May 20th, 1990

May 20th, 1990

At home

With the prospect of having my own place,  I spent much of the day looking at furniture and came to the conclusion that I basically want everything for sale in Habitat.

No word yet from Harvey on whether the owners accepted my offer but hopefully by the time I leave for Antigua it’ll all be sorted. I’d hate to leave with that in limbo, especially since I’ll be out of touch for two weeks.

Tried ringing David but no reply so I left a message on his machine saying it’d be great to talk to him before I leave the country again!

By tonight, I felt utterly restless so mum suggested we go to the pictures, where she drooled over Richard Gere and I did the same over Andy Garcia! I think the film was called “Internal Affairs,” that’s how little attention I paid to it, but it passed the time.

Just tried David again but this time I didn’t bother leaving a message. Ugh!

 

May 19th, 1990

May 19th, 1990

At home

Very exciting day!

Went out early this morning with dad and while we were driving around, dad spotted a For Sale sign on a building he knows I’ve long admired. The agency advertising it was just around the corner so we popped in. The woman at the front desk was very intimidating looking and said I wouldn’t be able to get in to view it until Monday at the earliest, but fortunately at that moment, a young chap appeared and said if we came back in an hour, he’d walk us over.

I liked it the minute I stepped inside and saw the French doors leading from the living room out to a small patio, strewn with terra cotta pots that reminded me of the stairway at David’s place. Harvey (the estate agent) urged us to look beyond the vast array of toys practically covering every square inch of the floor in the living room, hallway and two bedrooms.

“What do you think?” Harvey asked.

“I quite like it,” I said, trying not to give too much away.

“Enough to make an offer?”

“I’m not sure, I have to think about it.”

“Don’t wait too long,” he said, sounding like an estate agent. “Something like this won’t last, especially on this street. I’ll be in the office all day if you decide to do something.”

The second Harvey was out of earshot, I asked dad what he thought.

“I like that it has that secure entrance to the building. And the parking is close so you wouldn’t have far to walk with your suitcase.”

“Hmmmm, that’s a good point. Do you think I should make an offer?”

“It’s a nice wee place but you’ve talked about getting a house.”

“I know but I can’t afford a house in this area so maybe I start with a flat and work my way up?”

Twenty minutes later, Harvey looked like the cat that got the cream when he looked up and saw us.

“So?”

“I want to make an offer.”

“Good decision,” he said, practically rubbing his hands together. “But first, we need to talk about financing.”

“I’m already approved for a mortgage,” I stated.

Careful you don’t choke on that cream, Harvey, I thought, as a smirk took over his chubby face.

So, now we play the waiting game and see where it goes. Harvey cat said if the offer gets accepted, I could be moving in, in as little as four weeks!

 

March 26th, 1990

March 26th, 1990

At home

“Och, I forgot to tell you,” were the first words out of mum’s mouth this morning. “Jon phoned while you were in Paris and apparently, you were supposed to phone and let him know if you were going to see him or not.”

“Shit, I completely forgot.”

“Don’t swear.”

“Sorry. Did he sound annoyed?”

“Does he ever?”

I laughed. “No, never. I really hope he meets a great girl who absolutely adores him.”

“Aye so do I, he deserves it.”

“Oh, so you’ve given up all hope of us being together?”

“Aye, well I heard a wee bit of your conversation with David last night.”

“Mum!”

“Uff, I couldnae help it when I was going in and out of the kitchen and it’s no as if you were in your room and I was outside the door listening.”

“Which is probably what you’d do if I had a phone in my bedroom.”

Her smirk gave her away.

“Mum, you’re so nosey!”

“I cannae help it,” she said. “You’re my lassie.”

“I know,” I said in a huffy tone, “But I’d appreciate at least some level of privacy. Especially when I’m on the phone.”

She chuckled.

“What?”

“You,” she smiled. “You sound more American every time you talk to David.”

Lovely evening with Sarah and Lucy at The Swan, one of my favourite pubs. Sarah was talking a million miles a minute but Lucy was much more subdued. Of the three of us, Lucy is definitely the quiet one, so much so in fact that I sometimes feel I don’t know her as well as I should after almost ten years of being friends.

It’s interesting witnessing the various directions our lives are moving in but I love that no matter where we end up, we’ll always have the shared experience of our school years. Even if we do have three different versions of all that happened!

March 21st, 1990

March 21st, 1990

At home

I’d hate to be in Mandy’s ugly, white plastic shoes. Her so called boyfriend is a nightmare and a mean spirited, argh, I don’t even know what to call him. Actually, I do but I’m not willing to soil my diary with filth.

I’d planned on going to Paris on the afternoon flight and arranged to meet Jean Jacques at Charles de Gaulle. I made a point of telling him the purpose of my visit, which was to look at some properties I’d seen advertised in the paper. Jean Jacques offered not only to make the appointments but said he’d be happy to drive me around the countryside.

But then you know who rang and asked if I wanted to meet him after work and grab something to eat and instead of saying no and continuing with my Paris plans, I stupidly, regrettably said yes.

 

I knew from the minute I saw him that he was in one of his what I call weird, distant moods but as usual I pretended everything was fine and started rambling on about all sorts of nonsense, none of which he responded to.

I said I’d wait outside the shop for him to finish his shift and my instinct was telling me to make some excuse about having to leave but of course I completely ignored it and sat like a fool, waiting for him.

When he came outside, he was in no better a mood and mumbled something about not being hungry.

“Oh,” I uttered. “I thought you wanted to get something to eat.”

“I’ve changed my mind.”

“Oh, ok, do you want to just have a look around the shops then?”

“Nah, I think I’ll go home.”

Looking back, I really should’ve let him have it but it was my own stupid fault for agreeing to meet him in the first place, when I should’ve stuck to my guns and got on the plane. And, to make matters worse, instead of leaving him there, I said I’d drive him home. Honestly! What is wrong with me?

Mum is none too pleased that I didn’t go to Paris, which is ironic given the fact she usually refers to Jean Jacques as “a slimey wee worm.” However, she did agree that if I’m going to look at houses in France, it makes sense for me to do it with someone who speaks fluent French.

I left a message for Jean Jacques but I haven’t heard from him yet.

Ugh! When will I ever learn?

 

December 15th, 1989

December 15th, 1989

At home

Went shopping with mum and felt sad knowing I’ll be away for Christmas (on a trip with Frankie that will, no doubt, be very interesting!) Mum mentioned more than once that Christmas won’t be the same without not only me around, but also Nana.

I have lovely memories of helping Nana wrap our gifts, then feigning surprise when I opened mine on the day.

“It’s just what I wanted,” I’d say, laughing.

“I’m so glad you like it, hen,” Nana would say, avoiding eye contact with me for fear of cracking up laughing.

I do feel bad I won’t be here, especially this year, where things have been difficult for mum and dad but more than ever I know it’s time for me to move out. I’ve been thinking about Christopher’s offer of helping me get set up somewhere in New York in an apartment that I’d rent (no way could I afford to buy there.) I still love the idea of buying a place in France but New York captures (and holds!) my attention unlike anywhere else and I can imagine “popping in,” to see Christopher (the only person I’d know in New York!) on my days off.

I know plenty of cabin crew who commute, ok maybe not to New York but with the short flight time, I think I could make it work.

 

December 4th, 1989

December 4th, 1989

Flight from LHR – MCT

Hotel Inter Continental, Muscat, Oman

Flight time was just under eight hours but we were chocka so no crew rest. Lovely passengers, albeit very demanding, with one very sweet older woman who reminded me of Nana. Needless to say, she was very well taken care of, so much so in fact that she remarked it was her best flight ever and right before she disembarked, she gave me a huge hug and told me she’d been back in the UK to bury her sister. Took everything I had not to burst into tears and it reminded me that you never know what someone is going through.

Ben rang while I was still at home this morning, asking when I’ll be back. “In a week,” I said, which is a lie because I’ll be home in a few days. Granted, we just had the most fantastic few days together but that doesn’t mean I’m going to allow myself to fall into my old habits and act like a fool. I have no intention of doing that again. Not ever. Not with anyone.

We arrived in Muscat just before seven tonight and most of my crew arranged to meet in the hotel bar but I wasn’t in the mood for socializing. I feel really sad about Nana and thought my time would be better spent alone, writing.

After we left Scotland for England eight years ago, I didn’t get to see Nana as much as I did growing up but she still spent every Christmas with us and I made sure to get up to Scotland to visit as much as I could. Plus, we talked on the phone frequently and wrote all the time. I’m finding it hard to come to terms with the fact I’ll never see Nana again. Or even talk to her. Somehow, that part feels worse than knowing never seeing her again.

It’s two in the morning and I’ve been cocooned in this lush, ridiculously comfortable bed for hours on end. As usual, I’ve already used up every scrap of hotel stationery, most of which is now strewn across this giant bed. Ah, I’m in total bliss!

Needless to say, some of what I wrote has to do with Ben. I actually wrote a letter to him earlier but after I read it, I tore it up. I know I need to step away from him. I don’t think I’m ready just yet to let go completely but I think I’m getting close.

 

November 11th, 1989

November 11th, 1989
At home

“Hey Karen, it’s David.”
Ah, that voice. “David! Hello! You’re up early.”
“Oh I guess old habits die hard,” he laughed.
“The beauty of a routine filled life.”
“I’ll bet that’s something you don’t get as a flight attendant.”
“Not at all,” I said.
“I know I have a hard time dealing with different time zones when I travel.”
“Actually I do too. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.”
“Well I’m surprised you picked up, I figured I’d be talking to your mom first.”
Instinctively, I looked upstairs and felt a pang of sadness.
“Hey Karen? You there?”
“Yes.”
“Are you ok?” he asked.
“Eh, yeah, sorry. My mum’s actually not been feeling well recently.”
“Oh that’s too bad. Does she have like the flu, or something?”
“Something like that,” I said, not quite knowing what else to say.
“Okay, tell your mom I hope she gets better soon.”
“I will, thanks,” I said, suddenly feeling like I might cry.
“So, I was talking to a buddy of mine here at work who knows Tokyo pretty well and he said I can take a train from Tokyo to Narita.”
“Oh, that sounds promising.”
He laughed. “I love your expressions.”
I felt myself blush. “So, eh, do you think you might want to do that?”
“Sure, if it’s ok with you?”
“Absolutely, it’d be great to meet up.”
“Cool. Okay, I had another idea.”
“Go ahead.”
He laughed again. “How about if I get a room at your hotel? I could stay for two nights before I go home?”
Several visions of us “Going To London,” together flew through my head and I felt my cheeks flush again.
“That sounds like a great idea.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Absolutely. Let’s do it.”

September 20th, 1989

September 20th, 1989

Hilton Hotel, Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates

In the briefing room yesterday at check-in, after a quick scan of my crew, I concluded that half of us are under the age of twenty-five. That fact alone ought to have been a clue that this trip might be a bit on the wild side.

When we arrived last night, Mr. Fenwick (as we’re affectionately calling him) invited everyone to his room for a party. I wasted no time showering, changing and making my way to his room, where, surprisingly, most of my crew were already on their second drinks!

Several bottles of fizz later, someone suggested, “Popping downstairs to the Safari club.” On the dance floor, I met a gorgeous guy from Cape Town, called Marc. He was a fantastic dancer and we all know what a sucker I am for a guy who can dance.

For hours on end, we went from the dance floor to the bar (I was playing “how much Champagne can Karen consume in one night?”) Marc told me he works for a Dutch engineering company and is here on a business trip. When he asked what I was doing here, I said I was on a business trip (I kind of am!)

When Simply Red’s, “It’s Only Love,” came on, Marc and I danced pretty close together, which I’m not going to say was at all unpleasant. I sensed I’d gone well over my bubbles limit when, halfway through the song, our lips found each other. With a guy as good looking as he is, it’d be too easy to get carried away but instead of falling into that all too familiar territory, I excused myself.

On my way to the loo (slightly cursing myself for being sensible) the gaudy purple and gold carpet seemed to take on a life of it’s own, which made me chuckle. I pushed open the ridiculously heavy door to the loo and saw a girl resembling Frankie. She had her back to me and was bent halfway over, drying her hair under the hand dryer, but when I clocked her outfit I knew for sure it was Frankie.

I went over and tapped her on the shoulder. Her body shot up and she screamed when she saw me. In rapid-fire fashion, the questions began:

“When did you arrive?”

“How long are you here?”

“What’s your crew like?”

“Are you on the Delhi, KL trip?”

“How are you?”

I forgot to ask how she got her hair wet!

Back on the dance floor, I kept a safe distance from Marc, which I have to say wasn’t really my first choice but I knew if we danced again, there’d be more kissing and that’s usually when things begin to get complicated. I definitely wasn’t in the mood for complicated last night.

Needless to say, with the addition of Frankie’s presence, it ended up being more of an early morning than a late night. And tonight wasn’t much tamer! We (I think there were twenty-two of us in total!) started out at the Mexican restaurant at the Sheraton Hotel, which was surprisingly good. I ate Mexican food for the first time this year, in Florida, with Gabriel and while I chomped on chips and salsa tonight, I thought about him.

From the Sheraton, we came back to the hotel and stopped in Safari but only for a little while because it was pretty dead (no sign of Marc, phew!) We lost most of the more senior crew (the over thirty crowd) at that point but at least a dozen of us were still raring to go. Mr. Fenwick, who is definitely over thirty, suggested a nightcap at the Carousel club so the diehards made our way there.
Frankie and I danced like maniacs, until she spotted a blond guy she previously met here. A guy, at least a foot taller than her, who she calls, “The Viking.”

 

September 12th, 1989

September 12th, 1989

Shuttle from BDA – TPA – BDA

Considering the amount of rum I consumed last night, I felt extremely well today!

Met Kimberly and a few girls from our crew first thing and made our way to Macmillan’s for breakfast. Kimberly moved her pancakes from one side of the plate to the other and didn’t touch a morsel. I had eggs benedict, which I love and consequently devoured but I was still hungry and was sorely tempted to ask Kimberly if I could pinch a pancake but of course I didn’t. I guess there’s a reason why Kimberly weighs about two stone less than me!

The five of us strolled back to the hotel and I asked if anyone was interested in sitting by the pool. Nobody was, so I went to my room and grabbed the bag of books I’ve been lugging all over the place.

I sat in the shade by the pool and didn’t recognize any of the other crew (so easy to spot!) which was great because I got to witness how we, as crew, might come across to others. Loud, confident and slightly obnoxious were just a few of my observations.

I soon got bored watching the antics of the different “types” of people parading and sunbathing so I stuck my nose in Hemingway’s, “A Farewell To Arms,” and almost cried over Catherine Barkley’s tragic demise. What a great, but sad, book.

Later today, we operated the Tampa shuttle, which was easy and actually quite enjoyable. Unfortunately I forgot my Filofax so I didn’t get a chance to ring Miriam or Liza.

It was late when we got back so nobody wanted to go out, which was fine by me. I wasted no time changing, got into bed and wrote a mega long letter to David, that I’ll pop in with his birthday card. I wonder where he’ll be on his birthday.

I just started a new book by Margaret Atwood called, “Cat’s Eye,” which I’m already enjoying so much that I might actually stay up until I finish it.

Regardless of whether I stay up or not, I can hear my liver thanking me for staying in!

 

July 26, 1989

July 26th, 1989

Penang, Malaysia

What a day!

Kimberly and I were up early and took a taxi to the Golden Sands resort, where we rented bikes and had an enjoyable time cycling along the path adjacent to the beach. Somehow, we veered off the path and found ourselves in a heavily treed area, where we came across an old woman sitting outside a house. I don’t what compelled us to stop but we did.

Even with the language barrier, we were able to ascertain that the woman had three young children and a husband who, judging by her gestures was a very large man. She also had a monkey and when she opened the cage, the monkey jumped out and landed on the ground. Then he looked up at Kimberly and leapt up, into her arms. She let out a scream, more from surprise than fear (I think!) and I tried my best not to laugh when the monkey started stroking Kimberly’s cheek with more than a look of longing in his eyes!

There were birds flying everywhere and at one point the woman whistled and several of them landed on her arm. By now, the children were standing in the makeshift doorway watching us. They seemed reluctant to come outside but when they did I gave them what was left of the roll of Rowntree’s fruit pastilles I brought from home. They smiled while they chomped on the sweets and I wished I had more to give them.

When the monkey was safely back in his cage, the woman held her hands out to us and Kimberly and I held one hand each, while the woman recited something that sounded like a prayer. When she was done, she smiled and passed each of us a small piece of jade and signaled that we should always carry it with us.

We found our way back to the beach path then made a stop at a little craft shop where I found a gorgeous silver ring that I slipped on my finger the second I paid for it. At the beach, we took a walk and got asked by several groups of people if they could have their picture taken with us. We agreed that the attraction is clearly the blonde hair neither of us was born with!
It was while we were getting ready to leave the beach that I discovered my purse was missing. I thought that maybe I’d left it at the craft shop so we cycled back in the hope that someone found it. Fortunately, the man I bought the ring from spoke excellent English but unfortunately my purse was nowhere to be found. He offered to call the police and before I could explain that wouldn’t be necessary, two police officers appeared in the shop.
This is the second time this year I’ve given a theft related statement to the police! The policemen were thorough in their questioning and spoke decent English but they didn’t understand what I meant when I said my ID card was in my purse. Kimberly took it upon herself to try and explain the importance of locating my ID.

“She might have to go home to England if we don’t find it.” Her nasally Manchester accent sounded thicker than ever. “Our ID is like a passport. You know passport?” she asked.

They each nodded their heads, more in a gesture of bewilderment than understanding.

“As cabin crew,” she continued, her voice getting louder by the second, “Our ID is what we use to get on the aircraft.”

More baffled expressions.

“You know aircraft?” she asked, flapping her arms.

“Thanks Kimberly,” I said signing my name and contact info on the bottom of the statement page, “But I don’t think my purse is here.”

We returned the rental bikes and caught the bus back to the hotel, where I rang Elaine (our CSD) in Kuala Lumpur. While I was explaining to her what happened, I started crying.

“Let me make some calls to London,” she said, sounding very calm, “and I’ll see what I can do.”

“I’m so sorry,” I uttered over and over again.

“Don’t worry, these things happen,” she said trying her best to reassure me.

“Have you ever had someone lose their ID down route?”

“No, I haven’t actually, so this will be a first for me too.”

“Do you think I’ll be sent home?” I sniffled.

“I don’t know,” she stated. “Keep your chin up and we’ll hope for the best.”

I was so annoyed with myself that I didn’t feel like going out tonight. Kimberly suggested room service so we ordered a ton of food (most of which I scoffed) and watched “Raising Arizona,” with Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter. I really love that film and watching it again (I’ve seen it at least a dozen times) lifted my mood.

Just as we were about to call it a night, Kimberly found gold when she clicked on a channel with Tina Turner in concert. What an amazing entertainer she is. Kimberly and I jumped up on our beds and tried to impersonate her. During “River Deep, Mountain High,” Kimberly jumped off the bed and grabbed her ID off the table. Up on the bed again, swinging the lanyard attached to her ID, I cracked up laughing when she crooned into her fake microphone, “If I lost you would I cry.”

We remained on our beds for the rest of the concert, singing and dancing, but not only do we not have Tina’s voice, we don’t have her legs either.