Friday, March 5, 2010

Going To California

The older I get and with all of my ever changing moods, I like to look back in time and remember the places I have been, the places I have visted and the places I have lived. There have been many and each of them holds a piece of my heart or a corner of my mind.

California....I moved there on a total whim. In a split second I threw caution to the wind and raised my hand to go. I was in Dallas, Texas in an American Airlines flight attendant training course for 8 weeks. Back in the day, since I have no idea how they do things, now, you went to a classroom and everyone was seated. It was late, late in the evening and the instructors came in with a list of bases (airports) that would have openings for us after we graduated. All along, I figured I would just go with the safe choice and pick Chicago. I was from the midwest, had gone to college in Kentucky and my mother strongly was telling me to go to Chicago. Chicago also was a very junior base. In flight attendant lingo, that meant that it was all young flight attendants with about 5 years experience or less. Great for holding schedules, decent cost of living and a great commuter base if you didn't want to live in Chicago.

So, as we sat, we all knew that Chicago would open up and New York would open up and Dallas would open up. The instructors had told us all along that these would be our choices. That night, though, they rushed in full of excitement. This never happens, they said. Once in a million years, they said. The senior bases of both San Francisco and Los Angeles were.....OPENING!!! No junior flight attendants ever get to go to these bases. (Again, back in the day).

They told us we had 5 minutes...5 minutes to decide our next step. I sat....I stared....I heard my mother's voice saying...Chicago. And then, a memory flashed into my head. And, a song.

The memory was from my high school years and the neighborhood where I grew up. There were not many girls in my neighborhood so a lot of the neighborhood guys were my friends and had been since elementary years. One of the guys was my faithful friend at all times. And, to this day, he remains a best friend to both Mr. Man and me. He actually was one of Mr. Man's bffs in high school. Anyway, before any of us were old enough to get our driver's license, we motored around on our bikes. Our ten speeds. And, this friend and I did a lot of biking in the summers. And, a lot of talking...about California. We both had hippie in our hearts and since we were good friends, we shared a lot of talk about going to California. Not together, because we were just pals, but each of us exploring California. So, when I was sitting in that classroom and my 5 minutes were almost coming to an end, they started to call out the bases. We were each to raise our hands so that they could count the numbers and make sure each base had room. The Chicago base was called and it was time to raise my hand. But all of a sudden, I remembered my old friend and our very old conversations about California and the Led Zeppelin song that I listened to over and over and over.....and I didn't raise my hand. I watched as the Chicago base filled up. And, when they called the California bases, I raised my hand...

Without a thought or a care or a worry, I was going to California.

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