I did. I saw this experience through someone elses eyes as I recounted the story many times and it was always just as hilarious as the day that it happened. From one situation to the next it seemed that nothing could go right, but in the end we had a surprise and you couldn’t have written a better comedy act.

I was checking in for a trip in my base, when me and a flying partner had been waiting in the briefing room for the third flight attendant. We waited and waited and finally, we had to tell the coordinator that we were short one flight attendant. We always wait until the last minute, so as not to get anyone into trouble. Perhaps they were caught in traffic or looking for a parking space in that cramped parking lot.

Now it was getting late and if someone were to be called out, we had to let someone know. We approached the coordinator and told him that the person didn’t show. He picked up the phone and called him. “Hey Jimmy, where are you? No, you had two of these trips back to back and you aren’t supposed to check in tomorrow, but today. Your crew is waiting for you.”

I could tell this guy Jimmy was frantic with this call. You never want to find out you missed a trip, which is a cardinal sin, or that you are late. We were issued acronyms in our work history that sounded bad and to tell someone else, “I had a trip failure,” is just plain negative, all the way. It sounds like a court martial.

So we could tell he was fighting for his position with the coordinator. He was telling him he would make this trip, come hell or high water. A late check-in was less punitive than a trip failure. So, all I could do is pray that he got here in time, just to ease his anxiety.

Our trip was going to end up in Minneapolis, with a stop in Chicago, LaGuardia and then to Minneapolis. Doesn’t that sound fun?

Well, we were told to just go to our plane and have our briefing onboard until Jimmy showed up. Neither Keith nor I really wanted the purser position. It seemed this trip would be drama, since it is starting out this way. Because Keith was junior, he took it. It was Jimmy’s position, but we had to brief with the pilots and get started since we had no idea when or if Jimmy would arrive.

Keith just finished briefing with the pilots and they went over the planned route, weather, and safety with us. Now we took a few minutes to check out all of our stuff and all of a sudden another guy comes on board. “Hey, I’m Armando. They just pulled me off the flight to Santiago, to work this. At this Keith and I laughed. Are you kidding? You know you will end up in Minneapolis, right?” “Yes, and I’m not too happy about it.” “Oh, come on, they have that great mall and everything! lol We tried to make him feel better, but there simply was no comparing his trip to ours.

At this point, Keith tells him, “I don’t really want the purser position, if you’d like you can have it.” “Oh sure, Armando says.” “It’s extra money at least.”

So now Armando briefs with the pilots. “Didn’t we already do this?” “Yea, but our purser didn’t show and now Armando is going to take it.” They laughed and rebriefed with just him.

We were getting all set up in the back galley and we hear an announcement from Armando. “Hey, I’m going back to my flight. Your other person just showed up.”

Keith and I make our way up to the front of the plane and there he is. This guy looked like he slept in his uniform. His shirt was all wrinkled and his tie was on crooked. The knot was almost sideways, as if he had just been in a wind tunnel and it got caught in a door on the way out.

The thing I remember most about Jimmy is that he wore braces and he must have just gotten them. He seemed embarrased whenever he talked and he would cover his mouth and put his head down as he mumbled his words. Keith and I were constantly straining to hear his message and all hopes of reading his lips were lost behind his hand.

Keith said, “you look like you ran out the door in a hurry.” (Hand over mouth, his response) “yea, I was so (inaudible) I got here as soon(inaudible.)Keith and I just looked at each other with smirks. This should be interesting.

Now Jimmy briefed with the pilots. “How many purser’s do you have?” They were laughing at the whole scene and I do believe the sight of Jimmy added some more hilarity to the whole experience.

We were now finally ready to go. With just minutes to spare, Jimmy had actually gotten to his flight and we were departing, on time. This was quite a feat.

Every time Jimmy would come back to tell us something, he would laugh. He would walk away and Keith would look at me and we both would say in unison, “What did he say?”

Finally we arrived in Chicago. Next stop was supposed to be LaGuardia. We found out that we had a supervisor sitting in First Class. She was going to LaGuardia for some kind of meeting. Having supervisors onboard always makes people uncomfortable. They are always watching everything and at times make out reports. Since she was in First Class, Keith and I didn’t care too much, but we had to think it was funny, since Jimmy, was working up there. He seemed awkward and sloppy and we wondered what she was going to think.

“The cockpit made an announcement over the pa, that we had a mechanical problem. They told everyone that it was minor and we would be on a short delay. “Oh great, maybe we won’t have to go to Minneapolis.” Flight attendants always play a little guessing game when these things happen. “Maybe we’ll cancel, maybe they will send us somewhere else.” Yes, I know, passengers don’t want those things to happen, but remember that ‘F’ word? We have become a type of person that actually gets excited about the unknown.

We had waited about 30 minutes and we were passing out drinks since the delay was longer than expected. Suddenly we hear the pilot on the pa again. “Uhhh, ladies and gentlemen, we have encountered another problem and we’re sorry to inform you that our control panel is having a problem. We are going to see if another plane has the panel that we need, or we will have to call for a part. We will keep you posted. If we can’t get the part from another plane, our delay will be longer than expected.”

“What?” Me and Keith wondered why they just now found this problem. All of a sudden we see Jimmy walking to the back to speak to us in the galley. He put his head down and said, “Oh, you wouldn’t believe what happened. I was giving the pilots their orange juice and coke and I dumped the tray all over their control panel! Man, I hope I don’t get in trouble over this!” Keith and I looked at him and tried to console him. “Oh, I said, accidents happen.”Mumbling something that was incoherent once again, he turned his wrinkly uniformed body around and hustled back to the front.

Keith and I looked at each other and both said, simultaneously, “his heads gonna roll!”We cracked up. This was just too much and with a supervisor up there. I wonder if she knows anything. The pilots were kind enough to allude to the mechanical, without getting anyone in trouble.

When the time was creeping and creeping, we heard another announcement. “Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately we were unable to secure a part from another aircraft and will have to have one flown in. This will be longer than expected and if you’d like to leave the aircraft you can, but please stay in the gate area.”

Here we go. Now we gave out all of the drinks we had. We did a full service and we had been so long on the airplane that we could take a rest outside the plane for 15 minutes. We called our union and they contacted inflight to let them know.

By the time we returned the we knew that this was going to run into our legal time that we were on duty and at this point another crew would be called out.

The passengers were very nice considering all of the hassle that they had to experience. They knew that we were working hard and we were joking around with all of them. I personally love New Yorkers and their no-nonsense attitude. I had fun in spite of what was going on and the people were great to me.

Finally, the part did arrive and just as we thought, it was time to replace us with a new crew. Since we were in Chicago, a domicile, it was no problem to call the standbys.

Our pilots, were still legal, however and we said goodbye as we headed off the plane. We had a long layover and didn’t have to finish that trip.

Keith and I agreed that Jimmy was a big screw up, but we couldn’t be too hard on him, since we enjoyed the benefits of a nice layover and got off the plane before heading to LaGuardia.

The next day, we bumped into one of the pilots from the trip, coming through the airport. “Oh my gosh, you are so lucky you left when you did! He said. “After we left Chicago and we headed into LaGuardia, they closed it because of the curfew and we had to divert to Newark! The people were so mad, they were throwing their bags and cursing the crew!”

We all looked at each other and said, “Whew! Did we dodge a bullet or what?” However, Keith and I knew the bullet would have never been fired, if it wasn’t  for our third stooge, Jimmy.

About a week later I had another trip with Keith and as I checked my mailbox in the domicile, I pulled out a note that was a compliment for the crew of this flight and it was signed by none other than the supervisor that was sitting in First Class! She said how impressed she was with out attitude and service to the passengers during a difficult delay. She had sent one to me, Keith and our beloved, Jimmy.”

When I walked into my briefing room and looked at Keith, I saw he had just finished reading his and we laughed so hard that we cried. “Hey, we need to fly with Jimmy more often, I said!