Inside Lisp and Wet blankets -or- sharing energy

It never ceases to amaze me how much distraction people need in their lives. Working as a Flight Attendant, I once had a guest grow red in the face spitting curses at me like dodgeballs because I couldn’t get his seatback TV to work properly for him during the eternity which was his 45 minute flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. “This is fucking ridiculous, this piece of shit!” he bellowed toward me. And as much as I love being screamed at like a bad internet connection, I can’t help but crack a small chuckle every now and again, which, to be honest, probably sends some of them into an even deeper rage. But how can a person become so irate at 45 minutes of alone time? He can’t possibly be that disturbed at the sounds of his own thoughts, can he? Who knows today, maybe the voice in his head has an annoying lisp that spits while talking, making it completely unbearably annoying to listen to for more than 5 minutes.

I wouldn’t doubt it, and I usually like to imagine that during the throws of complaints.

Something to pass the time through complaints, ya know?

 

One of the main issues with being a flight attendant isn’t far off that of being in the general service industry – the people.

Or, more specifically, the entitled jerk faced crank bottoms that seem to have a constant wedgie of dissatisfaction for every minor detail of their existence.
Yea, those guys.

And I’m not one of those people that go around spouting things like “I hate everyone” I genuinely don’t. I think for the most part, people are good. Albeit a little unaware of their emotions and temperament. But I don’t think people are malicious by nature, call me an doe-eyed optimist. But it comes to a point, where I’ve had to literally ask myself, outloud, why do airplanes bring out the worst in people?

 

Maybe alone time is undervalued. Well, I know it is. We have too many distractions that make it easy to float by, content but possibly not fulfilled. I love the distractions as much as the next person. In fact I can assure you I’ve looked at my phone at least five different times since I sat down to right this entry. It’s completely unintentional. Which is the more frightening aspect of doing it, in my millennial opinion.

 

But once upon a time, I had the wonderful pleasure of announcing that, against all odds and Mother Nature, we were actually early to our destination! Holy moly and some guacamole, guys. We finally got to deliver some *good* news to our guests. A small but pretty awesome affair. Smiling as I sat in my jumpseat, I swear I actually heard a guest roll her eyes. Then an exasperated exhale, that didn’t sound too unlike a car engine finally giving up escaped her “Great,” she sighed. “ now I’ll have to wait at the damn airport for my car to arrive, good going.”

 

Well, alrighty, then.

 

I’ve become increasingly aware of the fact that we live in a culture where being “busy” is all the trend. Doesn’t even seem to matter what you’re busy doing honestly, as long as you are busy, you seem important. You have things to do, people to see, work and the weather to complain about it. And taking three hours out of your preciously penciled in day to travel in an actual flying tube to another location on the other side of the country or possibly another continent in under one measly day. Where if we’re being honest, you’ve probably spent more time in your life binge watching House of Cards on any given Sunday.

 

Maybe people aren’t used to being told what to do. So, when I, tell you – no, you cannot stand up to go to the restroom young man, because I’m literally levitating off my jumpseat due to turbulence right now and at this point I’m not so concerned with your well being, given the fact that you’ve been as pleasant toward me as poison ivy rash in my butthole. But to be quite honest, it’s the fact that you will literally impale yourself on the roof of this plane. It’s very expensive and that’s oh, so much paper work for me. 

Quite honestly sometimes I have no more fucks to give because you’ll blame me either way, just because I exist and I’m forced to wear a name tag.

This isn’t a PSA to be nice to your fellow flight attendant next time you’re in the air. I’m well aware of what I got myself into with this job, just like any other person who’s taken up paycheck in the service industry. We get it. What I’m saying is maybe we can take a few moments of breath to realize the best things happen when were aware and conscious of our behavior. That rushing through life doesn’t mean we’re busy and important, that it usually accounts for us being stressed and lashing out at others. Taking time to be actually happy to just be with ourselves sometimes. And, honestly, if you can’t handle being alone with yourself just for an hour or so..you probably have some work to do on your life, your purpose and personality.

When we take our time, notice our effect on other people, maybe life would in turn be a little nicer for everyone? Because energy is a reality. Ever walked into a room and just sensed all the heavy grossness a bad vibe can grant you? Any room you walk into, YOU have the power. You can make it a little lighter and brighter or you and your attitude can contribute to the feeling of wet blanket being thrown on you first thing in the morning. 

So when a woman shouts at me that I’m  “the worst person she’d ever met in her life” all because I told her I didn’t Speedy Gonzalez my little tush over to her seat fast enough to take her dirty tissue from her, I’m just saying things are heading down a bad path. Because if I’m the worst thing that’s you truly believe has ever happened to you…really? the worst?

You’ve actually lived an amazing sunshine filled rainbow-infused life so far.

because I’m a fuckin delight.

…On most days, promise.

 

 

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Heavy Snow and Hot Coffee – The Beauty of Oslo

 

Underneath my two shirts, hefty sweater, leggings, jeans and a three-quarter length down coat, I had a sudden surge of sympathy for the Pillsbury doughboy and all his slow waddling. I probably looked a bit like him too with all my layers of pillowy softness. Except without all the smiles and giggles.
I would have happily have accepted those freshly baked warm cookies, however. But, hell, at that point I would’ve pressed my cheeks up against a warmed car hood if I had had the option. I had just arrived in Norway and I’ve never been so cold.

 


Flashback to 2013, I had been living in a suburb of Paris for a few months. I had finally decided to take on my first trip out of the land of cheese and wine to visit my then boyfriend, who was studying in Norway for the semester. I had taken a train, then a plane and was then begrudgingly seated on a stale smelling bus with a dozen or so other vacant and bagged eyed travelers that would finally get us into the heart of Oslo.

The bus hummed on in silence for what seemed like hours. The only view of what I had heard to be such a stunning country were the blank spaces of white beneath the streetlights as we trudged down the road.

 

There is that certain uneasy excitement I find when traveling alone, and in the darkened bus, bundled in my blankets of clothes, my stomach wouldn’t stop flipping. I had been used to my own personal brand of culture shock back in France. I had only been there six months, but I was comfortable with the way French words settled in my ears, even if I didn’t understand what was being said at all times. I knew the flow and feel of the city, with it’s slight snow and crowded metros, even if it was still foreign to me. The people dressed in all black, but it was the city of light, of movement and art.

 

But here, everything had been cold, stark and white. The language landed as harsh and pointed. Dirtied snow muddled on the inside corners of every bus stop and metro station, as if just to remind you that no one couldn’t escape the cold, even inside. Your breath was a heavy cloud and your feet and face were constantly wet and rosie.

 

Once there, with freshly made crepes and French pressed coffees, I was perfectly satisfied with having a pseudo France with my Frenchman, seeing the snow fall from the warmth of his apartment. But we slowly felt guilty staying locked inside for so long in a country I had barely seen and ventured out to find the sights.

 

Nothing had impressed me much about Oslo. Maybe a Florida native girl wasn’t supposed to be placed so far north and appreciate it. The only urge I had was to curl back inside that tiny heated apartment, snuggle up under a heap of blankets and wait til morning.

 

We made it to the city’s center. I remember looking at my watch at 3 pm and noticing the sun already half sunk over the horizon, an amber wave across the already street lit snow. The white covered the street so it just seemed like one large whitened sidewalk. There were expensive, albeit adorable, shops and overly priced restaurants nestled tightly together. We would browse around the stores for a minute to get out of the cold and then continue on our way, pretending we had found nothing of interest. Norway has a taste for the high price and neither of us had any desire, or rather abundant ability, to spend 15 dollars on a fast food hamburger. We settled for a cup of hot coffee to warm our fingers and planned all our meals to be homemade.

But we trudged on through the snow, a little lost and a lot hungry. Finally after a few hours of our wandering we made our way upon Frogner Park. The largest park in the city and world famous for it’s Vigeland installation. Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland’s lifework with more than 200 sculptures cast bronze, granite and wrought iron.

 

We walked through, only the sound of the soft crunch beneath our boots, and made our way up to the center, finding a view across it’s entirety. I stood near Vigeland’s Monolith column which was carved from one single granite block, the depiction of humanity being drawn upwards toward heaven sitting heavy on the highest point of the park.

 

Suddenly, It was if I saw the world in black and white hanging inside the rim of that park. The detailed statues were draped in ice and heavy, wet snow. They had darkened to blunt black and that clean snow reflected the sun so forcefully it hurt your eyes to stare at it for too long. The entire park gleamed winter colors as proudly and forcefully as any flower. I inhaled that breath of chokingly cold air and felt like I finally knew what Norway was trying to show me.

That this, this was a different kind a beauty.

 

Norway was preaching that her world was distinct, that she had a lot more to her beauty than so many others easy beaches and warmed sunsets. She was a biting beauty. One more difficult to obtain, to appreciate. But looking out over that park, draped in the crisp clean lines of the snow, trees heavy with powder and nothing but the sound of my breath, I understood her.

 

It’s easy to see beauty from a warm, sunny place on dry land as much as it’s easy to love when there is never conflict. But if you find a love that can survive the cold hearted fight of life with you.. you don’t just have a fling with it, you have a life long love. And, Norway, she was calling to me, shouting through her whitened blankets, “see? I am worth it.” Where your body hurts and your breath is short, yet you still want to stay and stare right into it until your body collapses into the cold.

I stood staring at her until my fingers were numb and my nose runny, but I finally didn’t mind. Later that evening, as I sipped my hot coffee, happily curled back into the warmth of the apartment, nestled near the heater, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself for being such a crank about the cold. Looking out the window, as the snow yet again began to fall, promising myself I wouldn’t forget the raw feeling of this cold beauty. She had won me over, high prices, darkened skies and all. But she was beautiful and fierce and taught you how to love the heavy winter. That was Oslo.

 

——

Candles & Revolutions – or- on relationships

Back in 2011, my sister, her boyfriend and I had been backpacking around Europe. We had made it to Dublin and on our first day we decided to stop in at one of the local grundgy looking pubs around town for a pint because, well obviously we were tourists, and that just sort of the thing you do when you’re in Ireland. One in particular that we came across, looked like a hidden gem near an alley, as cliché and amazing as an Irish pub can get. Thinking it was 3pm on a Tuesday and we could have a drink in peace while looking over our maps and internet connections we decided to try it out. We heaved the creaky door open only to find the entire darkened pub was filled to the brim with every single bearded, cap wearing man in Dublin, all of which, were not quite expecting nor liking the door being slung open revealing every crack and hangover in the old bar into the afternoon sunlight.

We stood in the doorway for what felt like an eternity, backlit with a delicious sunny day and the glares of every Irishman in the pub cast upon us. Have you ever walked into a room where people were obviously just talking a magnificent amount of shit about you seconds prior? Well, I am positive someway, somehow, even never have meeting us before, those Irishmen had just been talking shit about the three of us. The oh, so clearly, American tourists with our torso sized backpacks and sightseeing maps frozen open in my hands. Maybe just add to the imagery the facial distortions of that of a gaggle of high school girls when someone farts in a crowded room…and that’s maybe the best way to describe the glances we were getting from the doorway. My sister and I froze, apparently thinking the best solution was to just stare back at them. But eventually, and miraculously, my now brother in law had the wonderful idea of shutting the door again, taking us out of that deer in the headlights conundrum. It was a very simple move, something that my sister and I would’ve done… eventually, promise.

I hope.

Ryan has always had the refreshing sense of survival not always found in our Matthews’ family. Our family tends to sometimes just freeze and maybe laugh awkwardly in anxiety ridden situations. An essential move I still utilize to this day.

Smile, nod, fake laugh.

It’s a Kendall Classic.

Let’s take my Grandparents house for instance. It’s pristine. It looks and feels the exact same today as it did when I was a kid. The furniture, the carpet, everything. If there is at all any consistency in life, it is I know, in my heart of hearts, that when I enter my grandparents house and take a right into the living room there will be those tiny little Swedish figurines in the exact same stance and order as they were when I was 8 years old and salivating over the thought of playing with them.

In this house there was this candle, see. To my sister and myself as little girls, it was the most beautiful candle in the world. It had delicately, thin twisted ribbons of wax that cascaded down the sides of it in all sorts of shades of blue and green. I mean this was a fucking magic fairy style candle and it stood, never lit and totally untouched, in the center of my Grandmother’s coffee table.

Always.
Perfect.

I think my sister and I stared at it growing up over a million times. Because a pretty candle is just the place your eyes go to as a child when adults are talking boring things, and quite honestly even when you’re one of the adults talking the boring things. Every lull in the conversation or that moment of silence that fills a room before the next topic is brought up, our eyes would land on that candle. My sister, brother, our cousins and I might exchange some sort of one sided I wonder how they make a candle like that shrug type questions and things would move on.

Years later, when we were all teenagers, Valerie brought her then boyfriend Ryan to our Grandparents house for the first time. I remember sitting in the living room, and after the appropriate amount of small talk, the adults ventured into the other room, talking politics or taxes or retirement or honestly I wasn’t listening so I have no clue, but that’s what adults talk about right? After the momentary silence broke over the room as they left, all of us ‘kids’ just sat there, eyes, like always, going straight to that candle.

I made a comment, like all the comments, “I wonder how they put all those different colors in one candle”

My sister shrugged her shoulders. My brother made a “I don’t know” noise.

The usual.

Then all the sudden, Ryan reaches over the table, hand outreached and picks up the candle.

I think I froze mid-yawn. My eyes were as round as orbes, staring at the poor unknowing Ryan, who didn’t know you can’t just go around touching consistent Grandparent candles that always stay put. You’re touching the fairy magic perfect never even lit candle that we’ve never seen anyone touch?

I glanced at Valerie who was looking toward Ryan like he just lifted our actual Grandmother up and basketball spinned her around the living room. My always laid back brother was looking at him and then the candle like he just touched the holy grail. Pretty sure my cousins were staring at my sister like she brought an alien into the household.

The universe was an inch away from splitting, y’all.

He was inspecting the bottom of it to showing all the layers of color underneath “yea, looks like they just layer it one color at a time.”

So casual for just unraveling the dynamic of our granparents house, bro.

All our lives we’ve all been staring at that perfect ass candle and making comments about how it’s made and not one of us ever thought to just pick the damn thing up and look at it. It was kinda a revolutionary moment, guys. Obviously, we had a very difficult and trying childhood.

But that’s always been Ryan. He’s not a talker, he’s a doer. He figures stuff out. If he wants to know how something works, he just ups and goes and finds out how. He doesn’t just talk and shrug about it. He’s a hands on the candle, type o’ guy. Figure it out.

I think it’s been a good influence on our brand of Matthews’ ‘maybe tomorrow’ attitude we used to have as kids. Especially towards my sister, who ten years later and two Bolster kids down, I swear she’s gone from our classic childhood Matthews’ signature of nervous laughter in the face of awkward to a kind of Mega Mom Chief. No more, staring at the candle kind of talk for that one.

She just handles things now.

I once walked in on her with dinner on the stove, laundry going, vacuuming the living room, all while on hold with the phone company, and whislt her young smiling baby was stradling her leg, happy as a fresh clam. Probably out of sheer amazement of all the things her momma could do at once, cause honestly, for me, just the vacuuming part is like a whole weeks worth of effort. To be honest, I don’t even know where my roommate keeps the vacuum in the apartment. I don’t even have an apartment as of right now, I sleep on a couch, and in hotels while traveling for a living… That should give you a small clue to the last time I accomplished that task right there.

I think that’s why people are brought into our lives though. To show us a different way, maybe a better way, of going about things. I’m not saying we wouldn’t have ever picked up that candle and learned for ourselves how it was made. I think we would have, eventually.  And I definitely believe Valerie would’ve been a badass mother either way. Something in her DNA that just clicks with her as a Mom, whereas maybe I got crooked teeth and reddish hair. To be an optimist though, I do like my hair.

But that little bit of candle pickin sass did influence, and as I didn’t know my brother in law before he was with my sister, but I’m hella sure she’s influenced the butt off him in a thousand different ways only he knows.

Those seem to be the best types of relationships, the ones that help you grow and morph into even better Supernova awesome stars of people you already are.

Those are the types of relationships I see and just go, woah.  

Ya just have this wonderful feeling that they are constantly becoming better people for being around each other, the both of them, equally. And that’s always just plain inspiring for humanity, I think.

Back in Ireland, as soon Ryan had tightly sealed the pub again from the monstrosity of the outside world, all the Irishman, beard to beard in solidarity, raised their glass and actually cheered. Valerie and I had gone from frozen messes of awkward to gulping our Guinness’s happily. Relieved that they all seemed to only hate the daylight and not American tourists.
Thanks for the smooth door move, Ryan.

Even if we’re not realizing what we’re learning from others, we constantly are. Even if it’s those minuscule moments of action so small we don’t even realize it.

So pick up the damn candle, folks.
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