I wedged my body between the overstuffed arms of living room chair - back against one microfiber arm, legs draped over the other – and forced myself to finish A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. It had taken too long to read. Even for me, a slow reader. I barely had started it when it was due back at the library. I renewed it. Felt compelled to explain to the librarian that it was difficult to get into. That’s what you say when a book starts slow, right? But this one didn’t. "Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blond Ukrainian divorcee." That grabbed my attention. Almost six years since my mother died and my sisters and I navigate carefully around conversations involving my father’s women friends.
The reconciliation between the two sisters and their 80 year old father’s uncontested divorce absorbed my attention. The distraction needed. I didn’t want to think about a job interview I just landed. Interviews can be hard to come by, but this one wasn’t. I wasn’t sure why I applied. An exciting and glamorous job. Lots of travel. The requirements, however; life changing. But then again aren’t most careers life changing?
For the last two years I’ve sent out resumes. It hasn’t been an all out assault on the job market. I’ve been picky, looking for high level HR jobs in the manufacturing arena. The economy has made competition tough. Meanwhile, to stay one step ahead of the tax man I've picked up temporary work. This work also has helped with the plumber, the roofer and the auto mechanic, and the occasional dentist and doctor. Besides these stupid expenses who needs to work? Food, shelter and clothing - so over rated.
So surprise, surprise! An email from ADMIN regarding an Interview Invitation. The first thought was, “Spam. Where did this come from?” I almost deleted it. I forgot that three weeks ago I applied for a job as a flight attendant with Hawaiian Airlines.
The job openings made the news. Hawaiian Airlines was looking for flight attendants. Apply on line. So I checked it out. Without thinking too much about this I began to complete the application, but only after I checked to see if I could meet one important physical requirement. With a tape measure running up the wall I reached toward the ceiling as far as possible. On the tip of my toes I passed 82 inches. Barely, but successful.
Another qualification was two years of customer service experience. I explained that having my own consulting business was all about customer service. But I have never served anyone passion fruit juice.
It was one of the most time consuming applications I have completed. Every bit of time for the past ten years had to be accounted for. That included gaps in employment. Do you know how many gaps I had just last year? Four. I filled out seven time periods for 2011. I ran out of form before I could explain the past ten years. The same happened for the places I have lived. Ten years. First, I couldn't remember the addresses where I lived. Thank God Amazon retains all my previous mailing addresses. Second, again, I ran out of form.
I was sure these incomplete parts of my application would spit me out of the automated system. So I didn’t fret the details of getting to Honolulu for a couple of interviews. Nor did I worry about a six week unpaid training period in Honolulu. The logistics of lodging, transportation and relocation weren’t something I needed to solve. Then neither did I ponder living in Hawaii year round. How would I do that? Would I make enough to live in Honolulu as a flight attendant? Would I get enough hours for a car, rent, clothes? They only guaranteed 75 hours a month. And join a union? Almost against my religion. But the biggest hurdle I didn’t want to think about were my cats. How would I get them to Hawaii? Because if I permanently lived in Hawaii, Phoenix and Diablo would have to relocate. And if I got a Tahiti route, who would take care of them while I was gone?
I finished A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. The story is a delightful mix of characters shaped by the powers of culture, time and politics. The reconciliation between sisters pulls the past to the present as they deal with the expectations of their father and his new bride. I held the finish book in my hands. A book.
I had my decision. It didn’t take deep contemplation. No wrenched soul-searching. No long reflective walks. No sleepless nights. No long discussions with friends. No t-charts with the pros on the left hand column and the cons on the right. It just happened. I realized I am just not willing to change my life that much at this time. I still dream about writing.
Honestly, I hate flying.