Flying with Eyes Closed

Flying with Eyes Closed

by A. O. Norris


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781491851531
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 03/10/2014
Pages: 472
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.05(d)

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Copyright © 2014 A.O. Norris
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4918-5153-1


    For a good cup of coffee in
    Raleigh, North Carolina

    May 6th, 2010

    The alarm blares.
    *Wake up.* *Wake up.*
    The sun is peeking
    through the curtains
    and into my eyes.

    What time is it?
    One in the afternoon?
    I have three hours
    before I have to be
    on the plane
    and at work.
    I love late show times.
    I hate the hangovers
    they usually bring.

    I rise from my coffin
    of a bed
    and toss on
    my white tee-shirt
    from yesterday.
    Dirty jeans
    I've worn for the last
    three days of the trip.
    Stupid white sunglasses
    I found on the plane.

    I put on my sandals,
    shuffle my feet
    out of the hotel room
    (Key in the back pocket),
    and down the hall
    like a man on a mission.

    That mission was the same today
    as it was yesterday.
    The same as it will
    more than likely
    be tomorrow.
    The mission:
    Without it,
    I'm dead to the world.

    I'm blinded by the afternoon sun
    as I leave our hotel
    devoid of any fashion sense.
    The glasses do nothing
    to protect my eyes.

    What do I care?
    I'm not likely
    to run into anyone
    in Raleigh I know
    with the exception of
    my fellow flighties
    or pilots.

    They'll be out themselves
    looking for restaurants,
    book stores,
    Wal-marts ...

    Our hotel used to be
    in the middle of nowhere,
    down a winding road,
    surrounded by forest.
    The rooms were large and nice,
    but considering
    we got in to the hotel
    at eleven in the morning
    and didn't leave
    until four
    the next afternoon,
    it left little to do
    apart from sleeping
    the time away.

    The next overnight we have
    will surely be
    only nine hours,
    so I can forgive myself
    if I lay around all day
    when the opportunity
    is there.

    The new hotel we stay at
    doesn't have as many
    nice amenities as we'd like,
    but it's within walking distance
    of the Duke campus,
    the bars,
    and the dangers
    of a long overnight
    somewhere decent.

    I'm hung over.
    I only have myself to blame,
    but it eases the pain
    to blame John instead.
    Whatever, he's a good guy
    and it'd be downright rude
    to refuse a free beer
    or six
    from him.
    He's how all pilots should be.

    We get a deal at Charlie's pub anyway
    since the owner is currently dating
    one of our flight attendants.

    Where can I find
    a good cup of coffee?

    I can be sneaky about it
    if I don't want to pay
    for it.
    Find an oil changing center,
    maybe an office building,
    something of the sort
    with a lobby
    or a waiting area.

    Walk in,
    and stand around
    for a few moments
    as if I'm waiting
    for someone
    or something ...
    maybe check my watch
    and cell phone.

    Then casually stroll
    over to the free coffee stand
    and pour myself a cup.
    Make eye contact
    and smile
    at the receptionist
    as I do so.

    But wait—what's this?
    Only powdered cream?
    You cheap bastards
    couldn't spring
    for the tiny cups of milk?
    The problem
    with the powder
    is that it twists my intestines,
    gives me stomach pains,
    and ultimately
    makes me gassy.
    And a gassy flight attendant
    is not
    a happy flight attendant.

    So what's it going to be today?
    Cheap route for a free cup?
    Or a happily owned
    local joint-
    diner, coffee house,
    or maybe kiosk     in a super market ...
    the hell with it.
    I get paid tomorrow.
    I'm treating myself
    to a cup today.

    It will make the difference
    between a bad day
    and a good day.

    The last thing I'd do
    is settle for the coffee
    in the hotel room.
    That stuff
    tastes like mud.
    Mud flavored coffee
    is the worse.
    And I happen to know
    for a fact
    those coffee pots
    haven't been cleaned
    in ten thousand years.

    The only thing dirtier
    than a hotel coffee pot
    is an airplane coffee pot.

    One good thing
    about the coffee makers
    in the rooms
    is that they sometimes
    come with a decent
    coffee cup.
    And if I like it enough,
    it's mine.

    "Hello, front desk,
    how may I help you?"

    "Hi, sorry to bother you,
    but it seems that house keeping
    didn't bring me any new
    coffee cups
    while cleaning my room ..."

    "Oh, we're so sorry,
    we'll have someone
    send one up right away."

    One stylish,
    new coffee mug
    on the way.
    It's only karma
    when the cup breaks
    in my suitcase
    the next day.

    The phone rings
    in my pocket
    as I make my way
    into town.

    Damn it,
    I bet it's scheduling.
    I can see it now:
    "Hi, is this Charles?
    This is Katie in scheduling.
    We've added another
    two days to your trip,
    with six legs a day.
    Enjoy your weekend
    spent in boring hotels
    while passing blurs of faces,
    early morning show times,
    long days, and best of all,
    nowhere to find
    a good cup of coffee."

    I almost dread
    looking at the phone.
    It could be scheduling,
    but it's not.

    My heart
    is brought to life faster
    than the rest of my dead,
    coffee-less body
    to hear Corazon's voice
    on the other end.

    "Good morning
    my little Monito!
    How are you today?
    What's the time difference
    between there and home?
    You know you called me
    drunk last night,
    and I couldn't stop laughing!
    I hope you're
    enjoying your trip ..."

    The frivolous banter
    we make
    between each other
    as I pass through
    the town
    is enough
    to make the world around me
    become more alive
    than it really is.

    I hang up
    from my happy
    little conversation
    as I enter the empty
    coffee shop.

    "Hi, how are you today?"
    Smiles the cute girl
    behind the counter.

    "Hung over.
    Can I have a medium
    cup of coffee?"

    She laughs
    at my stupid joke
    that harbors truth
    within it
    and I exchange
    my hard-earned two dollars
    for coffee.

    She points to the table behind me
    when I inquire
    as to where I can find
    cream and sugar.

    I place a napkin
    on the table
    and my lid on the napkin
    and smile with delight
    as I look down.
    Ah yes!
    The liquid creamer!
    Victory for Chuck!

    I come to the conclusion
    that today
    is going to be a good day
    as I make my concoction:
    two creams,
    three sugars,
    a stir stick inside,
    and the lid back on.

    I wave goodbye to Mrs.
    as I make my way
    out the door,
    back through town,
    up the hill,
    and into my hotel.

    I return to my cave
    of a room
    and swing open
    the curtains
    to let the day in.

    I slowly drink my coffee
    as I pull on my uniform
    and get ready for work.

    I take one last look
    around the room
    to make sure
    I haven't forgotten anything.

    I roll my suitcase down
    to the lobby.

    John is sitting
    on a couch there
    and smiles
    when he sees me.

    "Good morning man!"
    He says
    with a hangover-free voice
    "Did you know
    that when Chuck Norris
    does a push up,
    he doesn't push himself up,
    he pushes the earth down?"

    We both chuckle
    as the phone
    in my pocket rings.

    His eyes widen
    as an "Uh-oh."
    escapes his lips.

    I look at the phone
    with a smile
    on my face.

    "It's crew scheduling."
    I say.

    "So what
    are you smiling about?"
    he asks.

    "... today
    is going to be
    a good day."
    I reply,
    taking my last
    sip of coffee
    from my cup.


Excerpted from FLYING WITH EYES CLOSED by A.O. NORRIS. Copyright © 2014 A.O. Norris. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


An important message regarding all new hire flight attendants:, vii,
Part I: Bad flight attendant, xiv,
Part II: Flying with eyes closed, 148,
Part III: Re-routing of a flight path, 296,
Part IV: Slow descent, 393,

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