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Bond for a lifetime

lifetime-bond2 It was 1983 when I was studying chemistry and ran completely out of money. The local airline was recruiting  flight attendants – beautiful, nice manners, good education and all the other amenities that you can find in an ad where the supply curve is steeper than the demand curve.

I applied without expectations of getting the job. When I saw my competitors I was puzzled, I’ve never seen so many beautiful and arrogant Viennese women on one place in my lifetime.

The selection process was tough and the whole thing finished with 5 people selected out of 550. I got the job and couldn’t still believe it. Imagine, a thousand women working together, it’s like stepping into a snake pit full of cobras, really aggressive cobras. Or in a pool with hundreds of piranhas who did not eat for a month. The job was wonderful; it seemed to me like I have to pay to have this job. Stops in Mombasa, Larnaca and Maldives and the best shopping spots you could ever imagine. I loved that job. The money was great, so great that I stopped studying for a while and enjoyed having 200 pairs of shoes and 3 boyfriends at the same time, while planning all my trips and spending time with my friends. You will have only friends from your job, as in this age no one will cope with your lifestyle and you do not want to be bothered with the mediocre attitude that only slows you down. The women you are friends with are tall, beautiful and nasty, and they can choose everything, and I mean really everything. I adjusted pretty soon in this new life and I shared my boyfriends with 5 others and when I dated someone from outside of the community, meaning someone that has not been going out with one of my friends, 500 women checked on him and had an opinion.

We were jumping down from the roofs of Bahrain, directly into the swimming pool and played tennis in the dark night in Mombasa. We toured safaris and attended every other wedding with big fancy hats; we lied to each other about our weight and never ever thought that this wonderful life will end ever. Please do not let me wake up from this dream, dear god, it is too good to be true.

In the meantime, when we were not shopping at Saks New York or in Tokyo, we had some work to do. And there is the key, this little work was it. Being a flight attendant at this time meant you work, 15 hours and for 160 passengers, there are 4 girls who have to manage everything. While you are stuck in the middle of the cabin, surrounded by 40 wild animals that are hungry and ready to kill, you ring the bell and depend on the supply being sent by your fellow colleague at the galley.lifetime-bond3

Your work must be fast, precise and professional. And if one of us was slow or fell behind, we had to back her up in order to not let the entire system collapse. We cured million cigarette burnings (believe it or not, smoking was allowed at that time), thousands of fainted passengers from low sugar or excitement, heart attacks and we even had people who died on board.

We needed to be professionals and it was our absolute duty to serve and to be on time. Every little detail was so that in case each of us did not perform it was to the disadvantage of the other 3. You learn to rely and to be reliable. You must be honest and able to have a joke when others are breaking apart. You are the last person who can show how afraid you are. You are the one that everybody is looking at when the plane is shaking from left to right and the lightning is burning alongside your wings. You want your passengers to feel good, this is what they deserve and this is why we are who we are, after landing we can (and we did) cry over our fear but during the flight we were there, strong like a rock.

And today we’ve met as every year, time has passed and all of us are not anymore the young girls that used to jump down the balcony to be the first ones in the pool, we are mothers, friends and globalized people who take care of ourselves, most of us look younger because our mind is young, they pay you a visit in Beijing and we schedule a meeting for next Sunday 11:00am at the mandarin oriental tea lounge. We are there, we know how to get there, we can now afford it, we are still crazy and we have lots of fun when we see where we are standing now.

Everyone is onto something different, in my case, I’ve learned so much from this job and from the beautiful women with whom I have a linking bond for life. It doesn’t matter how long we do not see each other, a small kiss on the cheek to say hello and the good old times are instantly back, the phone rings when I need to know where I can buy the red Chanel shoes in New York. We are jealous on each other and we gossip but we never ever let anyone of us down, never. We lost some of us when death knocked on their door and we helped them and cheered them up while crying without them. It made us strong and really alive. My friends know everything about me and they are there for me, when there is a marriage or a broken heart, they come with support and millions of advices, advices that come from clever and beautiful women, who always worked hard in their life and managed everything, but most important: They managed to be always special in everything they do.lifetime-bond1

So I close this blog that I dedicate especially to Iri, Gaby, Sylvia, Eva and Gretl with the story of one of us, the one who ran into the galley where I was preparing for the flight when the passengers boarded. Her face was white and as she closed her eyes, she whispered “My husband just boarded the airplane with our beautiful neighbour. “ And then she continued “And I told him that I am at my mother’s place, but my boyfriend is sitting in row 19

I was not sure if I should laugh or cry. So I decided to laugh and helped out by serving her husband his meal. Surprisingly he was not hungry and when it came to divorce, we told our friend that it is not her fault and we are all on her side. Life is wonderful when you decide to stay a little bit crazy.

Lots of love


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