Behind the Glamour
“So are you going to be a pilot in the future?” a Japanese old lady asked me, picking her teeth with a toothpick. Her heavy make up reminded me of the term “dryland farming”, which I learnt in the Geography class – nothing really grows despite the farmers’ endless efforts. Her wrinkles and lines cracked open every inch of her face. Her mouth was way too red for her age, her purple eye shadow like bruises caused by her violent husband at home.
“No, I don't think I will,” I replied in Japanese, shaking my head. “Oh, so you will just be a flight attendant,” she mumbled, still picking her teeth. Just. A disapproving JUST. You will just never be as brilliant as those sitting in the cockpit. Your job is just cleaning toilets for people. You just collect passengers’ leftovers.
She handed me her meal tray – things on it were scattered literally everywhere. I tired a bit too hard to push it into the cart, soy sauce spiting onto my trousers, my hands all dirty. “Thank you,” I forced a smile.
The first day I officially flew, a senior told me, her voice serious but kind, “spending a year or two fooling around does you no harm, but please leave as soon as possible my son.” In only a few years, my university schoolmates have become pilots, teachers, PR mavens or anything considered “successful”.
Society forces you to think in certain way. And then regret.
What do I want to say? I honestly have never, ever, looked down on my job. Many of my colleagues are in fact from prestigious schools with decent degrees, and most important of all, we, too, have dreams. Our free time and flexibility find us these missing facets of the puzzle.
I don’t think I alone can change the status quo. But if you are one of us, please be proud of yourself. I’m sure you are probably very pretty, pretty smart, and definitely smile prettily! Don’t lose heart my dear, only because people don’t understand what you are doing “secretly” to fulfil your dreams.
Next time when people say you are just a pretty vase, ask them: What do you put in a beautiful vase? Of course beautiful flowers.