Thursday, May 19, 2011

Desiree Grosse

A brief update about me:  I have not been writing the blog lately as I have been in storytelling school, developing the story that appeared in the blog in February entitled Story Time.  I am fortunate to have two amazing instructors (Julie Ganey and Amanda Delheimer) and five other talented, lovely, supportive fellow students to work alongside.  Crafting stories is a time consuming and strangely emotional process…there are joys and frustrations that hit you upside the head without warning and no story ends up being about what you thought it would be about when you started it.  Between that and doing cognitive behavioral work as well as sky hostess work, I’ve been inundated with projects of late.  But I wanted to take a few minutes to share some thoughts about a very important person.
I started flying a little over ten years ago.  When I was new and bright eyed, I got a trip on reserve (for non-airline folks, that means I was on call and got assigned a trip that needed coverage at the last minute)  It was a coveted trip that another senior stew had called in sick for, with decent pay and nice overnights (Orlando and Portland), and senior co-workers.  Big league action!  I had the honor of flying with Desiree Fayne and Karla Kozak and had the time of my life.  Desiree had a reputation for being bigger than life at the airline and after knowing her one day, she lived up to it.  She commuted to work in Oakland from Paris (France, not Texas), a place she moved to without knowing how to speak French.  She brought fancy food for everyone on the crew and served it on REAL plates that she kept in her tote bag.  She also carried a French press coffee machine and made the pilots coffee that she served to them in china coffee cups.  She commanded and demanded respect, all the while keeping a great sense of humor and putting people at ease.  Our Orlando overnight was straight from the “THIS Is How We Do It” manual, a book I hadn’t yet read.  We reported to the Radisson bar and proceeded to drink champagne and shots of Tuaca, having first rate hilarious conversations where they showed me that smart, funny ladies who take NO SHIT had this pink collar job and this made my heart SING.  The night ended with Karla and I smoking Dunhills and the three of us attempting to speak Italian to a magician Karla had found while buying the cigarettes who bared a striking resemblance to Rasputin.  I barely remember what I had for breakfast a few hours ago, but this night will stick with me forever.
I saw Desiree off and on while I was based in Oakland, mostly in the crew lounge where we would chat about work and our mutual love of Eddie Izzard.  I subsequently heard she left the biz and had gotten married and moved to British Columbia.  I found her on Facebook and was thrilled to catch up with her and hear about her latest developments.
Recently Des was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer.  Her husband Sven has been keeping us informed of her condition;  not only the news but his candid thoughts about his love for her, his feelings of helplessness and pain, and his insistence that we all should take time to recognize and value what is going on in our lives RIGHT NOW.  I have never met Sven, but I find solace in knowing that Desiree married someone so worthy and appreciative of her incredible spirit.
The next time I’m annoyed that someone in front of me in line doesn’t understand how to use the U-scan self check out machine and it’s taking away from my personal time that I spend looking at 80’s music videos on youtube, I intend to remember that the world is filled with people who want only more time to live and people who want only more time to love them.
Thanks for reading.  More soon.