Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fascinating occupations & vacation envy

Every time I fly, I think about how it must suck to be the flight attendant and deal with customers like me who attempt to listen to music for every single minute of every flight.  Plus, the job is repetitive and airplanes are cramped and uncomfortable.  And right now, I’m pissed at myself for leaving a library book on the plane.  Somewhere out there – maybe – there’s a flight attendant learning about the history of financial speculation.

Flight attendants are people’s fantasy for a lot of reasons – being up in the air is kind of sexy (er, if you’ve never flown), and flight attendants are worldly, wear cute outfits, and have an endless supply of mini wine bottles for you and only you (it’s your fantasy, so anything’s a go).  Travel is such a fantasy and such a cliché.  Some people are happy to never set foot out of their state, others will just feel so bad for you if you’ve only been to like, 3 of the continents.  Travel is a currency – experiences, food, photos – we share and show off and grow from it.

I have it so good – I’ve got my health, my friends, pajama jeans, and my youth.  But if some envy others’ wardrobes, relationships, job perks, or tans – I really envy your vacations.  I also like people who like to travel.  I often hear my coworkers joke that to enjoy your job as a consultant, you need to really like your coworkers because that guy who’s mildly annoying will seem to much worse if you’re stuck in the [insert shitty airport] airport with him, and your flight’s been delayed 3 hours.  Traveling is hard because there’s less of a routine – you don’t know where you’ll be eating, who will be around you.  These factors are largely controllable at home, and a routine provides a level of comfort that you’re unlikely to get in a new place.  Being flexible and being open can be so hard – but the people who can encounter an obstacle and keep their humor are the ones I want around.  At any point in time.

I also have another, weirder, travel-related curiosity.  Train conductors – who are they?  What did they do before conducting?  Maybe their job’s not that interesting – they’re taking people’s money, giving them change, placing tickets on seats, and going back and forth between two locations all day.  But it’s cool that they’re a part of so many people’s travels.  When I get on the train, I wish there was a bubble on top of everyone’s head (like in a cartoon) that would tell me where they’re going and why.  Especially when I’m taking the metro at an unusual time (late at night or the middle of the day on a weekday, early morning on a weekend (ok that one doesn’t actually happen)) – I always want to know where everyone’s going.  It’s probably all mostly boring, so maybe it’s for the best that life isn’t a cartoon.  I would not turn down superpowers, though.

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