Jetlagged Life.

Year Two. Month Six. #SEA.

As I write this, I'm currently using a handful of napkins to soak up a bunch of water that I just spilled on my laptop. And my lap. And all over.

I'm tired.

These sorts of things seem to happen more often these days. I found a huge bruise on my leg that I think happened because I ran into something. I can't remember what day it is, ever. I woke up in my own bed last night and panicked because I didn't know where I was.

I've been working stand-ups, short layovers and back-to-back trips.

My brain feels fuzzy and I'm considering another nap, which is hard because I'm a commuter.

I've napped in my car more hours this week than I've actually slept in my own bed.

Welcome to my jetlagged life.

I usually wake up at 4:00am on days when I need to start a trip, leaving the house by 4:30. My boyfriend and I brave the two hour drive down to Seattle, keeping each other awake with NPR and traffic updates. Once in Seattle, I drop Tim off at work and park my car in the parking garage behind the cafe he works at. Depending on traffic and when I have to be at work, I sometimes just recline my seat and take a nap.

When the time rolls around I drive another half hour to the airport and park in the employee lot. The employee lot bathroom has become my "getting ready room," where I wearily put on my uniform and try to fix my make-up. Once I've determined that I don't look half crazy, I board the employee shuttle bus and take a ten minute ride to the airport, hoping I haven't forgotten anything in my car.

At the airport I go through the Known Crewmember entrance and find our tiny crew lounge. I check work e-mail, print out memos and make sure my manual is up to date. I check on the status of the aircraft I will be working on and cross my fingers for a random cancellation or delay.

No such luck.

I like to get to the airport nice and early. If I find myself with time to spare I curl up in "my corner" of the airport and treat myself to a coffee or tea. Sometimes, I pull out my computer and write a little, or just stare out the window. Airports are more than just a place of work for me, they are my second home.

Twenty minutes before boarding I head over to my gate and check in with the agents. I get paperwork, get verified and head down to the aircraft.

Now here's where the magical, unexplainable thing happens: although I battle exhaustion during the day, once I am on the airplane, I feel this energy come over me. I get excited to be there, happy to set up my little office in the sky. I arrange my water bottle, hand sanitizer, announcement book and assortment of pens. I make coffee and get ready for first class passengers if I am working the first class cabin. I arrange seatbelts and check all the emergency equipment. I chat with pilots. I confer with the other flight attendant. I sip my coffee and smile.

It's showtime.

And then they're out of the gate, sixty-some passengers streaming onto the aircraft, fuzzy-headed, exhausted, panicked from security and close connections. I welcome them and help them find their seats. I gently remind them of the rules (sometimes I have to remind them several times) and make sure we are ready for take-off.

I forget my exhaustion and jetlag.

Take-off, service announcements, service, water, coffee, clean-up, restocking, prelanding announcements, cabin sweeps, landing, welcome to, deplaning. The flight whizzes by.

And suddenly it's over and I'm in some new city, on my way to the hotel.

I settle down into an unfamiliar (but not uncomfortable) bed and my eyes close immediately, hungry for sleep.

Seemingly only seconds later, it is four in the morning once again, and it's time to do this all over again.

And again. And again.

Days later I end my trip (or my series of back-to-back stand-ups as I've been working this week) and arrive back in Seattle. My uniform feeling a little less crisp, my feet screaming for relief, I get back to my car in the employee lot. I check traffic on my phone and get ready for the two hour drive back up north to my little island home.

NPR updates me on what I've missed this week, and a quick stop for a late evening coffee helps me keep focused on what awaits me on my days off: My cat. My boyfriend. Home.

The sun is setting as I drive across the bridge that takes me to my island and I sigh, rest is so close.

I pull into the driveway and the light comes on. I see my boyfriend walking towards me to help out with my suitcase and my cat meows loudly as if to demand to know where I've been.

I've been everywhere. But now I'm home.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts