I’m working the very last leg of a three day, three-leg-a-day, trip.
Still with me? Good.
I’m rolling down the aisle behind a 150 pound cart loaded with ice, soda, beer, liquor, and snacks for sale, along with inserts on top filled with cups, napkins, juice, water, and a couple of hot pots of coffee and tea. Nine times out of ten, I’ll probably reach your row and ask the question of the day: “Would you care for something to drink?”
And three times out of five the response will be, “Wha?” And that’s a wha without the T.
Normally when faced with this type of situation, I force a smile, grab a napkin, and wave it while eyeing the tray table locked in the closed position in front of you. “Something to drink?” I’ll ask again, and while I ask this question I find myself wondering why you haven’t taken off the Ipod or those giant Bose noise cancellation headsets covering your ears when you see me standing at your row.
“Wha?” you ask again, scrunching your eyebrows together, because, for some reason, you’re not understanding what I’m saying, even though I’ve been standing behind a beverage cart for the last fifteen minutes slowly inching my way towards you.
I try again, “Drink, something to drink?” now playing a game of charades as I put a pretend cup to my lips and tilt my head back, repeating the word, “Drink? Drink?”
Finally the headset comes off, you smile, and I actually hear, “I’m sorry what?”
This is not a Saturday Night Live parody. This is a real life conversation that happens more often than not on flights each and every day. It happens over and over and over. In fact, it happens so often that I can no longer bring myself to ask the question – again. So I just hand you a can of Coke with a cup of ice and move the cart to the next row. I’m sorry, but three strikes you’re out! Other people are waiting.
Lately flight attendants have gotten a bad rap. Trust me, I’ve heard the horror stories. And I know they’re out there, the bad flight attendant, because I, too, have had to work with a few of those flight attendants. It’s not fun for either of us. But keep in mind there are also good flight attendants out there who really do enjoy their job. Like me. But even I get annoyed and a little short when I encounter a passenger like the one above. Remember I have now asked the question, “would you care for something to drink?” which has been shortened to “something to drink?” and shortened again to just “drink!” AT LEAST 960 times in the last three days. And that doesn’t count the number of times I’ve been ignored, causing me to ask the same person the same question three times in a row. It’s the kind of thing that could make a flight attendant go a little crazy. Or maybe a lot crazy. So crazy she may actually rip a piece of paper off the cart, grab a strip of tape, scribble a barely legible note, tape it to her airline ID and wear the thing around her neck as she rolls down the aisle behind the heavy cart.
“Something to drink?”
I grab the ID around my neck, the one with the scribbled note that reads, Drink? Please answer! and hold it up with a smile.
The passenger nods, and asks, “What do ya have?”
I take a deep breath. “Coke. Diet Coke. Pepsi. Diet Pepsi. Sprite. Diet Sprite. Dr. Pepper. Diet Dr. Pepper. Ginger Ale. Diet Ginger Ale. Club Soda. Apple Juice. Cranapple Juice. Orange Juice. Tomato Juice. Grapefruit Juice. Coffee. Tea. Water. Tonic Water.”
“Umm…I’ll take a Coke.”
Still with me?