I looked at myself in the mirror. I looked tired. I was much too young to feel old at 26. I was tired though. Not only was I tired of this job, I was tired enough to lay down and sleep for two days. I checked my makeup and pinched my cheeks. It was showtime and I was due on stage. It was hard work and long hours and I no longer loved it like I used to. I took a deep breath and heard an inner voice telling me to hurry. I opened the lavatory door and took my spot on “stage”. It was my turn to talk already. Cindy waved and mouthed the word, “GO!” to me. I began to speak.
“Welcome on board Flight 3462 to San Francisco. Our aircraft is under the command of Captain Sayers. He has informed me that our flying time will be approximately 3 and one half hours,” I mindlessly spewed out to the passengers over the microphone.
I continued, looking down the aisle, watching all the uninterested faces, “While we are here to ensure that you do have a comfortable trip with us today, we are also concerned about your safety. With that in mind, we ask that you take the Safety Information Card out of the seat pocket in front of you and follow along as we perform our safety demonstration.” No one does that I can see. Oh well, it’s their funeral I guess.
Knowing that only four or five people might give a shit, I felt like telling them to have a nice flight and skip the “Speech”. But since I have to, I went on, “Your seat belt has been designed for easy fastening and release. To fasten, insert the metal fitting into the buckle, adjust to fit snugly with the loose end of the strap and simply lift the buckle release to unfasten. Your seat belt should always be worn low and tight across your lap.” Across your crotch. Squishing your junk, fellas.
I stifled a huge yawn and prolonged the agony as my team demonstrated my words, “You are on board a 747. There are ten emergency exits, five doors on the left and five doors on right, each marked with a red EXIT sign overhead. All doors except the overwing doors at 3 left and 3 right are equipped with slide/rafts. These rafts may be detached in the event of a water evacuation. The overwing doors are equipped with a ramp and off wing slide. Life rafts are located in pull down ceiling compartments at the overwing doors. For our customers on the Upper Deck, your escape route will be down the staircase, and out the first available exit. In the event that the staircase is blocked, an additional door with an evacuation slide is located in the cockpit. Operation and use of the exits, slides and rafts are illustrated in the safety information card. Please locate the two exits nearest you, keeping in mind that the closest exit may be behind you.” I always laugh at that. Well, I laugh at the whole speech. Who doesn’t?
They knew a “water evacuation” was a joke, right? I went on to explain lighting to those who might have been mentally handicapped, “This aircraft is equipped with aisle path lighting which is located on the floor in the left and right aisles. Should cabin visibility be impaired, the exit path will be illuminated. White lights lead to red lights which indicate you have reached or are near an emergency exit location.” Remember this during a water evacuation? I didn’t think so.
Although I wish the oxygen masks were full of laughing gas, I wasn’t allowed to say that. So, instead I explained, “The cabin pressure is controlled for your comfort. However, should it change radically inflight, oxygen compartments will automatically open in the panel above your seat. Reach up and pull the mask to your face. This action will start the flow of oxygen. Place the mask over both your mouth and nose and secure with the elastic band as your Flight Attendant is demonstrating. Tighten by pulling on the ends of the elastic bands. Even though oxygen is flowing, the plastic bag may not inflate. If you are traveling with children, or are seated next to someone who needs assistance, place the mask on yourself first, then offer assistance. Continue using the mask until advised by a uniformed crew member to remove it.” Save yourself first. Always important.
Yeah. Right. I knew their god would be the only thing they’d be thinking about and he wasn’t going to save them in the event of a crash. We all die. But I digressed. I shouldn’t have been thinking my atheistic thoughts while preparing people for a possible “loss of cabin pressure”.
I was getting super fucking bored of this speech by now, but what’s scary is that I could say it in my sleep, “Your individual life vest is located in a pouch beneath your seat. Should its use become necessary, remove it from the plastic packet, pull the vest over your head and pull down on the front panel. Bring the strap around your waist and insert it into the buckle on the front. As you exit the aircraft, inflate the vest by pulling down on the red tabs. Use of the life vest is fully illustrated in the information card.” Which no one read.
Coming in for the home stretch I felt like feeling myself up, boobs and all, while continuing just to see if anyone was watching still. My team was watching, so instead I continued, “In preparation for takeoff, please ensure that your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright and stowed positions, your seat belts are securely fastened and all your carry-on items are securely stowed. Federal Aviation Regulations require customers to comply with the lighted customer information signs, other posted signs and crewmember instructions. Please observe the FASTEN SEATBELT and other lighted signs until they have been turned off by the Captain. The NO SMOKING sign will remain illuminated for the duration of the flight and smoking is prohibited throughout the cabin and in the lavatories. All lavatories are equipped with smoke detection systems and Federal Law prohibits tampering with, disabling, or destroying these systems.”
Federal law, motherfuckers. “Thank you for your attention. We will be airborne shortly.”
I hung up the mic and hoped for a round of applause. There was none. Fuckers. I’d had enough. I wanted this to be my last flight as an attendant. I didn’t really care what came next. I just wanted someone to save me. I felt like I was losing my mind.
We arrived on the ground hours later. After saying “Goodbye!” and “Thank you for flying with us!” dozens of times, including one drunk guy that gave me an unexpected hug and tried to grab my ass, I was almost ready to go home. I finished up my duties and checked out with everyone, walking to the parking garage alone.I sat in my car and a wave of emotion came over me. I cried. I couldn’t figure out why I was crying. But that just pissed me off. Then I was angry crying. And that made me giggle while crying. So now I’m laughing with tears streaming down my face. I was a mess. I screamed and slammed my hands against the steering wheel. I took a few deep breaths and started the car. Fuck this, whatever it was. I was going home.