Frandy, Part I

11.12.2012

"I am so proud of myself - I only packed one outfit. My suitcase is so light for once!" - Me to Bryan, in an unfortunate example of foreshadowing.

I took the last flight out of CVG on Thursday night to head up to New York for three days of reserve.

I put on a sweater to make my uniform more discreet. I just wanted a quiet commute. I love talking to people, but sometimes I just want to read my book without a lot of questions. The flight wasn't very full. There was a seat between me and an equally quiet businessman.

Once we flight landed at LaGuardia and started to taxi into the gate, the man struck up conversation with me. He said he'd seen me before on the CVG - LGA flight. We discovered that we did opposite commutes. He lived in New York and worked in Cincinnati. 

As went our separate ways, he finished with, "I hope you make it home before Sandy hits."

"Sandy?" (One might think that in my profession I'd MONITOR THE WEATHER MORE CLOSELY).

"Yeah...the hurricane. It's supposed to be pretty bad."

expletive.

I tried to act normal and not reveal to him the chaos that was erupting in my brain as I started having visions of how terribly wrong my weekend would end up. 

We parted ways and I tried not to jump to conclusions about what would happen.

The next morning I sat in the lounge on standby at 5am. I was drinking coffee that was probably brewed in a shoe, and I was looking forward to being able to leave four hours later and taking a rip van winkle type nap.

NO SUCH THING.

At around 5:30a, scheduling called me and said "We have you flying to Parma shmince." That's what it sounded like, anyway. I asked her to repeat herself, and she said loudly: "Port-au-prince."

My dreams of getting down to my nappy roots were dashed.

So, I spent the day flying to Haiti and back.



It was raining there. It was really tiring, but it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. 

Highlights:

Leaving Haiti, I served a meal in first class. I asked each business passenger if they'd like chicken or pasta. One of the concerned patrons asked if the chicken was organic. I said, "This is a third world country are you seriously asking me that right now." I didn't really say that, but...

Also, an elderly Haitian man came to use the lavatory. He had kind eyes and I realized quickly that he couldn't speak English.

He stood quietly for a moment and then just said, "pee pee?" in a very tiny and hopeful voice.

That's all any of us ever need to know how to say.

Pee pee.

It's effective and universal.

After that long first day, I knew that I'd be able to sleep soundly for a few hours - but let's be real. The storm was coming and the airports were about to get very busy. 

Scheduling called me around 4 in the morning and assigned me a 2-day trip. It was basically a route up and down the east coast. I lovingly dubbed it 'The Hurricane Tour,' and held loosely to what our assigned itinerary was. When the weather gets crazy, the flight attendants get re-routed.

New York was eerily quiet but spilling over with anticipation. Bloomberg and Christie and Cuomo were all over the news telling people to evacuate. I think a small part of everyone wanted to call their bluff, because Irene turned out to be a storm some of us slept through.

Come what may, I was ready to seek shelter in the lavatory if necessary:


The day before the storm, we made it down to Orlando for the night. The weather was chilly, and I ate dinner at a place where the servers were dressed as zombies for Halloween. I was fine until there was a guy dressed as Hellraiser and then I wanted to run away. I went and saw Pitch Perfect. I cried - because that's what music movies do to me. I called Bryan and told him I was excited to come home.

The next day was my last day of the trip. As long as I could get out of New York, I would get to go home.

At least, that was the hope...