A flight attendant’s suitcase is as a shadow in a land of forever sun, never far behind the click-click of heels that whisk the uniformed figure through one airport or another. Like a toddler that cannot leave a mother’s side, my bag is constantly within arms reach, never leaving my side. I’d like to say I’m a good parent. I’ve raised my dependent well. My bag is obedient and well behaved. It could stand to lose a few pounds, but my stuffing and shoving, cramming and slamming its open zippered mouth daily, can only be to blame.
I told my co-worker, and best friend, “I’m like a real flight attendant now!” “How do you feel about that?” Emily responded. “Ummmm…my bag is soooo heavy!! I don’t know if I like this,” I quipped with a slight frown, my little caravan, full of my work life and personal life, standing quietly by my side.
The I’m-a-real-flight attendant comment stemmed from the fact that until one month ago, in my short career, the only work trips that I had been assigned had originated and terminated at the same airport, my home base. Meaning, my crew bag was much slimmer then. Oh, and that I wasn’t “homeless” helped too.
This homelessness isn’t the real kind, but a bit of what I created. In an act to save pennies for travel, as almost everything that I do has wanderlust as an underlying motivation, I opted to be address-less for January and February. I affectionately refer to hotel rooms as “home,” and Emily has been quoted saying, “Kara! You are so homeless that you think even the floor is comfortable!” Yes, true. The fuzzied rug covering her linoleum has granted me more than a few well-rested nights.
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I have surprised myself at how well adjusted I have felt considering the circumstances. The credits to accepting my state of existence has to be less attributed to me, but more to the fact that I know the address-less-ness will end. When I had reached my limit in the realm of unsettled, I was welcomed with warmth by family in Alaska, or surrounded by friends in Hawaii and Oregon This granted me the security to say, “I can handle this for another week. It’s gonna be ok.”
I have missed the staples of a girl’s world; cute heels, having more than two outfits to choose from, and I really wish I had thrown some perfume in there somewhere. I laugh when I pull my only sweater out of my bag to see that my running shoes went running in my suitcase without me, the tread stamping black road grime on the pink piece of clothing. Oh, the dangers of living out of a suitcase!
My life is in that bag, and it’s exhausting having a shadow all of the time. I consider myself an independent female, but in no way can I ditch that bag! It’s like Los Angeles traffic; an unavoidable annoyance in the lives of any Los Ange-lite. I was the one that signed up for bag babysitting. It’s The Flight Attendant Life, and I live it to the gypsy extreme.
While in Portland last week, I took the light rail, and during the ride to downtown, a lady, obviously angry, and obviously crazy, serenaded the entire metro car with a commentary on her homelessness. Her husband didn’t support her by providing her with a home and she couldn’t believe that government would do this to her. After a few minutes of ranting, I knew beyond reasonable doubt that she was crazy, and when she disembarked at a stop 20 minutes later, I and everyone in the general vicinity also knew that she didn’t even own a suitcase, among other tidbits of information.
The staples of my life path at the present moment happen to include many airplanes, airports, and always the traveling companion of a suitcase. My homelessness is the good kind, the kind that means in a couple of months, the unsettledness may translate to needing a translator for that foreign country I hope to visit. I might just be able to go to Burma or Japan. And here is where I count my blessings, which are much more numerous than the suitcases in my life. The lady’s tell-all sermon reminded me of the good space that I am in; so able to pursue ANYTHING that I want, with so many opportunities within my reach. I am blessed that I live an existence that doesn’t actually fit into one suitcase, shopping cart, or sidewalk home when that is the lot of many.
So, baby bag, where are you, you Sweet Thing? We finally move into our Hawaii home. Bag will turn from toddler to teenager, and I’ll be able to leave her comfortably home alone sometimes.
Sigh of relief…