Fly Girl

5.24.2011


My mom didn't cry when she dropped me off at college. That's because I was a jerk, and I would have been ready to be rid of me, too.

Fast forward seven years, to me greeting TSA with bare feet as I left my old Kentucky home and said goodbye again to my family. This time, my mom cried. But she held it together until she was out of my sight. Which, was very thoughtful, because had I started crying in the middle of the security line in the Cincinnati airport--well, it would have just sounded too much like a bad country song.
The timing of this venture couldn't have been more perfect. I left in the doldrums of winter in Kentucky, and took on the migratory pattern of birds and flew south. While the snow continued to ruin the lives of my warm-blooded friends at home, I walked outside to blooming trees and smiled as my sinuses began to close at an alarming rate.

It was time for me to learn how to be a Flight Attendant. For seven weeks, I moved into a dorm and learned more about first aid, security, airplanes, and airport codes than I even realized my brain was capable of retaining. Throw in some napkin placement and how to continue smiling when passengers forget how to act like humans, and you've the making of an exciting new career.

Never have I encountered so many beautiful people, so many white teeth, and so much charm. Never have I met so many boys that knew every lyric to every Jennifer Lopez song. Remember Tour Guide Barbie? Think of her, only a real person, and in a small village of hundreds of other people just like her. We smiled, we clapped, and we quickly grew tired of our training center uniforms.

I made friends from all over the world. I laughed with them, cried with them, ate southern fried food with them, and evacuated fake planes with them. We forgot what it was like having a home, a car, and a refrigerator that holds more than a single apple. We forgot what it was like to wear our hair down. Our sparse grocery store visits sometimes reminded me of the desperate children from Lord of the Flies. I remembered my dressing room meltdown and why I never wore khakis. Because they made me feel like the kid that got picked last for kickball.
And yes, I panicked and bought white strips.