hi. i have this thing that i do every time i fly. i look at and listen to the flight attendants when they do their security machinations before takeoff. i call them machinations, because many times it feels just like that. the entire process often has the air of "you know how to buckle, read and breathe and put on the mask before others and top off the air in the life jacket with these phallic tubes. and i know that you know how to do all those things, which is why i fake put on the oxygen mask because i don't want those stinking elastic bands getting caught in my hair, as i'm meeting my philadelphia affair at the airport marriott when we land."
however, i still give the flight attendants my full attention. it is one of my flight rituals. we'll talk about why the tray-table latch needs to be perfectly vertical another time (let's just say it improves aerodynamics.) For me, it makes that three minutes more bearable. i'd rather stare at them and hear the same information over and over again than see them up there going through the motions to a plane full of people utterly ignoring them.
yesterday, i was looking at the 50-something male flight attendant as he gave the demonstrations. we were 5 rows from each other, but he saw me looking at him. we held a gaze several times, and i could see that he understood that i was paying attention. all around, my fellow passengers were reading, checking messages (umm, excuse me, but the forward doors are closed), chatting with seat mates or trying to open the obsolete ashtrays that have either been glued or chewing-gummed shut. the briefing ended and he slowly wrapped up this faux seatbelt, oxygen mask and folded the safety card. as he walked past me to his station at the rear of the aircraft, he reached out and patted me on the shoulder 3 times. pat pat pat.
maybe he was glad that someone gave him some respect. perhaps he thought i was a first time flyer and took in every word so as to survive our impending doom. maybe he wanted me at the airport marriott, i don't know.
we took off and he served me the sprite i asked for.