Waking up this morning, my heart is in my throat. I hear a phone ring and, panic-stricken, try to remember what day it is. By the time I find my phone, it has stopped ringing: a missed private call.
In the meantime I discover that it’s Wednesday. But what does Wednesday mean if you’re a flight attendant and therefore don’t have a Monday-to-Friday job? My diary finally reassures me that my next flight is not for another two days. It’s only after my first cup of coffee that my heart rate finally returns to normal.
In all the years I have worked as a flight attendant, I’ve never been mistaken as to my flight days. Nevertheless, I’m just as nervous today about getting it wrong as I was in the early days. In fact, it has got worse since I started working part-time. Sometimes my leave is for more than a week, so I can easily lose track of time. Luckily my boyfriend has a regular job, which helps to remind me what day of the week it is.
I’m not sure whether it is a typical flight-crew thing, but a lot of my dreams are about being late for a flight. Last night, for instance, I dreamt it was taking forever to get to the airport, as I was being held up by all sorts of weird incidents. First of all, the person who was supposed to take me to the airport (a classmate from high school I haven’t seen for decades!) decided to call in to a huge hi-fi shop to buy some new speakers. He took his time, carefully studying all the options and then started a conversation with the shop assistant about their favourite music. My watch told me I was running late, so I snuck away. The next moment I was at a railway station, wanting to catch a train but realised that my shoes had become stuck to the platform. Then I found myself walking along a deserted road, unable to make any progress against a strong headwind. In the far distance I could see Schiphol Airport.
And so the dream went on – but I never reached the airport as I was awoken by the private caller. I never found out who it was, but I’m very grateful to them!