When I flew...and my woes

I wrote this five years and six months ago relaying some experience of being a flight attendant: (please be aware the following has been truncated for clarity and understanding)

I will start my 1st day of duty with home reserve* at 0400 followed by Airport Reserve from 0500 to 1400. As I am calling to check in** I am notified by scheduling that I have flying at 10AM.

*Understanding that people on airport reserve are there for emergencies, last minute things. While home reserves are for anticipated things, etc. So surely there is enough time to call someone who has home reserve. There are other times when I check in and I am told of a flight/trip that will start after my airport reserve is over. For example at 1517 and my airport reserve is till 1400. Yet I was notified of it at 0500.

**To 'clock in' you call a scheduler. Sometimes you get the same person everytime or various people. They are usually not in the same time zone as you. They may know next to nothing about being a flight attendant. They tell you where to go and what hotel you'll stay at--sometimes. If you have any problem/question/illness/mishap,etc. you contact crew scheduling. For all other queries you end up speaking with a flight crew supervisor which may or may not check you for complaince. Be it with regulations, appearance, cosmetic or anything else they think of. Talking to a scheduler may be a bore or literal hell. Also (they inform you) all your conversation are being recorded.

So I will go to this flight at 10 AM and upon landing at our destination I will be notified either via the pilots or otherwise that my trip has turned into a three day with a deadhead home.

*A deadhead is a flight that you will be taking as a passenger and not an employee. You do not get paid for it. However if the flight is overbooked or there are transfers you will not be a "deadhead." If this happens you stay whereever you are till you can be scheduled a flight back. Sometimes this can be an hour or two--a day even a week. It happened to me more than once.

Then on that 3rd day going to deadhead home I will again be notified that I am not to go home but to another flight. That it'll be one overnight* with a deadhead home after the leg.

Yet alas the day of, they tell me I must now go to another flight and overnight there. Then after 6 days have passed I am finally able to go home...and only because that is the (lawful) limit.

*an overnight is where you may(be) stay overnight in a hotel. Sometimes you're there for 6 or 8 hours. This time however starts when the plane lands. When the plane is taxiing, that is when your overnight begins. So if it takes you two hours to get to the hotel and your overnight is six hours--you'll be back in the plane in four hours.. As in when there is 59 seconds left of your overnight you are next to cockpit.

Then on various occasions when I have been assigned these flights (some of them literal minutes before my arriving on a previous flight or finishing up with a previous trip)

I will tell the scheduler that I need to eat, use the restroom, etc. I am told that they can't allow me to go eat but if I must, then to go as they cannot stop me. However they state to make it to the flight on time. Madonn.

Another occasion my car broke down on the side of the street as I was driving to work. It was three o' clock in the morning. I called scheduling 2 hours before my scheduled airport reserve at 0500 (as I had decided to leave early due to inclement weather--it was raining. DC traffic goes bezerk with rain.) I clearly told them that I was stranded. I was going to be unable to arrive at work.

I had to call a tow and anyone I knew was more than 35 miles away from the airport. --it was also 3AM! I may not get an answer from anyone. Whoever did had at least an hour drive in the rain and would be getting the beginning of rush hour traffic.

Despite having communicated that I was stranded and unable to go to work they told me to try my very best to get to the airport! Adding to my dismay they notified me of some flying they had added to me!

This two hours before my showtime and after telling them I was stuck on the side of the road!.

I told them I wasn't going to be able to make it.

They told me not to worry about it as the flight wasn't till 11PM!

I replied saying that I am on the side of the road and it's raining and that I hadn't been able to get in touch with anyone to take me to the airport.

Madonn. I feel like this was last week. Yet this was five year ago--almost six years ago!

I'm in a loop(?)

Every so often I feel like I'm in a loop. Like the film "Groundhog Day" is a factual thing for me. I'm not talking about day to day things of getting up, going to work, eating, etc. I'm talking about things outside of those. The ones that when they happen you go: "This happened to me..."

I have to move again. I just moved. Yet I have to move again. I think I move as steadily or even more steadily than someone in the armed forces.

I also have shoulder pain again. Its unnerving. I'm starting to plan to have pain, discomfort--like I am mentally paring myself for it. I didn't think I have to do this again--ever. It's going to be almost a year in a month.

I also had some extremely unfortunate cirucmstance occur--really extreme. I was in sabbatical for more than a week. I didn't come to my current place for days. I am not even the slight bit recooperated from the ordeal. It's still ongoing and I am unsure of how it'll end or what its final outcome will be. It really messed me up and it continues to do a number on me.

On that same note my shoulder surgery almost a year ago had some fallout situation transpire that messed me up pretty bad--It continues to do so. This said situation has me back to in the same situation of moving, anxiety, pain, that I was almost a year ago. I am currently in the process of rectifying but therein too lies so many questions marks--its' daunting.

I've only been gone from working overnights for less than a two years. However it feels like so much more.

I spent last night agonizing about my shoulder pain--ice pack on it and multiple pillows--I wish I had a sling.

There's so many things going on that I just want resolution for them. A resolution that is beneficial to me, because things can get resolved and the resolution of things ruin me.

The other day I was thinking about the time I was on the plane and the pilot called me on the emergency line. I calmly walked to the phone--unphased by the red blinking light that read: "Emergency." I pick up and he blurts, "get the cabin ready--15 minutes, get your tank." Click. I hung up the phone. I started the chronograph on my wristwatch and went from one end of the cabin to where my oxygen tank was. I opened the cabinet. I took out the green oxygen tank-- turned it on and slinged it across my shoulder--Placed the mask on my face. Most of the cabin was very much out of it with exception of a handful glaring at me. I picked up the intercom and began informing everyone that there was an emergency on the plane and instructed them on how to place their oxygen masks on. I relayed to them that I would be coming around the cabin demonstrating the brace position. The plane hit some trubulence--the fasten seat belt sign had already been on for some time now and people, some people were crying--shreiking, moaning, muttering but in that moment all complied. No one got up, no one asked me any questions.This all happened in less than five minutes. The hand on my chronograph ticked over to five minutes as I glanced down. I checked all the overheads--the bathrooms, the galley, secured the galley carts. The plane now began to dip. I felt like my stomach was in my brain and my brain was someelse.

I staggered over to my seat and strapped myself in as tight as I could and looked out in the cabin. Everyone was in the brace position. I began to daydream as I lifted my wristwatch my eyes--seven minutes...

Everything was shaking and the speed of the plane was increasing. I knew exactly what was happening. Eight minutes--the masks dropped.

The pilot was trying to get us to a safe altitude--It was right to have called him. I called the pilot because I heard the ominous whistling--the hissing of a dreaded insidious decompression. Of course I didn't know that at the time which is why I had called the pilot to inform of this and that I had witnessed some people whom seemed to be showing early signs of hypoxia. So I had a very educated guess. So when the pilot called me on the emergency line I knew of what could occur.

I breathed in. The pilot was on the intercom but I was focused. I had been in a car accident a couple months earlier where my car hydroplaned as I was coming to work and spun around three times before it hit the barrier of the road. I hoped that we didn't come in too hot or have an explosive decompression--crash. I thought of what I would have to do once on the ground. I knew we were not close to an airport so that was a concern. I breathed in heavy and glanced at my watch that seemed to have almost stopped. I said the Shema and Baruch Shem. Closed my eyes and exhaled as I got into the brace position. I opened them and began to reminisce about how I was hungry and how I would deal with this circumstance. It was clear pretty much after that. I had a cinematic moment--I thought it was pretty bad because it was in black and white--as in black white film. The last time that had happened I fell of my bike and was pretty bad. Everything was cinematic and in black and white. The plane was jerking, we were descending and I felt horrible. We were leveling out though. Luggage began to fall out of the overhead compartments and I could hear people screaming. The plane bounched and jolted back and more luggage waterfalled out and rolled everywhere.

I saw lights--I began to think of how much this may hurt. Then nothing...

I straightened out--"EASY VICTOR-EASY VICTOR!!" I heard over the intercom. I leaped up and opened everything--took the tank off and began barking instructions of: Get up, get out, leave items jump jump jump" as a throng of people began flowing out the plane. I began to get my hearing back as if someone was turning up the volume slowly and heard the sirens and people. After all had exited I jumped out too along with the rest of the flight crew.

That's when I started getting shaky, This is was a couple of weeks after the crash in Buffalo, NY and the whole flight 1549 from US Airways ordeal. So the thought of something horrible occuring was very vividly in my mind.

However the reason I write about this is due to the fact that this is but only one instance of my ordeal in a decompression. I had another one.

When things like this occur--I think: am I in a loop?
  • Current Mood

Spatial Awareness

I've always known that my sense of spatial awareness was slightly overtuned. Over the years however it has increased or maybe I have become more aware of it.

Whilst working as a Flight attendant I had three big in-flight emergencies. In all of them I was the one that sensed the apporaching change. In all three we had emergency landings. In one I kept feeling an odd sense of release of pressure. Sure enough almost all the passengers on the plane were asleep. However we were all in danger of hypoxia and the was the danger of slow decompression was setting in. I contacted the Captian and soon enough we were descending. He was able to confirm via the instrumentation that there was a problem. I had donned an oxygen tank across my bank and began giving instructions to the passengers on our emergency evacuation. I then had two instances of smoke in the cabin for which again an emergency landing was necessary and the plane grounded to wires shorting.

After each of these instances you tend to listen more and more to those 'gut' feelings.

I worked close to half a decade afterwards in law enforcement in corrections. It was here that my spatial awareness truly served me well and no doubt increased (or I was made aware of it) exponentially. I attribute this however due to the combination of stress brought on by the profession but also due to the sleep deprevation/exhaustation which I incured for so many years. I was never injured in a drastic way. I guess I could say possibly my shoulder. However you tend to be 'on' almost all the time. Ready to go. Things that would startle people or have them flinch did not. Adverse or intense situations did not necessarily elicit a fight or flight response, at least not in the way most people would have them. Oftentimes I was running into or placing myself in the middle of situation that could in fact harm me.

You learn how to read things most people don't pay attention to and make correlations many would not. It's all part of the job, that is to say if you intend on being successful. I left the job not because I didn't enjoy it but becasue of burecracy and lack of sufficent pay. The stresses that you subject yourself to on a daily basis almost quadruple. You learn to comparmentalize issues outside of the workplace because they impede you from performing those spatial awareness checks.

So here I am years later. Its almost been two years since I stopped working there and six months since my shoulder surgery. One of the things that upset me most whilst at work was the cracking and popping of my left shoulder. Then on the third day of my shift I would start getting that wretched, horrible, gripping pain that would not decrease. My friend had a nickname for my pain, Ali Baba. Because after I started getting the pain it opened up me getting irritable.

Yet here am I. No Ali Baba and no more working night shift. The spatial awareness is still here. I am always on.

You don't forget. You remember. It may lessen. So the sirens, the trains, the dogs, the cats oh, madonn how they bother me so.

Sometimes I miss having to put my spatial awareness on the front end.
  • Current Mood


I have to move again. The ills of renting are come nigh to me. Madonn. I want to get a house and I have one in mind. I wish I could get a Rocket Loan like Quicken Mortgage says.

On that note--ugh, mortgage: French for death pledge. This is what happens when you've studied languages. Words mean a whole lot more.

I wish I could buy it outright.

Can't wait to sell a property to be able to do that.

Come on Hashem.


Icing my shoulder has become my friend these last couple of months since my shoulder surgery. Prior it alleviated my soreness albeit whilst having the ice.

I just finished icing my shoulder. I still have soreness and aches...I guess I could call it. It's not pain per se and nowhere near what I had before but its very annoying.

The other day I slept on my left side for the first time in five months, if I am not mistaken. It felt amazing to do so, I slept so well. I felt fine till I woke up and my shoulder and outlying extremities were all weird.

I am beginning to use my shoulder more but I am still wary of using it. 
  • Current Mood

I'm Done with Feedly...?

Ever since Google Reader gave up the ghost I've been using feedly.

Since I've been using Linux on the chromebook I've been using QuiteRSS for my feeds. I've been missing a lot.

Yet I keep getting drawn back to feedly. Madonn.
  • Current Music
    Maggie's Farm ~ Bob Dylan


I've always loved print. I used to walk everyday (or at least try to) to buy the newspaper after school.

My parents would take me every Saturday to Crown Books so I could spend my allowance. When my mother went grocery shopping I would coax her to buy comics (Archie/Jughead, Sonic). I'd ask relatives to buy me books for my birthday.

When a door salesman came to our house selling Encyclopaedia Britiannica I begged my father to purchase them for me.

Recently I sought to buy an e-reader. A Kindle perhaps or a Kobo. I'm still thinking about...

Books--print are vaulable. I was just recently gifted a Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia. I had so desired to obtain it. I wanted to read it.

As an adult I have enjoyed going to used bookstores, thirft stores and flea markets to purchase books.

I can't do that with an e-book of any format. No matter how crisp or lightweight the e-reader may be.

I always get a thrill when I find a book like Brad Meltzer's "The President's Shadow" that came out June 2015 in a thirft shop for $3.00! Unscathed--pristine.

I'm eccentric. What can I say.

It's splendid. If people get tired of books. Just send them my way. I'll take them.