Scandinavian Charm

It’s an inexplicable yearning, a quest for one continent. It doesn’t matter where— Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Copenhagen or Stockholm. And I have so many more cities to explore, but I absolutely love Europe.

IMG_1847.JPGLooking at my travels, it’s roughly every six months that I get an urge to hop the pond and breathe in the sights and sounds of languages not my own. I revel in the struggle to pick through signs and navigate metro systems. Because I have almost no extended periods of time off work, I usually have to cram an entire city into three days or less; it’s always funny to see the shock on locals’ faces when they ask how long I’m visiting. “Just a short stay?!”

Europe is a romantic continent, and I certainly have an attraction to it for that reason— it seems that every time my heart flutters, I escape to the old world to figure things out. It just so happened that this time, I was returning to the homeland of Scandinavia, specifically Sweden, after a particularly interesting wedding weekend.

If you haven’t caught on, I’m part Swedish. An 1/8th, maybe 1/16th, I’m not quite certain yet. Out of all of my ancestry, that’s the most interesting nationality (sorry England and Germany or whatever countries make me a mutt). Therefore, I have an affinity for the language and culture, however cold and biting they may be.

This was my first visit to Copenhagen and third visit to Stockholm. The quick day I spent in Copenhagen, I did what I always do when I travel solo: walk. I take a look at the map, see where I might want to go, and I let my feet do the rest. That allows my brain to relax and recharge, all the while doing something productive. My first stop was The Marble Church, or Frederiks Kirke. I’m not religious, but I do like taking a few moments to step inside and feel a moment of quiet. I left and walked along the water to find the Little Mermaid, perhaps the most hyped monument in the town. It was neat, but it was just a statue. I walked through an old, yet still active, military installation shaped like a star; the leaves had just started to change in mid-October, a coolness permeated through the glow of a sun that wouldn’t quite make it high enough in the sky— my perpetual mood.

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The rest of the day, I took a nap once my room became available. Then I ventured out into the night to find a kebab, the pinnacle of European junk food. I went to a prison themed gay bar— which isn’t as raunchy as it seems— and met a cute and friendly Italian couple. Copenhagen is the standard of a Scandinavian city: clean, straightforward, and expensive. But my heart is in Stockholm.

The next morning, after a short hour flight with SAS, I landed in “hemlandet,” or The Homeland. At this point, I’m an expert at finding Flygbussarna, buying my $12 ticket to the city center, and relaxing for a 45 minute journey from the airport to T Centralen.

IMG_1878Aside from my familial ancestry to Sweden, my other connection to Stockholm is my cousin Sarah and her husband, Fredrik, and their two bambinos. Fredrik runs FlightRadar24, a flight tracking website and app that has found much popularity around the world. I got the tour of their posh headquarters, studded with aviation relics and modern workplace gizmos— even a treadmill and drink station á la Google. The coders were friendly but short, giving me smirks as they continued to hack the world via aviation.

Later that evening, in a quaint Swedish restaurant named Eriks Bakficka, Sarah gave me tough love. As I recounted my recent romantic endeavor, she called bullshit on fronts I was attempting to smooth over— lovingly, of course. In so many words, her advice about any relationship was this: it should be clear, it should be relatively simple, and it should not be complicated. “Making sense” and checking boxes on shared interests is settling. Love should be explosive and dramatic as the best pan-seared duck breast I was eating.

IMG_1893IMG_1901I let this advice sit with me over the next day as I strolled through my favorite part of Stockholm, Gamla Stan. The bright colors on a cloudy fall day gave me the hideout I needed as I wound through the windy streets. I stopped in for a fika at a coffeeshop, blessedly without WiFi. I ended up at Vasamuseet, a museum showcasing an ancient warship that had sunk in Stockholm. In the dark recesses of the exhibits, I did my best thinking and drafted up what I would convey. The Vasa could be a metaphor for my love life: deep-seated feelings that sailed for a brief moment, sinking to the sea floor but preserved by cold, pure waters— only to be resurrected hundreds of years later and admired from afar. I should start charging admission.

Sarah and I had thrown around the idea of going to another museum for the evening— but I was museum’d out and just wanted some family time. She cooked me a fabulous but simple traditional Swedish meal with dill and crayfish. We sat around the kitchen with her kiddos until it was time for them to do regular life stuff— I made my way to my room across town and got ready for the long flight home in the morning.

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I thought this retreat to Europe would reveal clarity through the cobblestone, as if my ancestors would whisper wisdom through the channels and fjords. But actually it was a real life family member, staring me down, pursing her lips, and giving me the truth I absolutely needed with so much love.

 

Soundtrack:

Säg mig var du står – Carola

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Getting SASsy on SAS!

Once in a while, the nonrev gods shine down upon me— even with foreign carriers. After a quick traipse across the homeland, I took Scandinavian Airlines from Stockholm Arlanda to LAX— 11 hours of pure bliss.

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With my flight benefits via my company, we have a ticketing agreement with global carriers called ZED: Zonal Employee Discount. Fares range based on distance and the type of agreement. It helps in a pinch for last minute gaffs when American carriers fill up, or even taking advantage of routes that we can’t access via our direct flight benefits. It just so happens that my company has an agreement with SAS that allows us to list in business. Other times, we might be able to bribe a gate agent for an upgrade— but more often than not, we’re in steerage. It’s still fine, because these seats, while subject to space available as any nonrevenue flight, cost around $50-$150, depending on the carrier and distance. I’m not complaining.

Honestly, I didn’t expect to get business— I’m the lowest of the low when it comes to priority. I’ve flown before and listed in business to no avail. So far in my life, I’ve experienced Delta One, United Polaris, and now SAS Business. Disclaimer: I’m giddy about any sort of business experience, so don’t expect me to be picky; although, I do have opinions.

My initial reaction was first and foremost that I actually got up front. Seated in seat 7H, I had a window view on the starboard side of the aircraft. My window placement was a bit awkward, but I wasn’t all that interested in watching the ocean. I got settled, and the flight attendant offered me a glass of champagne— standard issue for most international business seats, but lovely nonetheless.

I have to take an aside and explain my normal routine for long-haul flights: I settle in, get a bit liquored up, watch a romcom with Meryl, Diane Keaton, or any other iconic queen, and have dinner. I usually try to watch a blockbuster, one that I haven’t seen in theaters, as I get ready for bed. Then after my nightcap, I try to get sleep— this combats jet lag and gets use out of the lie flat seat. Morning comes, I eat breakfast over a classic film (Casablanca, All About Eve, etc.) and get ready for the day.

This was no different, mostly.

On the taxi, I geeked out as I saw the passenger to my front and left switch to a screen with a camera of the aircraft— I was too busy picking out a movie to watch (Chappaquiddick, which was odd to say the least). Luckily, I caught it just in time before we rolled onto the runway and blasted into the sky. I know I do this for a living, and I know I’ve seen this view over a thousand times— but what a different perspective as a passenger!

We drifted toward the north pole, and I settled in even more, when the food and beverage started flowing.

The first course started out with warm nuts and a beverage— I chose the Wing Pin beer, purely for the label. But I was wowed by the flavor. It’s a sour beer, which I don’t normally drink beer, let alone sour ones. Next up was the appetizer: moose salami with pear and mascarpone. Like, you can’t get more Scandinavian than that. Never having had moose salami, I was delighted— robust yet slightly gamey, but it was mellowed out by the sweetness. Onto the meat and potatoes: that’s exactly what I had. It was roast beef with chanterelle mushrooms and lingonberries— again, so delightfully Scandinavian; my DNA was quivering! I finished with a blueberry crumble cake with crème fraiche and a cup of coffee.

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After dinner, I presented the crew with the cookies in my bag that I had forgotten— a small token of appreciation for their hard work, crew to crew. Even on my comparably shorter routes, I love it when people bring treats. It makes the day just a little bit better. I chatted with one flight attendant, the one in charge of the food. We talked about her work history— over 30 years in the industry, first at Gulf Air and then SAS. A Stockholm resident, she showed me her gorgeous house, and we talked about my connections to the country. She got super excited and flipped to FlightRadar24! “Dis one? Oh, ja, I use dis all de time!” she recounted to me in her beautiful accent. “And your cousin, she married a Swede? Good job.”

A First Officer came out for crew rest, and the FA tapped me on the shoulder to talk to him. We chatted about the industry and the plane itself— this happened to be his fourth to last flight before retirement. We both had similar mindsets about working: fly hard until it gets too much, and then take time off. Or at least that’s my approach. I love the job and flying the actual airplane, but sometimes, it becomes a job. It’s at that point when I have to step away and live life, i.e., gallivanting through Europe for a few days.

And then I conked out for six solid hours. I didn’t plan on it— I wanted to catch up in my journal, read a book, and maybe watch another movie. But, admittedly, I had neglected my body over the last few days— physically by walking as a byproduct of the emotional (in a good ish way!) wedding weekend I had just had. In another coming post, I’ll talk about my general sentiments of Europe and why I took this trip in the first place.

So, I awoke to 0:51 left in the flight; the scent of egg quiches wafted throughout the cabin, and I had just enough time to make eye contact with the purser, Håkan, who slid a plate of fresh brekkers on my tray. It was good— I’m a sucker for rolls of prosciutto!

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Again, I watched the arrival into LAX, an approach I’ve done many times myself. We touched down on 24R, gradually taxiing to Tom Bradley International Terminal. We waited about half an hour for a gate, but my ride back to Seattle wasn’t until later. In other words, I wasn’t in a rush. When we got to the gate, I gave a polite “hej då!” and headed through Global Entry, one of the many amenities provided by the American Express Platinum Card. If you travel a lot, this is THE card to have, despite the exorbitant fee, because it pays for itself every year for me. Get in touch with me, and I’ll rattle off a ton of reasons why airline folk need it.

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Oh, and my only qualm with the business experience is that their movie selection was quite lacking— I don’t know how other foreign carriers compare, but United and Delta sure have a lot better titles. However, I was content with watching the clouds drift by, both on my screen and out the window. It was everything I dreamed of— quite literally!

Tack så mycket, SAS!

 

 

 

Find Your Joy

You know joy. It’s uncovered in milliseconds throughout your day when you are so in-tune with what you’re doing— and love it.

Two things recently gave me joy, that have always given me joy, but have gotten lost in the day-to-day doldrum of operations: flying an airplane, and practicing yoga.

One morning this week, I stood in my kitchen on my navy blue yoga mat, one that I bought while living in St. Louis. It has traveled with me all over, in each city since, and even to retreats. It’s home in a way that no other rubber rectangle could ever be. I had just been accepted to a Yoga Teacher Training in New Orleans (as previously posted!), and out of the excitement, I jumped on my mat. The thing is, when I’m practicing yoga in my kitchen with no one around, I don’t have a plan. No flow, no sequence, not even a semblance of structure. I just do what feels right— of course, that’s sort of why I’m going to get trained in how to conjure up a class. As I hit Warrior II and transitioned back to Peaceful Warrior, I was overcome: rooted deeply in the earth and extending into the sky, I was the conductor of energy, a sorcerer at work.

My coffee pot gurgled, and I retreated to my loveseat to start reading the books I need to finish before going to class (in January, but I’m eager). As my eyes glided over the words, soaking up the sentiment, I realized that this was effortless. There wasn’t barrier or burden.


 

At least once per trip, I try to click off the automation (autopilot AND autothrottles) to fly based on “raw data,” meaning there’s no guidance— just a pure scan of the instruments. It’s important to do this for many reasons: if the automation fails at some point, you’re ready with skill. Plus, it’s just plain fun!

Yesterday, we were cruising on into Portland, and my captain chided me, “You’re not going to land flaps full for Harambe?” pointing to an inside joke on our airplane. I decided no. But we were halfway through our day, and I decided to turn everything off and fly it my damn self. The power was in my hands, quite literally, as I turned and descended toward the runway, which was obscured by clouds. It occurred to me that we fly these multi-million dollar jets with all the bells and whistles, yet it operates under the same physics laws with which even a small Cessna complies. Cute!

It’s a thrill, though, to have that moment between man and machine— an intimate connection that demands trust and a bit of romance.

We popped out of the clouds, the runway revealing itself amidst a green field along the Columbia river. “50, 40, 30, 20, 10,” the airplane spoke at a smooth cadence, and we touched the ground— softly lowering the nose, and throwing out the thrust reversers, I gave my captain the controls as he taxied off the runway. I exhaled with a smirk. “That was fun!”


 

Day-in-and-day-out, the routine tires. Cities blur together, and hotels can never match my own bed— but it’s the tiny moments, the ones where you feel like you’re surfing on bliss, that make the ordinary extraordinary. Neither of these moments were particularly explosive. Mostly, they’re banal snippets from my everyday life. But I chose to see them as magic! And making that choice isn’t easy— some days I straight up refuse. The days I do, however, magic happens.

How do you find your joy?

The Itch I Can’t Scratch

The following is not a paid advertisement, and I’m not getting any commission. But it is a rant; proceed at your own risk.

Yesterday, I went to the doctor to discuss a little rash I’ve had on my hands. He told me it was very mild form of dyshidrotic eczema, treatable with a steroid cream. Quelling my fears of imminent death, as indicated by WebMD, I was relieved that it’s not a big deal. (I also had three different pricks, but not the fun kind: a Hep A shot, a flu shot, and they drew blood for routine testing. But I digress.)

So I go about my merry day, hitting up Club Pharm. The nice tech typed her little hands off, looking up my prescription. Her eyes widened and uttered, “Wow. That’s a really high copay. It’s $400.98.” In shock, I might have cursed. “Oh, there’s no goddamn way I’m paying that.” At this point, I handed her my insurance, and she entered it. Beep boop beep, and it came back that, not only would my insurance not cover the original dosage, but they would only cover a third (20 grams versus 60) of it. The price lowered to $99 of which they would cover a whopping $8.50. I walked away infuriated and without my medication.


This morning, I woke up with a mission to figure this out. There’s no way a simple cream could cost $400. I would rather let my hands rot than pay an absurd amount. At first, I called the pharmacy again to double check if that, in fact, was correct. It was.

Then I called my doctor’s office. They were dumfounded, too. They told me to go with another pharmacy and see if it could be cheaper elsewhere; meanwhile, they would investigate another, similar medication to reduce the cost. It was then that I did some research on my provider’s website— and, yes, the retail value was over $400 where my plan didn’t cover ANY of it. So, I called them.

I talked to a very nice man who said, “Yeah, they’re trying to get your money.” I was firm but polite with him, knowing that he personally was not the issue.

And then, finally, I called my mom, as any snowflake butthurt millennial does. With her infinite wisdom, she took to the Google machine. We found a coupon for the prescription at roughly $70 for the original dosage— still too damn much, in my opinion. But I called my pharmacy, ran the numbers, and it’s being filled as we speak.

Here are my issues.

  • It’s a cream. We’re not talking heart medication, liver pills, or even chemotherapy. It’s a CREAM! To treat a pesky rash! How in the hell could a cream cost $400 retail? In what universe is that an appropriate amount?
  • I had to do the work. Me. Calling, inquiring, investigating. Had I went about this all fat dumb and happy, I would have ended up paying the money, and no one would have said a word.
  • My insurance is worthless. I’m not blaming my employer, although our benefits could be improved. United Healthcare and OptumRx are trash companies, and I’m sure the rest aren’t any better.
  • This is no one person’s fault. Of all the people with whom I interacted, everyone was pleasant, as was I. But I became infuriated in the process.
  • I used a coupon. Not combined with my insurance, not a special rate through any sort of service. This is, straight up, a coupon that I GOOGLED.

And again, this is over a cream. I cannot imagine the process with other more important, life-or-death medications. I am so blessed that my pressing ailment is more of an annoyance than a concern— I’m more distraught that my doctor says I should take off my rings in case I’ve developed a metal allergy. They’re my fashion, flair, and nearly my livelihood.

By the way, it’s not contagious.

 

Take me to Church!

“I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.” If you don’t think Beyoncé’s album was on my mind while I strolled the streets of New Orleans, then you are severely mistaken.

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I’ll admit: not being able to go to Bali was a huge downer. Walking home with my packed bag was a bit downtrodden— I felt like I had been broken up with in a very disappointing way.

But I was on a mission to reclaim my time, as I always am, and I had another plan. Again, I packed a backpack and left right after work. After a brief stop in Chicago to see my goddog, Kiki, and my best friends, I made my way to the Big Easy to check out a yoga studio at which I might do my Yoga Teacher Training— so I crafted my own yoga retreat!


The Yoga:

I can’t get this picture out of my mind.

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Here it is, The Church of Yoga. As a branch of the Laughing Lotus brand of New York and San Francisco, I was turned onto this place through my dear friend and Seattle yoga instructor, Danielle. The colors exploding on the face of the edifice are nothing short of what happens inside, where true expressions of love, dance, and harmony come together.

I got in on Sunday night, and I went to a Moon Circle— not quite a yoga class, but a spiritual exploration of the New Moon. We sat in a circle and discussed this particular new moon’s effects and meanings. Each of us shared our intentions and stories of what was on our mind, and we repeated affirmations after we finished; I was in awe of the community that this place supported.

I was excited to take a class taught by the studio’s co-founder, Dana Trixie Flynn. I had just missed her master class in Seattle at my home studio, The Grinning Yogi— but I heard that she was a burst of energy. I was NOT disappointed. I was blown away by the diversity. Yoga is a very White People™ activity, often accused of appropriation of Eastern culture. But the people in class were white and black, fat and skinny, gay and straight, men and women.

Dana’s teaching style is very in line with my own yogic philosophy— during class, a student asked a question about a particular pose, something about how her arms should be. Dana cheekily responded, “Well, after you do it 1,000 times, it’s still going to be different.” I chuckled, because I’ve seen this same scene before— people, rightfully so, being inquisitive and asking questions about how a pose should be. They direct their intricate questions toward the instructor, looking for guidance. And sure, there might be some technical alignment wherein a certain direction could be given. But, by and large, feeling out the pose as your body expresses in that day, in that moment, is the answer to those questions.

The following night, I went to a class with a live DJ who was playing Beyoncé. Let me reiterate that: there was a yoga class, with live music, playing Beyoncé. 

This could not be more on brand for Robbie Barnhart if I tried.

Chelsey, that evening’s instructor, pulled out all the stops— dancing in the poses, singalong “Halo” savasana, and even going so far as to do a costume change at the end. I apologized to the girl next to me for twerking in such close proximity, but I truly could not help it. NamaSLAY!

Don’t even get me started on how sad I was that I had to leave before Yoga After Dark – Drag Edition.

The creativity flowing out of this studio is beyond my wildest expectations. It’s relevant, authentic, and downright FUN! As I peruse this as an option for my Yoga Teacher Training (which, let’s be serious, is about 95% right now), I realize that my perceptions of a traditional training experience are antiquated— there is a way to keep this ancient practice fresh!


The Food:

img_1506.jpgI had to supplement my burnt calories somehow— and New Orleans did not disappoint ways to do that. My first full day, I goofed up the recommendation that my Lyft driver gave me. She said to go to Cochon Butcher— but I got caught in a thunderstorm on the way there and completely missed the small place in the back. Instead, and unbeknownst to me, I sat in the bougie dining room of Cochon. I only realized it after I had placed my order, noting that it was a bit pricier than originally mentioned; however, the rabbit and dumplings soothed my cold and drenched body.

Seeing that Parkway Bakery & Tavern was closed on Tuesdays, I went to Wille Mae’s Scotch House instead. Now, my grandma could make some mean fried chicken, and that will always be my favorite— but this place is a close second. And the butter beans (that were, surprisingly, vegannnnnnn)? Get out.

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And, on my final day in New Orleans, I had the behemoth fried oyster po’boy. Only available on Mondays and Wednesdays, I saved the best for last. (I’m glad I only got half, because I couldn’t imagine eating a whole one with a side of gumbo.)

Cafe Du Monde is a tourist cliché for a very good reason. My first late night adventure through the French Quarter had me inhaling beignets— and choking on powdered sugar. Throughout my stay, I obviously had to get a second opinion of Morning Call’s beignets, which weren’t as good. Therefore, it was clear that I had to have another batch of Cafe Du Monde’s beignets for good measure— and of course I had to come home with a can of coffee and chicory. Don’t @ me.


Bottom line:

The spirit flows through NOLA, and I can’t wait to return. Over those days, I met so many wonderful people, welcoming me into their space and amplifying my love for yoga. I have yet to debrief with myself— I have to come down from the excitement of the experience, but that will be duly noted in my Pro/Con list for YTT programs.

It was hot there, which usually isn’t my MO. But as the sweat hit me in class, a voice popped up in the back of my head, “Don’t get burned by the fire; ride the flame.”

Soundtrack:

Beyoncé – Halo

Displacement: A lesson in expectation

“Crew Scheduling giveth, and crew scheduling taketh away.” — FOM SP3100

Or something like that.

This last week, I found out that I was displaced from a trip for training, meaning that a new pilot was to be trained on my trip. Sweet! That gave me 10 consecutive days off WITH pay, and it’s a dream come true for someone who has flown their ass off all summer.

Except, until yesterday, they assigned a last minute trip to my schedule. It’s perfectly “legal” for them to do that. They can assign anything— anything!— to your schedule if it falls within the footprint of the original trip. Since my awarded pairing was a four day, almost anything goes.

I have attained decent seniority in Seattle, which is an increasingly senior base. I don’t get everything that I want, but I’m also not that picky— I like three and four day trips with report times after 9 a.m., because, as you know, I’m not a morning person. Fun overnights are a priority, then credit, and then specific days off. Other than that, it doesn’t matter to me. Weekends are a hot commodity, and I gave up on them; I’d rather have large chunks of time off in between work.

Up until 72 hours prior to the original trip, Crew Scheduling (we call them “Crew Support” at my company, but I don’t think they deserve that title anymore. #shade) has the ability to assign anything, as I said, and WOW did they give me something I hate: a standup. It’s where we are on duty all night, fly the last flight out and the first flight back to base, leaving me with maybe five hours on the ground. It completely messes with my sleep schedule. While I retain the credit from the originally awarded pairing, I absolutely abhor these kinds of trips.

I had plans. I had dreams. I had the world to see! At first, I planned to visit my cousin in Stockholm and then make my way down to Madrid; my old stomping grounds from study abroad were calling me. But then, unabashedly, a better offer came around— a friend invited me to go to Bali. Done! The logistics were in place, and I already have a bag packed in Seattle, waiting for me in the crew locker, wherein I could get off work and bolt for any number of departing jet planes.

But that isn’t the case anymore. With my tail tucked between my legs, bowing to the supreme authority of the Scheduling Gods, I’ll stay in Seattle and cover their flights.


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I’ve been on property for two years, eight months, and 15 days. A short time compared to others, I know.

I chose this company, because of its reputation and longevity. And I stand by my decision. In the grand scheme of things, it’s the right place for me, right now. I live in base, love the flying, love the airplane, and love the crews— most of them, anyway.

But I realize, now, that I am a cog in the machine. A number. I drank some Koolaid when I first got here, and I believed that we’re a family— and that is true, in base. I’ve been saved so many times by my coworkers, made wonderful friends and memories on great work trips. I truly adore the people of the company— some of them.

At its core, however, this is a gritty operation that leaves no room for emotions. There is flying that needs to be covered, and pilots must fill that need. I don’t fault Crew Scheduling for giving me a trip— but I do fault the system, overall, for the lack of consideration of hard work.

Last month, I worked 95 block hours. That’s 95 hours of sitting in my seat with the door shut, brake off, and ready to go— but that doesn’t count waiting around for a plane to arrive, doing a preflight inspection, or being delayed for Air Traffic Control. I even went so far as to pick up extra flying that needed to be covered.

So, you could imagine how excited I was to have 10 days off, uninterrupted, with pay— a small perk for a grueling lifestyle. Here’s where you’ll play your What About Me card, throwing down how much YOU worked and how many hours YOU flew. Save it. I’m talking about me.

What I wish the flying public knew, what I wish even my coworkers at headquarters knew, is that this is not a standard job. I have no idea what it’s like to be a local in my own town. I don’t get to meet up with my friends every Tuesday and play kickball; I don’t get to plan a short weekend trip to the mountains or float the river. I don’t know my schedule until a week before the month starts. I don’t know when I’m waking up or when I’m going to sleep. Hell, I don’t even know where I’m going until I get there.

But it’s so easy! You just sit up there! Yeah. I do, and I’m always engaged. While I admit I’m not staring at the controls the entire time, I am always “on.” Scanning, listening, smelling even— so it’s not “just sitting.” Imagine how tired you are after one flight, and multiply that by 14 in four days, sometimes.

Looking to my foundations of yogic philosophy, I fell right into the trap of expectation. I expected them not to assign a trip, and I expected to be en route to paradise tonight. When you allot your energy toward a specific outcome, your suffering intensifies.

With great risk comes great reward, though. I’ve sat in First Class International seats for free. I’ve gone on whirlwind trips at a moment’s notice. I don’t downplay any of this, and I know how it must look from the outside looking in— and I am humbled by this perspective.

But I’m still going to whine about it. I’m a pilot, after all.

Soundtrack: 

Why Did It Have To Be Me? — Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Demise to Arise

The dawn breaks, birds start chirping and I, well, I am not fond to witness such a travesty. I know the earth does it every single day, and I’m sure it’s a miracle. But it’s not my thing to be conscious during that time.

I am not a morning person. And I don’t mean that in the it’s-a-bummer-to-wake-up sense. Every morning is an ascension from my restful dream state through the bowels of reality, finally emerging to a new day— to put it lightly.

So, where’s the coffee?

Because I have to put blame somewhere, I’ll point the finger at my erratic schedule. I don’t have the luxury of a 9 to 5 office job where routine reigns supreme. Some mornings, I’m awake at 3:00 for an early van, other days I’m off work at midnight. Admittedly, it is nice to see the sunrise from 36,000 feet, trekking along to some destination. But that’s at work. And due to the nature of my work, I don’t take anything home with me, other than the bullshit I might spill about whatever random crewmember acted a fool. On my off days, I have no semblance of a schedule, other than things I might want to do. And I’ve approached myself many times with that same mantra in creating a morning routine. In fact, my dry erase board at home says, “Things I Should Probably Do” and my journal prompt is “What would you like to do today?”

 

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One of the only reasons worth arising so early

I don’t have one— because I’m battling the demon inside who wants to stay in bed until noon. And sometimes (ok most times) I let myself do that, because nothing is pressing to get me out of bed. No dog, no husband, no other pesky dependents who rely on my immediate assistance. And I’m not necessarily wanting a reason, either, other than the sole purpose of being semi-productive. Again, I pose that question to myself: What would you like to do today?

And the thing is, I don’t know. What I do know is that I need caffeine, preferably in the form of a French Press and perhaps a newspaper, digital or physical. And then maybe a light yoga routine. But mostly I want to discourage that tempestuous voice, much like the devil sitting on my shoulder, telling me to slide back into the warmth from which I emerged for some ungodly reason.

I don’t do talky in the morning, either. In fact, I’m a completely different person— a total bitch, unenthusiastic and annoyed. Somewhere after an hour when my eyes have opened and I’ve accepted that there’s no way out, I might be decent and ready to take on the world. For my friends on the east coast, this means early afternoon before my mind is ready to converse at normal levels. It is possible, however, to communicate with me at earlier times, but it’s not advisable. You’re liable to hear a multitude of senseless mumbo jumbo or crass insults that are, truly, out of my control.

I wish I could point to a certain flow and say, “Ah, yes. This is what I do in the morning” besides scowling at sunlight and rolling over for a few more minutes of snooze. I recently downloaded the app Yoga Wake Up, and it’s a different way to get going in the morning— I can’t say that I’m fully invested in the idea, but I’ve tried it a couple times. I don’t hate it, which is saying something.

What’s your spark? What is your ritual? Send your ideas my way, so I can test them out.

*I’ll also add the disclaimer that I am, in no way shape or form, attempting to become a morning person. I’m merely trying to not feel homicidal.

 

Soundtrack:

Cher – If I Could Turn Back Time