I must have mentioned before that my least favorite part of my job is not dealing with difficult passengers. It’s dealing with difficult flight attendants. The passengers come and go, but when I work with someone that is difficult, I’m stuck with them for 3 days.
Usually the problem is laziness. It’s like pulling teeth to get certain co-workers off their asses to do anything. They just want to sit and read. Or worse, stand in the galley and talk about themselves. They’ll make sarcastic comments like, “Oooo, look at the super stew.” This is the response I get for answering a call button immediately instead of letting the passenger sit and wait and re-ring it several times. To their credit, they are so tuned-out that they didn’t even hear the call button. But, this wasn’t the problem with a male flight attendant who shall be known as Stinky.
Stinky falls into the category of flight attendants who have personal hygiene issues. Stinky is a nice guy. He really is. I have flown with him before and enjoyed it. Clearly, for Stinky, things have changed. On my way to the gate, I saw Stinky and didn’t even recognize him. His hair is grown out and rather unkempt. He has a beard. And the uniform… Oy. Ill-fitting and dirty. He was wearing slip-on athletic shoes that his roommate left behind, “They looked fine to me, so I took ’em. They did have an odd smell though…(chuckle, chuckle)”
And did they ever. Stinky was wearing what I can only assume were decades-old, white socks. I’m not sure if the smell was coming from the socks or the dirty brown shoes. But, he was completely unfazed by them. He insisted on crossing his leg with his foot pointing directed at me. Despite my vigorous fanning with a safety information card, he never seemed to get the clue. I like this guy, actually, and I just didn’t have the heart to practice my recent decision to be more direct. I tried. I just couldn’t tell him. What can I say, I’m a work in progress. That’s why I blog.
On top of the shoes, Stinky used an old-school brown hanky to blow his nose into and then stuff back into his pocket. He did this several times a flight. That is something my grandpa would do. I thought it was gross then, and now it just seems downright unsanitary. Although, considering that he picked his nose on the jump-seat and hocked loogies into the trash while he was pouring drinks, I don’t know why I didn’t expect him to also reuse the same hanky for three days. I mean, it only makes sense.
I totally forgot the best part about stinky. He cross-dresses. Talk about an interesting mix. He is an über-dude with a mountain-man beard, unkempt hair, poor hygiene, who likes to duct-tape his man-breasts together to make some cleavage and put on a fabulous pair of pumps. eh-hem. Nobody puts baby in a corner… or a box. Stereotypes be damned! Maybe this is why I like the guy. He just is. Take him or leave him. Although, that doesn’t mean he has chosen an appropriate career path.
My airline is in the process of changing our uniforms a bit. They are making the futile attempt of making the flight attendants look nicer. One of the changes is that we can no longer wear brown dress shoes, only black. Stinky informed me that he had a nice pair of combat boots at home that he probably was going to wear. They were black after all. Oh Stinky, he’s trying.