Shades of Beige and Heavy Sighs -or- On Jobs

“You headin’ home?” she politely asked me as I heaved my suitcase into the overhead bin. As a senior flight attendant, she had mastered the airline etiquette of speaking with other employee standbys. Smiling sweetly, but with the glazed over eyes of 6am and an underlying wave of I don’t really care. But still, she was surface nice, and that’s more than some ever are, let alone before coffee and the boarding doors shut.

I slammed my fingernail under the weight of my roller bag and bent back a large chunk,
Shit. I thought.
“Yea, just commuting” I peeped, biting my lip in mild pain.

A little lie.
Not for the purpose of hiding anything, just easier than explaining that I was the newbie to the industry and still on reserve as a new flight attendant.

I technically don’t live anywhere at the moment. While working, I spend my days flying around, staying in the hotels the airline provides. On my days off, I bounce around from the couches to air mattresses of friends and sometimes, if time off allows, back to my family in Florida. Today I had only two days off work, so I was boarding a flight to Denver, staying with one of my best friends just for the evening. I’d hop another flight back to San Francisco tomorrow and be back on call the following morning at 3am for another block of five days. I rent a bed in what’s called a “crash pad” near my base airport in San Francisco. So on the nights I don’t have a trip lined up for that set of work days, I sleep surrounded by bunks and the coming and goings of twelve other flights attendants and pilots. All airline folks, all with other places they call home. Planes start to feel like part of the office, in that recycled air, sometimes slightly turbulent nauseous sort of way, but, hey, the view is always spot on.

Every job I’ve ever had has been because of travel. One way or another that’s what it’s come down to. I have either been saving for travels or overseas teaching and nannying. It was no surprise to most when I took a job as a flight attendant. I was usually searching for that next destination. That new place. And with this job, the benefits allow me as much travel as I can manage on my somewhat sad budget and ability to go without sleep.

So far dealing with the transition of becoming a flight attendant has been a complete lifestyle change. Every now and then I catch a glimpse of myself in a shiny surface in one of the many glossy airports you can see me trailing my suitcase through, and don’t recognize myself. In uniform, with all the details pinned just so and a smile plastered on with face. A completely different life than when I carried out my days in yoga pants, teaching and meditating with my students.

It’s been interesting. In the good ways and the less than fun ways.

I find that Interesting is one of those words people like to use when they don’t want to say things like difficult or maybe even boring. Honesty being the best policy and all, it’s true for me as well.

Not that I don’t enjoy the many benefits of my job, I do. I love that I don’t sit in an office day in and day out. I love having the financial independence that this job allows me and the ability to hop on a plane to wherever I feel like seeing. But when it comes to the actual job, sometimes boring and difficult just come with the territory, and that’s for most jobs.  

Sometimes I try to imagine those words like boring and difficult into actual people, humanizing the bothersome duo. Seeing them as just the abrupt old shitty childhood friends of interesting.

Boring is the guy in the beige polo and slightly different shade of khakis, monotonously throwing words together like ‘corporate’ and ‘revisions.’  As well as repeatedly, and poorly, recounting the story of how him and his wife got engaged for ‘logical tax purposes.’ He probably carries around his own soap in a ziplock bag too. Just because “you can never be too careful…”

Difficult, though, she’s the gal with the orange spray tan and resting bitch face that taps her manicured nails on her Yeti tumbler. Every time you open your mouth she heaves a long sigh and rolls her eyes. She never has shit to add to the positive, but always has a complaint about the temperature of the room.

I’d rather have someone sneeze directly into my face than hang out with them.

But as they are, the annoying duo, difficult and boring, usually lead you, annoyances and all, directly toward where good ole interesting is relaxing. Cuddled with a book and a thin lipped wine glass, ready to discuss and laugh at his annoying childhood friends that almost lead you astray from your goal and from him. Sometimes you’re friends with people just because you’ve been friends with them for so long, right?

That’s what I’ve have been feeling about my new job as I shuffle through my first few months working in the corporate world. A world I’ve never so much as tiptoed around in before. Hell I haven’t even glanced in the direction of it.

So far, it’s a lot of sleeping upright in chairs with your phone on the max volume glued to your hand, waiting for scheduling to call you for a trip. It’s days sitting alone in a hotel room next to an airport while you’re on call. Becoming a packing goddess and knowing how to dress in the same clothes repeatedly while making them seem like separate outfits. It might mean not having a place to call home but a variety of places in the country to stay while you have days off, and the ability to get there, cost free. And it’s definitely ignoring jet lag and the not so rare outburst of a passenger. Guests who are in full belief that hurling through the sky at 30,000 feet is a burden to their day and not a miraculous journey across the country, in less time than most of us spend binge watching Netflix.

For me, a huge portion of it is the camaraderie of the airline world. Seeing someone who you’ve known since training or maybe have never met before, but in the same slightly wrinkled uniform, bags under their eyes, barely shuffling through the terminal, and when you lock eyes you just know how the other feels.

We are a team.

We all do this job for different reasons. But mostly, and maybe obviously, it’s for our own travel. It’s the benefits we can’t quite give up having, even when we’ve worked a 26 hour shift and don’t remember what day it is or what city we’re in that night. Places to visit become actual do to lists. Commuting doesn’t mean from the suburbs in a car, but from another state or country.

My father gave me Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’ when I was in High School. But I don’t think I opened myself up to listening to it’s beautifully written verses until much after, typical angsty teen I was. Much like a long poem, it delves into almost meditations on different aspects of life. I’ve read it so many times now I can’t begin to count. One section in particular is pointed around the questions of life and purpose.

Because as many beautiful moments that come up on social media, I know people struggle in the same mundane ways every day simple trying to balance the ‘everydayness’ of our lives. No one is casually typing their status updates as “Same old day, different year.. is this what I’m going to be doing til I succumb to death and old age?”
I would hope not, anyway.’s usually a much more flowery quote on motivation or how amazing their hubby is. It’s natural to exclaim the positive, and I totally get it. Yet, it’s vital to understand that no one is alone in these sometimes less than movie like plot points of life. 

The difficult part of daily life and my job isn’t the level of skill is takes, to me it’s the opposite. It’s the redundancy that’s difficult, the day by day of the same steps. It’s not just this job either, it’s many and most. Difficult is everywhere, sighing and whining daily in 9-5 offices about how the florescent light makes her look pale. Boring is tailing along, sipping his decaf coffee and muttering to himself about his credit card rates.

Best to ignore them, but they do tend to get under the skin. Especially when all of your friends on Instagram seem to be constantly on vacation, sipping margaritas.

So there is the question, do you become passionate with your life? Throw caution to the wind going after that illogical, somewhat financially unstable, career with lustrous eyes. Or to look more logically at your adulthood and situation within reason, boring and difficult-side-by-side. In my experience, and I’m sure with countless others, it’s a spiraling tornado of debate. Usually ending up with me drinking wine and rewatching old episodes of “Friends” trying to ignore the analysis of real life.

Because why can’t all of us have jobs that afford luxurious lofts in NYC without ever actually working. That gets in the way of drinking copious amounts of coffee from giant mugs, right?

That’s adulthood.


The truth is reason and passion must coincide in life. We need both equally, the yin to the yang. The good cop to your bad cop. My wine to my yoga. Those two, not quite unlike boring and difficult, are hopelessly together for the long haul, essential ingredients to a satisfying life.

Annoying, I know. Yet they each make the other possible.

Maybe to lead a good life we need to simply accept ourselves as a paradox. That one part of you is simply a small piece of the puzzle that leads to who you are at your best self. That combination of passion and reason.

You need both.

You crave both.

Because as much as I felt satisfied teaching and learning with yoga, for example. Unfortunately my wallet never felt the same. I found it unfair to force all that financial responsibility to such a wonderful lifestyle and it’s teachings. I wanted to teach and learn, not focus on paying my bills by it. Sometimes I would look at my schedule and it would loose all luster, just for a moment, as the negativity of cash signs and payments loomed over my brow.  So I took a job as a flight attendant, what at the time I thought was going to be the perfect combination of travel and health insurance.

It’s interesting. But, of course, like codependent dipshits, difficult and boring, aren’t ever far behind.

After two hours of flying the senior flight attendant was now apple cheeked, presumably filled with her normal levels caffeine. She smiled more genuinely toward everyone as we deplaned in Denver,  as she casually stood next to her own luggage, waiting to leave work herself.

“Have a good time at home,” she chirped as she saw me walking through the aisle. I thanked her and promised I would, as I tugged my luggage onto the jet bridge.

Close enough, I thought.

I don’t know what this lifestyle means to my future yet, all these paradoxes flying around. Is this career something I’ll continue for years or maybe just something that will occupy my time until I find something a little more, settling…

Who knows, really. I don’t even know what day of the week it is most of the time, if I’m being honest.

But I will, one day.

Not always as romantic as it sounds but I do try to trust the process. I believe the universe has something in store beyond the regular storybook outline, for everyone. As long as they determine that they want it that way. That you’re willing to deal with both sides of the spectrum, the passionate colors as well as the dull beiges, all shades of adulthood. Throw that vibration out into the universe until something amazing bounces right back at you. Just don’t expect never to see all of interesting’s friends along the way. Maybe even becoming friends with them as well.

Because as much as I don’t want to start wearing top to toe beige or constantly complaining about the temperature, maybe I can shoot the shit with those two for a few minutes every now and then to get where I want to be.

Gibran writes:

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction. Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion; that it may sing; And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

Lost Luggage and a Bribe -or- India Series I

First, there was Rajan.

After a 14 hour flight and the airline having lost my luggage, I was walking out of the New Delhi airport empty handed and having no clue where to meet with my yoga teacher training group. As I shuffled nervously toward the exiting doors, that’s where I first saw Rajan, leaning casually on the railing, holding a light smile and a sign that only read one word.  “Y O G A.”

I slowly made my way over to him, unsure if he was who I should be speaking with, his smile grew a mile wide as he saw me and exclaimed “yoga! ….Vishva-ji?” 

“Yes!”  I sighed, relieved by recognizable name of Vishva-jiketu, owner and teacher of the Anand Prakash Ashram, where I had enrolled in a month long 200 hour yoga teacher training course in Rishikesh, India.

My yoga instructor from my hometown had been in the past a teacher of the program, and close to Vishja-vi. I believed in her the way you would believe your favorite teacher in highschool’s opinion of which college to attend. I had no question this program was the right choice me. My sister having met Vishva-ji on her own yoga retreat years earlier. I was heading in never meeting the man, but knowing I would adore him and his teachings. I was right, by the way.

Rajan was immediately the nicest person I had ever just met. During my time at the ashram, I saw Rajan do just about every job known to man. From front desk reception, food preparation, ashram maintenance, even the IT guy on occasion, he was, to me, always the friendly face that could and would answer any question. You would never feel led astray by Rajan, his care was genuine and was always there to guide you with a smile that never wavered. A few moments later, there were three of us from the program, in small gaggle behind Rajan, as we scurried out of the airport together. He guided us to a van and with another big smile and wave goodbye, he stayed behind to wait for others, as the three of us drove off with the cab driver to our hotel for the night in New Delhi.

In the van, there were Sophie and Melissa.

Sophie was a woman from Quebec, a slight french accent on her lips and a soft melodic voice. She was on the plane with me and had suffered through the same fate of her luggage. We had both jumped, light without our bags, into the taxi slightly joking about wearing the same outfit for weeks on end.

Hopping in beside her, was Melissa. Melissa had long wavy brown hair and smiled with her eyes. She carried a hiker’s Backpack almost the size of herself as her only piece of luggage and it was clear she was a traveler. The kind that you’d like to hear stories from while sipping big mugs of tea.

Blue lights pierced the night behind us as we felt our van gradually stop on the side of the road. All of us were quiet. 

“Nothing to worry..just bribe.” the van driver said casually as he absentmindedly waved his hand in the air. 

Welcome, to India I thought, mildly entertained now that we were driving safely the rest of the way toward to our beds for only the night, tomorrow- Rishikesh.

Krishna and Flowers -or- On the people of India

I had given a flower to a little girl with no shoes. She’d had been dancing all evening near me, staring up at me like I was magic. My group from yoga teacher training had been invited to join in on the celebration at a Krishna Temple. Nestled near the Himalayan Mountains in India, we were all staying at the Anand Prakash Ashram up the road, living and breathing yoga and it’s philosophy for 5 weeks straight. I think we all welcomed the opportunity to leave the space, just for a little, eager to get a little more than just a taste of the country where we were living. We had all walked delicately into the Temple that evening, memorized by the red, purple and green lights spreading over the white walls of the building, piercing the darkness of the usually softly lit Rishikesh. As we entered, color came into my sight from every angle. Massive paintings of Krishna hung on the walls near ornate chandeliers dangling from high ceilings. A gated off altar was set up at the front of the room depicting colorful versions of Krishna with light blue and hot pink backgrounds, flowers and golden framed photos.

I don’t remember where I had gotten the small white flower, honestly. Someone had passed one to me so I could pin it in my hair for the event, I think. I do remember being led out into the crowded dancing by an elderly Indian woman with a gentle face. The kind that smiles with her eyes, crows feet feathering outward in all directions. I remember the little girls that ran to join in, giggling as they danced, staring at all of our western faces with expressions of curiosity and excitement. So with men on one side, women on the other, we had danced, chanted, smiled and celebrated with the local families for what seemed like hours. Laughing and jumping until the tempo gradually eased and many of the locals began to take seats on the floor, still chanting and smiling as they lazily swayed to the beat.

I was sitting near one of the giggling girls who had been staring up at me as we danced. I knew my group and myself had probably been some, if not all, of the western people she had ever seen in her life in the Himalayas. I had never been somewhere where I couldn’t blend in, and sticking out like a sore thumb had made me extremely aware of the eyes that were locked on me at all times. She was staring at me as I sat, spying at me from the corner of her eye, pretending to play with the hem of her dress. I took the flower out from behind my ear and placed it in her view, smiling and gently waving her on to take it.

She was surprised by the small gift. But, after a few moments, a wide smile began to spread slowly on her face as she delicately pinched the flower between her fingertips. She inched closer to me and we sat there together chanting the next few rounds of Hare Krishna, she, lightly spinning her flower in between her fingertips, that smile still captured on her face.

Sarah, an Australian friend of mine I’d met in the program, came dancing over to us.

“I like your flower.” she had whispered over to the little girl as she sat down beside us, momentarily tired from the dancing.

The little girl peeked over at Sarah, her eyes lingering over her face and long blonde hair. Reaching for a small, sparkling pink clip that lay collecting her bangs, a soft smile grew on her face. Hair spilled out over her eyes as she removed the pink clip and placed the flower’s stem in between it’s clasps. I watched as she stood up and looked Sarah directly in the eyes as she clipped the flower into her light hair. She pulled her hands away slowly, admiring her work and flashed the same toothy wide smile she had when I had given the flower to her.

We heard a voice calling something in Hindi from across the room and the little girls ears perked at the sound. She took one last look at us, grinning from ear to ear, and the little girl who had danced all evening by my side, skipped out of the building toward her family.

An act no more than ten seconds made me fall in love with that night, that temple, that country. We all went back to the ashram later that evening, not wanting the celebration to end. Sarah, still wearing the pink clip in her hair, promising to keep it and the memory of the night with her.

I think we all knew that night would stay with us for a long time, reminding us of the kind faces and smiles of people, who didn’t need wine or liquor to dance and laugh with each other. To the men and women of Rishikesh who welcomed strange foreigners into their Temple and led us out on to the dance floor, sharing their space and Friday night. And to that little girl with no shoes, that reminded me to stop clinging on to what we are given, and share the beauty.

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