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From the jump seat to the gunner seat: Golden Girls and Fribbles from Friendlys
So here I was...in Houston. All by myself. I was standing in my hotel room looking outside at some dilapidated pool wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. As a trainee I was given a hotel room with two double beds and a roommate. That was the crapshoot, who would she be? It didn't take me long to find out.
"Hark, there's my new roommate!" said Dorris. She was a sassy sixty-something who was dressed to the nines and vaguely resembled "Blanch" from the Golden Girls. I was pleasantly surprised that she was normal, seemingly fun and inviting. I was excited to have met my very first person from the class of 2004. Now it was time for school....
On the first day of class we all shuffled into the Continental training room and you could tell that everyone was nervous and sizing each other up. There were flight attendants who had worked for Pan Am and other legacy airlines and then there were the rest of us. The newbies.
I'd like to take a break and introduce the "Fribbles incident from 2004". It's a thing. We were all sitting in class and discussing the use of an Automatic External Difibrillator (AED) and the tone was serious as this is a device that can literally bring somebody back from the dead. Then it happened. Some much needed comic relief.
Emma raised her hand. She was a blonde, cheerful thing with freckles and the cutest smile I had ever seen. She seemed aloof and silly but the girl was smart (well, I found this out later, NOT by her first impression).
She had her hand up, waving like that kid in fifth grade who NEEDED attention and finally our class leader, Tina (zydeco), called on her. "Yes, Emma?" she said. And Emma says, "Well, the word difibrillator reminds me of fribbles from Friendlys and that just makes me happy."
Then copious amounts of laughter because, seriously, who says that out loud? Seriously? Who equates a life-saving device to dessert? You know who? Emma. Who was now fondly referred to as Fribbles. She got stuck with that nickname well into her flight attendant career. It was only fitting.
I knew right then that she might really be someone I should know. But first, I had to break my "new girl" status. That would take some work.
There's something to be said for the new girl. She's fresh, excited and utterly out of her element. Nothing made me feel more "new" than my first night at the hotel bar.
As trainees we were put up in a Holiday Inn near the Houston airport (I'll let you figure out which one - shouldn't be tough) and with that came three, paid for, square meals a day and a bar. A BAR! I had just turned 21 so you can imagine that this was my Mecca for the next month. I expected to see some of the other trainees there but what I didn't expect was the high-class game of chess at a bar or the weird guy who warned me about being too expressive for fear of future wrinkles in my forehead. Welcome to Houston people.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, please direct your attention to the front of the cabin for your safety demonstration" Believe me, you'll need it.