Category Archives: Flight Attendant

Oh, Granny!

Wow. So, I have a new experience to tuck into my belt. Yesterday I was pimped out by a grandma. Not my G-ma, as you may have read about, but from an elderly passenger on the plane. It was all so subtle that I almost didn’t catch on at first.

My loyal readers know by now that I love me some old people. Kids are cute, but I’d rather have an 85 year old any day. I can’t help it. And, I usually have them huggin’ on me by the end of the flight. In fact–side story here–there once was an elderly lady who poked my ass in that “sir, I need something” sort of way. I turned and asked her if she needed anything and she replied, “Oh no, I was just checkin’.” Oh, Granny! I kept my eye on that one for sure.

But, back to the granny at hand. We had the standard exchanges. She asked me several questions about myself. We shared the normal granny hand pats and kisses on the cheeks, and then she asked, “Do you ever get out to the east coast?”


“I’m from Greensboro, North Carolina, and my family is there too.”

“Is that close to Raleigh-Durham?”

“Yes. And I would like to give you this…”

This is the point at which she discreetly handed me the name and number of her grandson on a little piece of paper. Now, from previous conversations over several hours I understood that she had a “special” grandson. Of course, I speak “granny” so I know that “special” means “homosexual.” And since I also speak “Christianese,” I know that “homosexual” means “gay.” It can also be translated as “nelly queen” or “queer-o.” It just depends on the usage. Some days it really helps to be multi-lingual.

Maybe times are a-changin’. I never thought I’d see the day when a granny would try to set me up with her grandson. That final conversation happened just as she was getting off the airplane. I didn’t get the opportunity to tell her that I’m very happy with Jeff. I guess it doesn’t really matter. It was just nice to see a granny who loves her grandson so much. Maybe I’ll call my granny today.

Good Vibes

Today was totally a lesson in sending out good vibes. I worked with my all-time favorite captain. Her name is Jan, and she is absolutely wonderful. I want to be her when I grow up. She’s one of those obsessively optimistic and upbeat people that just seem to find the best in every person. When you talk to her you just can’t help but smile. It’s infectious. Yes, at first, she can be overwhelming. But, after awhile you see that it’s coming from a totally honest place. She really does want to brighten your day.

On the other end of the spectrum, I was also working with a flight attendant who had the complete opposite energy/vibe–totally icy and a mute, really. It made for a very interesting day. And it made me think, who am I or how am I? Do I make people wanna smile? Or, do I make people wanna avoid me? Do I brighten people’s day? Or, do I drag them down?

Hmm. That’s a tough one. Maybe I’m bipolar, but, I can easily go both ways. Some days I’m way up and some days I’m way down. I wish I had the persistent upbeat-ness of Captain Jan. I’m afraid, though, that I don’t. It doesn’t always come natural for me to be friendly and smile. I guess that’s why I created my mantra which I haven’t talked about for awhile, but still recite almost daily. Be kind, be generous, be honest…be kind, be generous, be honest. I don’t want to walk around with a scowl on my face so I also tell myself to “soften” my expression as I’m heading down the street.

It’s amazing to me that when you place a smile or at least a pleasant expression onto your face, it works itself inward. Some days I’m all bent out of shape over life and have to really force that damn smile onto my face. But, if I persist…eventually I feel better inside. I know that I’m sounding all warm and fuzzy today, but it’s true. Those who smile a lot and laugh a lot feel better on the inside. And I’m all for feeling better on the inside. It’s a slippery slope that leads downward toward being a total grump. You have to fight it–unless, of course you have a chronically happy disposition like Captain Jan.

So, that’s just a thought for today. Sometimes being happy takes work. You’ve gotta laugh and you’ve gotta smile. Don’t make me come over there and beat that smile outta ya. I will… and I ain’t frontin’.

Starbucks closing 600 stores…

I guess I should stop apologizing for admitting to thinking certain things. That’s kind of the point of my blog, right? I’m neurotic. Who isn’t, though? I think sometimes that people try too hard to appear like they aren’t neurotic. I say, embrace your neuroses!

OK. So, now that I have the formalities out of the way, I’d like to go on the record and state that I actually downloaded the PDF file of the list of 600 Starbucks stores that are closing. Not only did I download it, but I also went through the list to see which ones would affect me. I was relieved to see that only 2 were in San Francisco and both were downtown. Only 1 have I ever visited. I had my moment of mourning, observed a moment of silence, and am now trying to move forward in these difficult and trying times. I would like to thank you in advance for your condolences.

I couldn’t help but feel sad as I looked through the list and noticed that the good people of Hickville, NY, would be losing their beloved Broadway Mall Starbucks. They will now have to get their Starbucks’ coffee from the store that probably sits in the parking lot of the Broadway Mall. Or, possibly the one that is on the way to the Broadway Mall. These are trying times indeed.

It’s not that I love Starbucks. I actually prefer to get my coffee from H Cafe, which sits approximately 20 yards from my front doorstep. It’s a privately owned and operated coffee house/café with a lot of character(s), depending on how you look at it. But I travel for a living, and Starbucks at least provides me with a consistent cup of coffee while I’m on the road.

My home flight attendant base is at the Oakland International Airport. Up until about a year ago, there wasn’t even a Seattle’s Best or a Peet’s Coffee. Now out of nowhere, there are 4 Starbucks! 2 are open and 2 are soon to be open. This might not be a lot for say, LAX or Chicago O’Hare, but Oakland only has approximately 30 gates. Not that I’m complaining, it’s nice not to have to walk more than 50 yards to get to the closest Starbucks. And business seems to be pretty good for my OAK Starbucks, too. The other day the closest one to me had a line of about 30 people.

It’s nice to see that when God closes one Starbucks’ doors, He opens another.

p.s.- I kept the list…so if you are curious to see if one of your Starbucks is closing, just ask… 😉

The white guy.

I’m a white guy. More specifically, I’m of Scotch Irish descent, with just a scoop of German and Dutch. But, basically I’m a white guy. I know that even using the term ‘white guy’ will conjure up images of bad dancing and poor social skills–perhaps pocket protectors and thick eyeglasses. The term ‘vanilla’ may come to mind, too. Several dictionaries have described ‘vanilla’ as meaning regular, ordinary, with no special features. But, no matter what stereotype you throw at me, one fact remains: I am a white guy. My skin is so white, in fact, that I have occasionally been labeled ‘albino,’ or even called ‘powder’ (from the movie Powder; about an albino, of course). I’m not sure why people have found it necessary to point out my whiteness to me, as if I’ve never owned a mirror. But, today I am here to clear the air. I’m white, and I know it.

I burn really fast, too. It’s a problem, always having to avoid the sun. But, I’ve been this way all my life. As a child, I had white blond hair to go with my abnormally pale hue. My best friend growing up was a dark-haired Italian kid named Danny. He was as dark as I was light. More than one person made note of our ebony and ivory-like pairing. Many summer days we would spend an afternoon at the pool, only to come out darker (Danny) and redder (Moi), sort of like a strawberry and chocolate concoction.

In high school, I decided to take the universal advice I had received (and still do) from so many people: you just need more sun. Right, as if spending hours and hours in the sun without sunscreen would make me look like Danny–never mind the risk of skin cancer. But, nonetheless, I decided that’s exactly what I needed. So one very hot and very sunny day, Danny and I, with no sunscreen, went to a water park. This is when I discovered a very hard and necessary truth…

Sun + Tyler = >:-(

I had second-degree burns all over my back, shoulders, and chest. Despite having to sleep sitting up for a week, and blistering several times, when all was said and done, I was just as white as before. And, that was almost the last time I would try to tan.

I did have several other minor run-ins with a tanning bed and self-tanning lotion. But, for the most part, I realized I was going to have to be happy with the way I was. This didn’t mean, however, that people would leave me alone about my skin color. Just recently, I was sitting on the jump-seat with a co-worker who happened to be Mexican and very tan. He looked at me and then at himself and started laughing. Then he said, “Dude, you are so white.” Followed by, “Seriously, you need to get some sun.” Then, “Are you an albino?” He used just about every line I had ever heard in my life in the space of about two minutes.

Now, I’ve learned that the best way for me to deal this was just to ignore it and redirect the conversation. But, it wasn’t working. For two days he picked apart every part of my whiteness. And when he was done with my skin color, he decided to start dissecting why white people have no personality, no flavor… It was all way too much. This type of joking would have torn me apart in high school. I would have ended up in a corner rocking myself back and forth.* Luckily, it was just a two day trip. It would all end soon enough.

Later, I was talking to my friend Donna, who I was also working with, and decided to pull up my pant leg to show her just how white I was. And here is how Donna made my day: “Oh my God, boy, you have some serious calves. Can I touch them? I’ve wanted calves like that my whole life!” Of course, I immediately forgot how white my calves were and focused on their nice muscular shape. Then, I just simply hiked my pant leg up further to give her a better view. I replied, “…you like?”

*On a side note, there was one topic that did distract him for a short while–gay sex–I’m not sure why, since he is a straight man, but that seemed to captivate his attention. Actually, I have found that many ‘straight’ guys are rather interested in various matters of gay life.

Oh yeah, and here’s a little treat (or proof) for of all you who think white guys can’t dance…

Me on a delay.

I just love delays. I’m at the airport with my friend Donna and we’re just kickin’ back waiting for our flight. I thought I’d just share our happy delay faces! Donna has the best one liners, including my favorite: I’ve got a scoop of class, a scoop of sass, and a double scoop of ass! (cue the ass smacking) And then there’s: I have one of these so that I can get one of those! (point to crotch, then point to whatever it is that you want, i.e.-a man, a car, a hamburger…)