Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bah Humbug

I woke up at a very dark 4:30am Thursday to fly home to Florida for Christmas. It was freezing. The airport was packed. The automated ticket kiosk at JetBlue flashed "error" when I tried to print my boarding pass, forcing me into a line that snaked around the terminal. The man behind me bumped my heels with his luggage cart no less than three times. The flight was delayed 90 minutes. I had to wait until the sold-out plane boarded to receive my seat assignment.

Once finally in my window seat I prepared to wrap my face in my scarf and sleep away the less than pleasant first few hours of my long weekend.

Her squeaky voice ripped onto the loudspeaker as soon as I buckled my seat belt.

"A very toasty warm and merry Christmas to each and every one of you!" the stewardess spoke to us like kindergartners. Her strawberry red side ponytail bounced as she paced the aisle.

"Looks like we're all bringing way too many gifts in our sleighs," she explained the packed overhead compartments in a dolphin-friendly pitch. She used "mmmkaays"and "okie dokies." She took at least 8 minutes to introduce the crew and explain how they were all her very best friends.

I rolled my eyes and sighed audibly. It was before 8am. Day before Christmas or not, that woman was out of control.

I dialed up the volume on my iPod and prayed that perky Ms. Claus would lay off the loudspeaker.

She didn't. Even after 2 hours of useless announcements and overhearing her strike up small talk with half the passengers on the plane, nothing could have prepared me for her sign-off.

Seconds after we landed she cleared her throat and began:

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride on a JetBlue Airplane. HEY!"

My jaw dropped as she started to shriek the second verse.

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. I hope you all have a great day in TAMPA BAY!"

I had had it. I was ready to huff and puff and roll my eyes. But before I could, as soon as she finished, the packed airplane erupted in applause and cheers. Children laughed. Couples kissed. Strangers hugged.
I nervously joined the second wave of applause.

Yup, It dawned on me fast. I was the Grinch.

I was a stone cold, eye-rolling, too cool for school New York bit*h, utterly appalled by a cheery stranger.

I slunk into my seat, ashamed. Yes, our little ginger flight attendant was painfully annoying and I'm certain other passengers wanted her to shut the falalala up, but I hated her at first toothy smile. She wished us a Merry Christmas and I was ready to strangle her with the navy blue handkerchief tied around her neck.

New Yorkers aren't well known for their friendliness. They're an impatient breed rumored to give wrong directions to tourists and flip people off without provocation. New Yorkers are harder, louder and tougher.

I've always carefully left myself out of that classification- New Yorker, that is. I'm a Florida girl living in New York, and there's a big difference. I'm nice. I'm approachable. I won't intercept the cab you've been waiting 20 minutes to hail.

And now, apparently, I despise people who sing Christmas carols?
How long do you have to live in a city before you qualify for their stereotypes?

A few days later on Christmas Eve, I unwrapped a scarf a close family friend gifted me. When I went to try it on, my dad volunteered a good way to wear it.

I shook my head no and retied it, "No, no this is how a New Yorker wears it," I explained moving the knot to the front.

"New Yorker, huh?" he asked.

Like it or not, I guess so.