I BRIEFLY LIVED WITH A MOUSE, 90% OF CITIES LOOK APOCALYPTIC TO ME, AND I’M ALREADY A LIAR
(Written on my way to Anchorage, Alaska)
ABOUT THAT MOUSE
I briefly lived with a mouse, which is a tale of horror best understood by standing in my position as I learned of said impostor. On a five hour flight from Tampa to San Francisco, my boyfriend begins describing his belief that he’d seen a mouse, which had seemingly been residing with us for the past week. “It ran across the kitchen floor,” said the iMessage, which popped through the airwaves somewhere above 30,000 ft. Great. New apartment, that I had picked out, which already has a damaged, septic spewing sink that spits out the food disposal waste faster than your fifteen year old self spat out whiskey, now houses at least one mouse. I tried desperately to reply, but being the good flight attendant that I am, my phone remained on airplane mode and our 737-800’s wireless internet was being twitchy. I wanted to say, “put out traps and call the landlord!” in the hopes that an expertise exterminator could arrive and handle the situation before I even set foot back in Denver. Instead, a series of messages, none of which I could respond to, gurgled into my phone with the inconsistent persistence of our regurgitated sink water.
MESSAGE 1: I called the landlord and put out traps.
UNDELIVERED REPLY FROM GIRLFRIEND: Shit, okay. I’m sorry this is happening when I’m gone.
Working in first class, I continued to deliver meals and heavy-handed drinks in the hopes that passengers would take a cue from the night sky and conk out. You’d think flight crew member would have a high tolerance for germs and disgusting happenings, heck, even bugs and unclean kitchens, but this is FAR from the truth. Four out of five flight attendants are certified clean F.R.E.A.K.S. because they have seen, I mean, really seen, the horrendous things that people do. (And the fifth flight attendant is either blind, lacks a sense of smell, or never works in the galley, okay people? That’s it). That water on the lavatory floor? That’s not water. So why are you walking around the airplane with your shoes and socks off? Our galleys are wiped down and cleaned out before and after the cleaning crew boards after each flight, because we can’t stand the thought of leaving something dirty for the next crew, who then might have to give something dirty to you. A flight attendant without their plastic gloves is a flight attendant who will legitimately refuse to do trash service, because of that one time, when whats-his-face handed me a bottle of TOBACCO SPIT with a sheepish look on his face and I almost tossed it into the poor passenger’s lap next to him because WHY WOULD YOU GIVE THAT TO ME?! Needless to say, we like things clean, and we’re even known to bring our own supplies to accomplish it.
It was after the cheesecake service, when we had a moment to allow first class to chew, that I pulled out my phone again and saw the newest influx of mousecapades.
MESSAGE 2: I caught the mouse.
MESSAGE 3: He’s still alive.
MESSAGE 4: *undownloadable picture*
MESSAGE 5: Should I end its suffering?
UNDELIVERED REPLY FROM GIRLFIEND: JUST PUT IT FAR AWAY OUTSIDE.
UNDELIVERED REPLY FROM GIRLFIEND: ARE YOU SERIOUSLY GOING TO KILL IT?
UNDELIVERED REPLY FROM GIRLFRIEND: HOLY SHIT WHY CAN’T MY MESSAGES GO THROUGH
MESSAGE 6: Why aren’t you replying? Idk what to do with the mouse.
UNDELIVERED REPLY FROM GIRLFRIEND: OMFG
At this point, I had no choice but to put faith in the partner that I’d chosen, and hope that whatever force guided his hand would be one of mercy. If the mouse was truly wounded, I hoped he’d end the life of the creature swiftly. In the meantime, first class needed cookies - insert Give a Mouse a Cookie jokes here.
Once we had deplaned and boarded our shuttle to the hotel in San Francisco, I checked my phone again, hesitantly, knowing the previous picture had likely downloaded. I also had one new message.
MESSAGE 7: I stabbed it.
IT’S NOT MY FAULT YOUR CITIES HAVE NO PEOPLE IN IT
But really, where are the people? I blame the recent trend of apocalyptic films for leaving me with the eerie sensation that doom has befallen us while walking through any city which has lesser pedestrian traffic than Chicago. So called urban centers like Kansas City, Fort Worth, Houston, Ontario (CA), LA and Baltimore have all led me to message friends asking, “but, like, are there people here?”
I’ve been spoiled with (or forcibly become accustomed to, your call) the 24/7 sardine squishing of pedestrians in the Windy City, and as a result, cannot walk by a block of tall buildings without expecting a handful of other people to similarly be wandering about accomplishing mindless midday and evening tasks. I’ve been told certain cities don’t have a night life outside of the weekend, or simply house people that drive everywhere instead of walking. At this point, I even wonder if the homeless populations have a bigger clue than I do, because they are as disappeared as the rest of the sidewalk traffic I’d unknowingly registered as background noise and “the norm.”
This isn’t to say there is anything wrong with these cities or the way their residents move about their territory. I’m merely pointing out that culture shock can be something as large as a different McDonald’s menu (ok yes, I believe that to be huge, language of the menu aside, you know you’re somewhere else when the Big M must change up their options to appeal to their clientele) or something as small and seemingly insignificant as the number of sirens you hear per minute. I expected my small towns to be quiet, and anything large enough to be deemed a city, not.
I also realize that my descriptions paint Chicago as somewhere high on the apocalyptic spectrum as well – with its vocal homeless and its sirens and its endless shoving and clogging of people. But it’s great, thanks. Please don’t send the feds - looking at you Prez. It’s just got a lot of people, and we reallllly like our public transit.
Again, maybe this is simply Hollywood’s fault, and whether you envision screaming, heated crowds offering you “‘Chi-caygo-style dogs” or the eerie silence of walking by yourself down the supposed Main Street, it’s their fault I can’t help but see the end of the world.
I’M A LIAR
What’s new? I thought I’d be writing about the various cities I’d visited, with a neat little post about each one. Unfortunately – or maybe fortunately for those family members who feel obligated to read this – there isn’t enough time in the day …. Okay, yeah. That’s a lie, too. To be honest, sometimes awesome things don’t happen to me, or a picture is enough to suffice. Do you really want to read paragraphs of description on my monotonous hike up Mt. Rubidoux in Ontario, CA? Probably not. It was hot, and I took some awesome scenic shots. I got up and close with a few cacti, and a man in a fishing hat and naught else was kind enough to take a picture of me on a bridge near the top.
And sometimes, after a four-day trip, I sleep for roughly two days before someone causes my phone to ring loudly enough and long enough to break me out of my slumber. By then, I’m already thinking about the next city, and have forgotten about the last. The truly interesting bits, though, I’ll keep tucked away and tell you all later, I promise.
I also said I wasn’t really going to write about the job which, yup, you guessed it - Maury voices please - THAT WAS A LIE! (If you didn’t catch that joke, I’m just going to send you to this link right here). To be fair, though, I couldn’t have even begun to fathom the absolute batshit crazy that takes place on and around airplanes and layovers.
Like that time on an unspecified airline a woman cried and began filming the crew because she had been bumped from first class due to a FAULTY SEATBELT since she would rather NOT take the extra money to sit one row back, and would have preferred to just fly in the mechanically unsafe seat.
Or the time that a passenger only spoke Chinese, and we had a fifteen-minute conversation first about his connecting flight, then about his kids and hometown, entirely through the back and forth of Google translate.
Oh! And that time I thought I was going to Canada, right up until the moment I checked the flight time and our food stock and realized, hmm, that’s probably not going to get us there, and had a come-to moment which left the entire flight crew laughing for days.
Or, that time I thought I could make it three miles from Fort Worth’s stockyards to my downtown hotel on foot in an effort to 1.) work off the steakburger I’d just consumed (IT WAS A STEAK MADE OUT OF HAMBURGER MEAT, THO) and 2.) not pay for another uber. Nobody mentioned (probably because I didn’t ask) that getting back into the downtown area requires traversing across a highway, and instead of being that girl on the highway, I opted to take the underground route, which led me to a community of very helpful below-bridge dwellers – all of whom were sleeping – but had conveniently created holes in various fence lines which I was able to crawl through, into and out of the swampy area beneath the bridge, and land on the other side quite conveniently, albeit a little cut up and briefly concerned about what, exactly, poison ivy looks like. After which, once again in the recognizable realm of downtown, I popped into a neat little trinket shop muddy shins and all, where I purchased a “Jesus Shaves” mug featuring Christ the Savior trimming his beard with what looks like a Gillette six-blade razor (manly choice!). I found the mug hilarious, and even though there was no cashier to be found, I stood patiently at the counter waving at the security camera and singing odd tunes to myself until one finally appeared from a back room and said, “Oh! Someone here already!” as if I’d only popped in a second ago. I looked firmly at the Jesus mug, thinking that had it been a satirical mug featuring anyone else, I may have just walked out of the store. But I didn’t. I returned home, still shoplift free since seventeen (PSA: I got caught shoplifting at 17, it was terrible, and it didn’t matter that the necklace had somehow become attached to those bedazzled jeans we used to wear as I bumped by a Wal*Mart rack in my newfound body, I WAS HUMILIATED AND NOW ALWAYS CHECK MY BUTT BEFORE LEAVING THE STORE).
Yeah, I’ll tell you about that stuff.
Until next time (that I have a 5 hour dead to Alaska and remember I like slamming my thoughts onto paper),