Four days a week I work overnight at SeaTac airport. I report for work at 9 PM and get off in the wee or not-so-wee hours of the morning, depending on the workload. When I tell people about my schedule they inevitably groan in sympathy and wonder aloud how I stand it. Truth is, I kind of like the weird hours. I’ve always been a night owl anyway, so instead of dragging myself out of bed in the morning to go to a regular job, I jump right into bed when I get home, get up in the afternoon and have some free time before I head into work.
There’s also something kind of cool about being on the ramp overnight. At the beginning of the shift the airport is a busy place and I have to take care to avoid taxiing planes and zipping baggage handlers’ tugs as I do my job. Round midnight it quiets down and it’s just us mechanics and the airplanes, peacefully co-existing.
Sometimes it’s foggy.
The other night I was going to the hangar for something and saw the red of marshallers’ wands, appearing to wave a plane into the gate. Trouble was, I couldn’t see the plane anywhere, and I wasn’t about to cross its intended path without knowing where it was. Finally I saw the faint, pulsing red glow of a plane’s anti-collision lights, barely piercing the fog. I did not see a plane attached, but I had to assume it was there – fortunately still far enough away for me to cross in front.
And then there are the uniforms. I think because this job has traditionally been occupied by men, the uniforms aren’t very female-friendly. They have a sternum-height waistband and are made of this really stiff twill that has no give, and because the waist is so high and the fabric is so unyielding, it’s almost impossible for me to squat or bend my legs enough to get up widely spaced ladders. I hate the pants with a fiery passion. My company has recognized the need for a broader range of clothing fits and they’re working on it (and I even got to be part of a focus group about uniforms – I was quite vocal) but the new uniforms won’t be out for over a year.
When I learned that new uniforms were more than a year out, my blood ran cold, but then because I’m resourceful, I found some pants online that were more or less the right color and had a little spandex in them so I can both breathe and bend. But then, once I got them, I discovered they weren’t quite the right shade of navy. Yes, there are many, many shades of navy out there. So, this evening my glamorous existence consisted of stovetop dyeing my navy pants a darker shade. And boiling the pot over and dyeing my stove, too, which I’m really happy about.
So, that’s work. I’m also still working on my writing career, albeit sporadically and slowly. For those who are interested in attending my online Facebook launch party, I have moved it out to December 15, from 2PM to 6 PM PST. Hope you can stop by. I’ll also be doing a blog tour and some guest posts on other blogs – I’ll post links to those events once they’re scheduled.