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Thank you all for your emails and support. I really appreciate it. Johnny Jet readers are awesome! (If you are new or missed last week’s newsletter, click here. It will help you understand this week’s letter.
Relationship problems are never easy to talk about. In my case, it’s even more difficult, because when I press the “send” button I know people from around the world will read about what I’m going through. But in some strange way I find comfort writing about this, and sharing my experiences. I think it’s my way of releasing my emotions.
So to pick up where I left off last week: From Chicago I flew back to Southern California. This time I landed at John Wayne Airport in Orange County -- not LAX. Believe it or not, this was my first time flying into SNA (it's called 'SNA' because it's in Santa Ana), although I had been there many times to drop off or pick up friends. I must say, it’s a great airport to fly into. It has cool California décor, but even better is the short taxi to and from the gates. I also love the quick walk to baggage claim and the exits. What I don’t like about it are the high fares (they are almost always higher than LAX and/or Long Beach), and that the security lines always seem long. John Wayne Airport; 18601 Airport Way, Santa Ana, CA. tel: (949) 252-5200.
When I arrived home I was happy to see that Amber had not yet moved out. After dropping my bags at the door I gave her a big hug. We sat down on the couch to chat. Like a good, new improved boyfriend I asked all about her weekend. After she described it in detail, I said, “Tell me more.” This boy is trying, huh? One of the things I learned from Tony Robbins is that women don’t want you to solve their problems -- they just want you to listen. This drives me nuts, because like most men I have a quick solution for everything. But now I know God programmed women differently than men -- probably to make things more interesting.
After Amber told me everything, I talked about my weekend. I think it was the longest I ever spoke nonstop. I talked for three hours, with a lot of energy and excitement -- all about my trip to Chicago. Then we went to PF Changs (a chain restaurant) for Chinese food. It was good, and I ate only half of what I usually eat. That’s another thing I learned from Tony Robbins: cut your food intake in half. P F Chang's China Bistro; Rosecrans Ave, El Segundo, tel: (310) 607-9062.
The next day Amber had to work, so I logged on to the internet and caught up on my work. I had a lot to do, because I hadn’t checked email for three days. I worked feverishly from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with just a 10-minute lunch break. When Amber arrived home my computer was turned off. I also learned from the seminar the importance of spending quality time with people. When work hours are over, it’s time to turn the computer off -- and keep it off until the next day.
I suggested we go out to celebrate our four-year anniversary, which took place while I was in Chicago. By the way, in case you never knew (or forgot), here’s how we met.
I remember the night vividly. It was a Tuesday, and we were on an airplane (did you expect anything different?). What was so incredible was that neither of us was supposed to be there. I really believe it was fate. We were flying from JFK to LAX. Tuesdays were a very rare night for me to fly that route (I usually flew on Sundays or Mondays, so I could get back to work). Amber was working as a Chicago-based flight attendant, and had never – not once -- worked this flight. The only reason she was there was because someone called in sick, and she had to fill in at the last minute.
At the time I was working as a college recruiter for Marymount College in Palos Verdes, CA. I went home to Connecticut every other weekend to see my mom, who was battling cancer. Working at Marymount was great, because my boss always gave me three-day weekends so I could see my mom. This time, I spent an extra day because she wasn't feeling well. I loved spending time with my mom -- she was so cool and special.
To spend the most time with her, I always took the last flight out to L.A. It left NY at 9 p.m., and got into L.A. at midnight. The flight was always nearly empty, and because it was also the most undesirable for senior flight attendants, most of them were young and fun. I always knew at least one of the flight attendants, because whenever I traveled I passed out Johnny Jet T-shirts, hats, stickers, temporary tattoos and chocolates, and hung out and talked with them. In those pre-9/11 days, we had so much fun. A couple of times they even let me put on a flight attendant apron, walk down the aisle and serve warm Mrs. Fields cookies to the business class passengers. Boy, how times have changed.
I remember being so sad when I boarded the plane (a 767), because I hated leaving my mom. Fortunately, I always got upgraded to business class because I flew so much, and had plenty of miles and certificates. I always sat in 5C, a bulkhead in the center of the plane that offered the most space.
I remember the moment I first laid eyes on Amber. I was stowing my bag in the overhead compartment. She was standing behind seats 7C and D with another flight attendant, watching the few people board. I thought to myself, she is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. Because it was such a fateful night, Amber happened to be working not only the business class section, but my side of the plane. This too was very unusual for her. She used to work either first class or coach -- not business. (Business class passengers are considered the worst to work with. They are high maintenance to begin with – plus they think they belong in first class but are upset because they are in biz. At any rate, that’s what I hear).
When I saw her I thought, this could be a great flight. But Amber was all business, and didn't even give me the time of day. She served me my pre-flight drink (water), and didn't chit-chat with me at all (the other flight attendants did). I later found out that she thought I was cute, but when she learned I was the guy the other flight attendants were talking about in briefing (they saw my name on the flight manifest), she didn’t want to give me the time of day.
We taxied down the runway, then sat for 40 minutes. The pilot got on the p.a. He said we had a small mechanical problem, and needed to return to the gate to get it fixed. This was the period when the pilots were messing with management by canceling or delaying many flights, so they could renegotiate their contracts. Nearly everyone on board knew there was really nothing wrong.
The pilots’ antics worked in my favor. As we waited for the mechanics to “fix the light bulb,” a few passengers and flight attendants chatted in the aisles. One was Amber. I rushed over, and heard her tell another flight attendant that she was so upset because she had been put in a different layover hotel than usual. All her colleagues would be 20 miles from her.
The hotel she was staying in just happened to be near my house. Score! I told her, “That's a great area to layover in. You should be happy!” She just looked at me, then ran off the plane to call her supervisor to try to get her hotel changed.
A few minutes later we took off. All of the flight attendants were really nice to me -- except Amber. She was just so professional and boring. About the 10th time she ignored me I thought to myself, she's not all that anyway. What a liar I am!
The next thing I remember is waking up from a nap. I looked at my watch and thought, Holy cow, I can't believe I slept almost the whole flight! (I never slept that long on that flight). I felt like I had overslept and missed an important meeting. Usually on a plane I would be happy, but this time I thought, I can't believe there's less than an hour to go, and I didn't even try to catch a rap with that beautiful flight attendant.
I slept so well that everything was blurry, so I went to the bathroom to splash water on my face. I passed Amber on the way to the lav. She was sitting in her crew seat doing a crossword, and didn’t even look up. Talk about hard to get! After the visit I popped a mint in my mouth, and went after her. I must have walked by her two or three times. She didn't even move her head, though I saw her eye looking at me sideways. Hah! I busted her.
Finally I said, "Excuse me, miss, but can I get a glass of water?" (Nice line, huh? What was I thinking?!). Another flight attendant overheard me, and before Amber could even get up she handed me some ice water. Great -- that blew my small talk.
Finally I couldn’t take it anymore, so I said, “Are you still staying in that same hotel, or were you able to get it moved?” She looked up at me with those big blue doe eyes that made me my heart melt. She said with a pout, “No, I couldn't get it switched.” Inside I jumped for joy, but outside I kept on my too-bad face. I said, “It’s okay. I bet you’ll be happy, because that’s a beautiful area and there’s so much to do. In fact, I live two miles away and I can tell you all the best places to eat and shop.” Once I said “shop,” her ears perked up. I found the bait.
Mother Nature was also on our side on this fateful night. Moments later the seat belt sign illuminated, and the pilot asked the passengers and crew to be seated immediately. This was the first time my reaction to that announcement was "YES!" I said, “Do you mind if I sit next to you during the rough air?” She reluctantly agreed, and moved over to the empty seat.
We ended up talking for 20 minutes, and she could tell I was a good guy. Just before it was time for her to prepare the cabin for landing, I gave her my business card with the best places to go for breakfast, lunch, and shopping written on the back. She asked, “What about a place for dinner?” I said, “Well, I thought if you’re going to be by yourself I could pick you up and take you out to dinner. I can even drive you back to LAX so you can catch your flight back.” She smiled and said, “I don’t know about that.” I told her to think about it, and if she wanted she could call me at work in the morning.
I knew I had a chance. I knew she knew I was safe, because most of her colleagues knew me. The next day I was afraid to leave my desk, just in case Amber called. Finally at 1 p.m. I couldn't take my grumbling stomach any longer. Besides, I figured I was never going to see her again. I went to the school café for a bite to eat with a sad face. As I walked back down the hall to my desk I heard my phone ringing. I ran like a fool and tripped over my chair as I lunged for the phone, but I missed it. A minute later my message light blinked on. Guess who it was? Amber Airplane!
I was so excited. I called her back immediately, and we chatted for a while. Then I asked if she wanted to go to dinner. She said, “I’d love to.” When I got off the phone I screamed like the Yankees had just won the World Series.
What’s funny is that I had trouble finding the hotel entrance, so I ended up being three minutes late – and I’m never late. Amber was on time. I now know that is very unusual too. A few months later she told me she was actually upset at me for being late. What a difference!
Amber looked as beautiful as ever. She had her hair up and wore a pink outfit that I’m sure she bought earlier in the day (at one of the places I recommended, maybe?). We went to an Italian restaurant near the beach, and after dinner took a walk down the Strand (the sidewalk along the beach). She made it to the airport on time. A few days later I talked her into coming back to CA to visit me, and the rest is history.
Back to the present. For our anniversary we went to dinner at her favorite restaurant, the Ivy at the Shore in Santa Monica. This is a very fine restaurant. The food is delicious, the décor is like a Tahitian country house, and celebrities love it (probably because it charges an arm and a leg). It really is obscenely expensive. I had the fried chicken, which cost (hold on to your seat) $27. The good news it that it wasn’t some pathetically small portion like you usually get at fancy restaurants. This was big enough for two. It came with a huge helping of mashed potatoes, and a head of steamed broccoli. Amber had the shrimp special, and we each had a non-alcoholic drink (my apple carrot juice was awesome). The bill still came to $100 – without alcohol, appetizers or dessert. Ouch! But we had a great time, and that’s what’s important. Ivy at the Shore, 1541 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; tel.: (310) 393-3113.
(By the way, the next day I was shopping at Trader Joe’s, and found their apple carrot juice. It tasted almost the same, for an eighth of the price.)
The following day we had a radio gig in San Diego. We were guest hosting the Travel Hub on World Talk Radio. San Diego is only 120 miles from where we live, so we drove. On the freeway Amber asked, “Did you bring any water? I have a headache and need to take a pill.” I said I did, and handed her the jug from the back seat. She made a comment like, “Why would you bring the huge gallon jug when we have little bottles at home?” I thought, at least I brought water, but remembered I am doing away with my nasty comments. Instead I said, “Well honey, I thought it was a good idea to bring more just in case there’s a major earthquake.” (How lame is that?)
After several unsuccessful attempts at sipping she asked me to pull over. I finally found a scenic point. I stretched and checked out the scenery. It was incredible how many squirrels and rabbits there were, and how they weren’t afraid of humans. Amber is afraid of wild animals, so she said wasn’t getting out of the car. She also doesn’t like bees, which was unfortunate because the place was swarming with them. When she rolled down the window to tell me she wasn’t getting out, a bee came through. Now she was trapped in the car, screaming for me to save her. It was pretty funny, but I guess you had to be there.
We made it to the studio on time, without any stings or bites. The two-hour show went really well. We decided not to eat in San Diego, because I had an early morning flight. However, we did stop in Laguna, and ate at our favorite fast-food burger joint, In-n-Out. We picnicked in the car, and talked more about the Tony Robbins seminar. Amber asked, “Are you sure Tony Robbins isn’t a con artist just trying to brainwash people to get their money?” I told her I used to think that, but there’s no way.
An hour later we were home. I packed my bag for my trip, and was so tired that when my head hit the pillow I was almost out like a light. I say “almost,” because Amber shook me and said, “Hey, I want to talk.” I found some energy. As we lay facing each other my eyes were nearly closed. I pretended I was sleep-talking. I said, “Make lots of money, Johnny. Send it to Tony. Tony needs the money to get more people.” You should’ve seen Amber’s face. She thought I was serious. Then I jumped up out of bed and said “Gotcha!” She was rolling with laughter.
Amber is the greatest girl. She is beautiful on the outside, but even more beautiful on the inside. Her heart reminds me of my mother’s. I will never forget that Amber guided me through the toughest time of my life (when my mom passed away). After the first week, she was the only person who was there for me. If she had not been there, I have no idea where I would be today.
We also have a lot in common. We both love our families, God, the same food, music and travel (especially to warm-weather destinations). Other characteristics that I love about her: She is really smart, she is funny, she is a girly girl, she rarely drinks alcohol, and she has never done drugs. On top of all that, I know Amber would make a great mother, which is probably the most important characteristic of all. It’s tough to find a girl these days with all those qualities.
I don’t know what will happen between us. All I know is that we both love and care for each other. Amber says she needs time to find herself, and I respect that. I think I need to do some soul-searching too. We have a trip planned together in a few weeks, but when we return we will go our separate ways.
This is so sad, and it will mean a serious change. However, we both knew it was coming for a long time. Hopefully, we will both find ourselves and be happy. Who knows – perhaps we will even meet up again on another fateful flight.
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Folk Remedy for hot-weather health challenges. They work wonders, even if we don't always know why.
Mix eight ounces of warm water with one-half teaspoon of ground ginger powder. Drink this 20 minutes before traveling. It is more effective than popular motion-sickness medications. Taking two ginger pills, available at health-food stores, also does the trick.
Suck on a lemon wedge if you feel queasy while en route.
Inhale the smell of newsprint. Make sure the newspaper was printed in the traditional method. To be effective, the ink should have a distinct smell and come off on your fingers.
Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen of New York City. The sisters are authors of Chicken Soup & Other Folk Remedies (Ballantine) and Folk Remedies That Work (Harper). They grew up in Brooklyn, where their mother and grandmother had folk remedies for almost everything.
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To find miles this summer, just follow the action! |
Competition is the wellspring of frequent flier miles.
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It was Delta's appetite for a larger slice of the market that prompted the greatest mileage bonanza in the programs' history—the triple-mile offers of 1988. Click Here To Read Article
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