There are times when I really don’t like my job. Like last night.. When I spent hours upon hours in the Chicago airport due to weather delays. Some days it’s like you are consistently getting kicked in the pants. Our flight was due out at 8:00pm and we didn’t take off until 2:00 in the morning. The kicker wasn’t even the delay (well it was a little bit 😳)… The kicker would be the hundred and seventy passengers who got on the plane looking like I just kicked their puppy. I wanted to say, “Hiiii, so did you see me sitting out there next to you for the past five hours because I totally was.” I mean these peeps were just sitting there thinking I am Thor or something, and magically summoned up all of the weather just so I could have five beautiful hours sitting at the airport. Sorry to pop bubbles but I wasn’t born with that ability. It’s moments like that when I think about another life that I could be living now. A normal life. Where people don’t want to eat me like Wheatis for breakfast, and throw their trash at me, and try to blame me for the weather. Then… I think about Chicago.I never got what people liked about Chicago. Both of my roomies are from there and they are sworn Chicago lovers, but I just usually shrugged off their praise because they are natives who were clearly biased. I have even been there myself, through work of course. I would always be a little bummed when crew scheduling would call and say, “We have a trip for you. You will be overnighting in ORD.” I would think to myself, “Great, I have twenty four hours to spend at TJ Maxx (which hey TJ Maxx is life. But…not even I take 24 hours to go through TJ Maxx). At our old hotel that was literally all that was around (TJ Maxx, a Chipotle (Chipotle is life too), and an overly expensive Belk-like department store that nobody has ever heard of before. The Chicago that everyone knows and loves was nowhere to be found… lost in suburbia. That Chicago would make me into what flight attendants like to call a “door clicker.” I would shuffle into my hotel room, perform my regular security routine and check the closets, under the beds, and behind the curtains for intruders (you can never be too careful), then I would shut that door and stay in the whole night long, binging on Grey’s Anatomy. I would only leave the room for my daily run, and my regular trip to my beloved TJ for some retail therapy.
I got why people actually like Chicago on this trip. Not only did I get it, I experienced it. The airline that I work for just recently switched our hotel to a more central downtown location and I spent the whole day exploring. Chicago has bike share, which if you haven’t heard of it you should really check it out because it is crazy awesome, and many major cities have it now. Basically it’s a bike that you rent from a cycle station for a flat rate of around $9.00 for 24 hours. The only catch is that you have to “share your bike” and return it to a cycle station every 30 minutes or they charge you an extra few dollars. There are stations located all over any city with bike share, so returning it in time is never a problem. I rode my bike all over Chicago. I rode down the beach strip along Lake Michigan, around the harbor where all the boats are, and eventually made it to Lincoln Park, which stole my heart with its farmer’s market of locally grown food and artesian products, free zoo (yes free zoo!!), and botanical garden, which made me feel like I was in some sort of fairy-like fantasy.
It was a really nice day, And it was a nice reminder of why I am here, because in the midst of all the unglamorous parts of the flight attendant life it is easy to forget.
The bottom line is: my life is very hot and cold. Some days I want to run for the hills and never look back, and others I think I may be the luckiest girl in the world. An old friend once told me that when the bad outweighs the good it’s time to leave. Right now for me, even on my worst day the positive always seems to outweigh the negative. I get worn out by the monotony of the job, the cranky passengers, and the insane schedule, but spending a day getting to know a new city always pulls me back to my happy place. I know I won’t do this job forever, but for now I am where I am supposed to be.