Monthly Archives: May 2009

Swine Flu

Around the peak of the swine flu hysteria, I engaged in the slightest kerfuffle on Facebook. A guy from high school had left a status update concerning swine flu. It connected the phrases “swine flu”, “left wing media” and “blah blah blah”.

Now, was it overblown, was it not? I don’t know. And I have to tell ya, I don’t really care. I’d rather it be overblown than under. (Once you decide it was underblown, it’s really too late, isn’t it?) And anyway, given my job, for me it is not overblown. But I do understand that not everyone is in my position. However, this guy used obvious language that was about turning it into a political snipe fest, which I just can’t stand. I mean puh-lease. Can’t something not be about you and your dislike of the other political side? That kind of crap drives me crazy.

So I responded to him, saying yes, I’m sure it was a left-wing conspiracy. And when I was on the plane working across the ocean with 200 people from god-knows-where 3 times a week, I could protect myself with the magic words “blah blah blah” and know that everything would be alright. He private messaged me saying “Um, I’m not sure if you’re on my side or not. But I think you were being sarcastic.” Bingo.

So now, several weeks later, the drama of swine flu (or Mexican Flu, as they call it in much of Europe) has subsided. On Wednesday I flew to Brussels on a 757. (On that new single-aisle charmer of an airplane that my company has decided they are going to cram people into and fly them across the ocean, even though it was never meant to fly inter-continental so everyone is eating elbows and getting angry – including the crew? Yes, it sucks as bad as it sounds, but I digress…) Got there on Thursday morning, had a great layover just relaxing, writing, then meeting my friends Amy and Matt and Pieter for dinner. Bright and early Friday morning I arrive at the airport, am greeted by some company friends who are always working the flights. “Sarah, I have a letter for you.”

“For me?” I love mail.

“For you.”

I open it up…”Dear Crew member XXX, We have been informed by the Belgian crisis center that a passenger you carried from JFK to BRU on Wednesday night has been confirmed to have the N1H1 virus…”, blah blah blah, “you have been exposed…”.

Well, that is just awesome.

The jackass who had it must’ve known s/he was sick on Wed night, if they were tested and confirmed by Fri morning, but we noticed no one who was ill. The letter doesn’t even tell us what class of service the germ-spreader was in, so I have no idea how much contact I had with him/her. I think the chances of me getting it are slim (knock on wood), but wouldn’t you know that my new baby niece is headed my way this week?

My company is apparently not worried, as they offered nothing more than Tamiflu IF I become sick within 10 days. (As long as I have my letter as proof, of course. They’re so caring.) I’d think if it was a big concern then there would be motions to keep exposed crew from the public, since we’re the people who will really spread it around the world. Gosh, I hope I remembered to say the magic protective words sometime during the night. Maybe I should say them now, just in case. “Swine Flu, blah blah blah.”

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Celebrity Sighting

I have a particular talent – for not noticing when someone, er, noticeable is right in front of me. I could be sitting on a bench with Julia Roberts and I’d walk away without even realizing.

Of course, we also get celebrities on the plane. I have seen relatively few as I’ve never worked the NY-LA nor the NY-London route regularly, which is where they all are to be found. To Paris, of course, we mostly get models and, what’s more, over the last howevermany years, fewer and fewer celebs took public planes, as it became de rigueur to charter private ones. But the bad economy seems to be bringing them back to First Class and even I have seen them now. Two in one trip!

On this trip to London I had Eva Longoria. True to form, I was standing at McDonald’s right next to her without even noticing. Her entourage even spoke to us. A nice guy said, “Hey, are you going to London?…We are too! See you down there!” I his cheerful chatter and then went on my way to the plane. Then a colleague approached and said, “Can you believe how small Eva is?” I had no idea what he was talking about and swore up and down there was no way she’d been standing right next to me. But when I looked back from afar, there she was. Small enough to appear further away then she really was.

I don’t personally care about celebrities per se. I’d never go talk to them or pay any special attention (in fact I probably come off as pretty snooty as I make a point of not fussing over them), but it is kinda neat to spot them from time to time. I did, however, go say hello and shake the hand of Kofi Annan, out of an obviously different sort of respect/interest.

Eva and her friends were very nice. She was quite pretty in real life (more than expected as I’ve never particularly understood the fuss over her) and boy, was she tiny. Not “thin” tiny (though she is of course) but I mean tiny tiny. I’m only 5’4 but she made me feel like a giant. When she got off the plane, she had on towering heels. (No wonder they are escorted to their own exit – she couldn’t possibly walk all the way to customs in those things like the rest of us!)

Then on my commuter flight home to DC, I boarded the plane to find my seat…right past John Lithgow. I couldn’t believe that I had noticed! So that makes 2 celebs in one trip. Plus, Keifer Sutherland from last month and wow – 2009 has already set a record for me. I guess the economy really is bringing people “down” to First Class. So far, none noted in Business Class. That would be an economic trend to note.

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Who has time to be married?

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When I got back from my last trip, I had one night home. Usually I’m too tired to go out after a work day, but my day had been sooooo rough and I was so eager to spend some time with my new husband that I agreed. What we discovered is that you can order a bottle of champagne to share at the restaurant next to our place for only $25. So we sat outside together and got quite tipsy. That was a fun first married date!

But that’s been our only real time together since the wedding! Since returning home it’s been nonstop. I have had only 1 whole day here since I left for England (2 weeks prior to the big day). My first trip back, my dad met me in Paris after his own travels, which I was really excited about. He hadn’t been there in 17 years, and he had a great time just soaking in the smell of it all, so to speak. We basically took a tour of the most expensive coffees in Paris. (Try Cafe Georges, for example, on top of the George Pompidou Center. It’s a place where the all the waiters and waitresses wear tiny black rags for clothes and surely carry modeling portfolios. Aside from that entertainment, the view is the best in all of Paris. It better be, considering we paid $30 for 2 coffees and a dessert that consisted of 5 spoonfuls of strawberries and cream.)

Then I worked to Brussels (on the 757 -yuck! Flying a single-aisle plane for 8 hours is not a great idea. Expect an uptick in air rage incidents – from the crew!) and after that I also went to see a dear friend graduate from Duke and got to visit with my 8-week-old niece. Who’d have known kids could be so addictive? (At least when you can still opt not to wake up to feed them throughout the night…) I hated not to be spending time with my new husband but at least I got to see my sis for her first Mother’s Day. That being said, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you awesome mom’s out there (a little bit late but just as sincerely).

We’re finally choosing photos from the photographer. I don’t have posting rights for those yet but here’s a couple from our own files.

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The surprise of the night – the abbey interrupted our dinner to “say goodbye” to one of their chefs who was moving home to Italy. She said a few humble words and finished off by bursting into song! A half hour show ensued of everything from opera to ABBA; they had me crying and laughing. My in-laws sure know how to throw a surprise!

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View from our room. Might as well have been on our honeymoon….getting married is fun. Are you sure I can’t opt to do it again?

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Highs and lows

When I turned 20 I was living in France for my study abroad. It was already then concluded to be the best year of my life. It’s hard to describe why, other than feeling like the world was made up of fellow 20-year-olds, situated on the beach of Southern France, inhabited by people that I thought were the coolest ever, and they seemed to feel the same. Everyone was interesting, smart, attractive, fun, interested in the same subjects, learning the same things together. It was like living with all of your best friends ever in one place, one without worries.

How depressing that was. My 20 year-old-self thought, “How can I live a happy life, knowing the best year is over!? Now I have to live 60 years (should I be so lucky) trying to not to look wistfully back.” Eventually I came to terms with that (I mean, after all, isn’t that the very definition of being 20? Thinking in dramatic terms that life could never be so good.)

Well, I am pleased to announce to my 20-year-old-self that my year in France has met its match in the wedding. Surrounded by people that I think are just the best, all of whom have gone through a lot of trouble to show up and demonstrate that they feel the same, all meeting each other at long last to make the connections I’ve long wished could be made – it’s the same as study abroad was. Sadly we couldn’t invite everyone we’d have liked, and it only lasted for days. But hey – at least we dragged it out that long! That’s the place that I wish Del and I could move to (you know, the place where all of our loved ones live. All together.)

Similarly, it seems cruel that we are now at home and – aside from the mess of suitcases and some boxes just waiting to be opened – it’s almost like we never left.

Everyone tells you that your wedding will go by in a blur. To take it easy, take a breath, soak it all in. Well, guess what? It’s nice advice, but it doesn’t help at all. Time is the trickiest of forces. You can pay close attention all you like, but he won’t be slowed or sped. He’ll bring everything you’ve waiting for, but he also promises to take it away. What a thorny friend.

My sweet sisters and best friend all seemed to have the post-wedding blues for me. I’m hoping they have taken the bullet in my place and that I can avoid the sadness that comes when most of the people you love most in the world have come together and thrown a big love-fest for you and then gone home. Like before, they’re now spread again to the 4 corners of the globe. I just can’t wait for the next wedding. Sister – you’re next up!

P.S. No wedding photos yet. We’re waiting, waiting…

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