IF YOU MISSED THE PRECEDING CHAPTER, CLICK HERE.
The next day, I had to show up in my uncompleted initial medical exam since I had to rest my eyes for 12 hours before the actual vision test (applicable for those who wear contact lenses). The place to be was at Philippine Airlines’ medical center; the eye doctor was only accessible there. I couldn’t believe I was seeing myself doing this, authorized to enjoy medical services of the country’s flag carrier.
When I got there, I sat by a man who must be just my age.
“When was your impact interview?” he asked out of the blue.
“Just yesterday,” I riposted. “How about yours?”
He was thinking of me as a new pilot the whole short span of shooting the breeze. He only realized when he asked me which flying school I was from. Likewise, I thought he was a cabin crew trainee, for he looked just like one.
“Is that even working?” I asked, pointing to the monitor displaying the service number. It never moved a single digit.
“Just approach them,” he suggested.
I left my seat, appeared over the desk, and presented my medical exam request.
“For what position?” one lady in white asked.
I could hardly voice what I must answer correctly; it was just too good to the ears.
Wow. I’ve just pronounced it by my own tongue, haven’t I? I was assisted by an grey-haired, bespectacled outwardly Chinese man who looked like the eye doctor. I followed him to someplace dim-lighted with familiar eye medical facilities. Thus, he was the person to be. With no further ado, he did the eye checkup on me. Damn it, there was the Ishihara test again, which of course I failed on!
“Sir, does color blindness have levels?” I asked.
“Yes,” he simply replied as he was noting down on my results.
I’ve been aware of my color blindness since I was younger. But unlike the others who got it worst, I don’t interchange red from green or any other colors all the time. It depends on the shade and the lighting, I guess. I can tell my BlackBerry is red as well as the laptop I used to type all of this. Air Asia and Emirates Airlines are also both red-themed. I can tell my college P.E. uniform is in blue and yellow, just like UST’s colors. I can tell Eva Air and most of Zest Air’s theme is green. I can tell I bought a pair of yellowish or technically unbleached white pair of new shoes to match my khaki pants. I can tell all the colors of the Mighty Morphine Power Rangers—Blue Ranger was the wolf and Red Ranger was the dinosaur. Oh why do I sound weirdly defensive now?
I was about to ask further like if there were cabin crew members who still got through even with vision imperfections. But the doctor looked too serious, unfriendly, or perhaps tired. I was already intimidated by his answer to my first question that I just ended up shutting my mouth. He just handed over the results. I thanked him and then stepped outside until I left the premises, without even presenting the results back at the reception to have my remarks.
I was saddened by the results, in all honesty. Almost all items were rather negative—my far vision and color vision. I turned pessimistic. But hey, I must remain confident! I should stay positive. I merely considered what Miss Agnes told us regarding our vision problems. So, I rode all the way back to where I was interviewed to turn in the results.
Again, a young lady seated at the first table asked me the question that made my day, “For what position?”
Of course, I proudly answered it just right. Then, she summoned Miss Agnes.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT WAS WORDLESSLY UNEXPLAINABLE…
“…so you’re disqualified. We can no longer process this,” Miss Agnes declared after recapping the horrible results, made by both the results themselves and the scrawls of the eye doctor.
If you can’t stand pessimistic, grief-stricken, “emo” language,
please do not hesitate to discontinue. Thank you.
“My world stood still”. Literally. I never thought that personification was beyond words. I never thought Miss Agnes’ affirmation was even easily permitted into my system that was as if starting to blackout. The white surroundings looked way blurrier than my sight though my specs were on me that day. But my eyes were fixed at the paper Miss Agnes had in hand beside me. No second of blinking as my throat trembled along and dried up. I almost forgot how to breathe. I could apparently hear a crack from within me, or more of having the feeling of it. If that could just make me bleed, for sure, I’ve drained myself. These words—trust me—are precisely describing how I was at that very moment of my life, if somebody just stepped in there to check me out. No figure of speech. No exaggerations. The mere truth is it was outrageously excruciating.
“What do you mean ‘disqualified’?” I just asked in defiance.
Miss Agnes just said restated it all, only fanning the flames of how bad I was feeling, as if turning myself to a masochist. With every word she got to say on my color blindness and its cost in flying, the crack furthered deeper. To somehow console me but just didn’t work on me, she began offering different positions that would not require the same shit.
I rejected with a whispery voice, “But ma’am, this is what I really want.”
I could see the lady who accommodated me taking a glimpse at my reactions. Her eyes were quite empathizing from what she overheard between us.
So what now? Should I end up my life along with my dream? Is it worth it? It’s just my greatest dream, anyway. In my whole existence, I swear, the truth in the invested optimism towards this job was my first time. However, the upside was never granted. How could life be so unfair?
Let us take a look at it. Just look at it. What is up with the colors, anyway? Are flight attendants really required to have perfect color vision? For what simple reason; can you tell one or two? We’re just going to feed the passengers, ensure their wellbeing throughout their flights, and risk our own lives for theirs, am I correct?! Now, look at it even closer… Can you imagine how all of this fell down to nothingness? How about envisioning watching your dreams helplessly—your own greatest dream—shatter into pieces and evaporate in the thin air? Can you imagine how immediate I plunged HEADFIRST from the very short while of flight far, far above the ground with just like the littlest effort of one poke of a finger? With that, well, I could promise I might create the deepest chasm in history of geology and created a Ripley’s or Guiness’ world record or two. I might fall so bad I could no longer survive. This time around, it is too bad to be true; too bad to my ears; too bad to be voiced out. I don’t want to hear that question again that once made my day or even hear a question about my opportunity with PAL.
The airport’s now a place of anguish for me. Seeing them pulling their trolleys is now an eyesore. They make me frown now. Also, consider these planes flying by every time, so audible down from our house. Then, my friends who fortunately realized the same dream effortlessly. The perfect adjective for me nowadays should be: “frustrated”. I’m indisposed to do so but I believe I appear to be one.
I often come to thinking: How come some flight attendants never even dreamt to be one but ended up to be? How blessed are those who had these people in their lives that helped them get the job with ease? So what happens now to those four years spent in college, headstrong on the idea of becoming a flight steward? What happens now to spending money for perfecting my teeth, practicing wearing contact lenses, and learning to be constantly presentable for the sake of the job’s qualifications? Can you merely tell me it originally belongs among withered leaves, dusts, crumpled papers, and empty bottles? Can you? Or can I? How could life be so unfair? [ONE MORE DISCLAIMER:] My intentions are clean about our nation’s great flight attendants who unfortunately are taking some time reading this tragedy. But please forgive me if I may offend you. Honestly, I look up to all of you—well, aside from the fact that you are actually always in the skies, so people tend to look up to where you are. I also feel no bitterness against PAL. I understand they just have to conform to the requirements, no matter how in dire need they are for new trainees.
Oh how little did I know that I shouldn’t have let myself enjoy the height or let myself be at that height, for the fall was too gradual—too injurious; too detailed to each and every ache. I should have braced myself, for the worst was actually clandestinely lying ahead of me. I should have expected all of this than to expect something one-sidedly. I should have found protection to begin with before I fell… I should have listened to the beautiful, seemingly flawless woman clothed as flawlessly beautiful. I should have fastened my seatbelt.
(…OF MY LIFE. HAHAHA!!)
Altogether now: AWWWWWWW, SAYAAAAAANG… Haha, I know, I know.
Let us not end all of this with a suicidal impression in me, so let me somehow divert it to something light and bright.
For those who are now saddened and deceived by the first part’s celebratory mood, please forgive me. But if there’s someone who should be disappointed and feeling betrayed, that must be ME. However, for now, I THINK I have finally moved on after a few weeks of frustration and distress pulling off together. I know I still can get to the position that I really wanted; I still have the right to live the life that I wished for! I should never put that off my heart and mind. We can’t tell, maybe this can entail a part 3, as festive as the first!
For those who always wanted to be a cabin crew, here are some factual tips to help you ready (though I am not a flight steward myself):
- Take good care of your bodily health. Start now—I mean NOW! Oh yes, people. RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT! Before you regret it all! That especially includes your eyes, skin, teeth, weight—every single part of your precious body, in and out! I understand safety remains as the number one concern; that is why medical exams are [unjustly] meticulous, that is why this job is not just a job.
- If you are not that blessed to have a good set of teeth, have it braced as soon as possible.
- If you have rather blurry vision, have it lasered as well, I guess. (Spend to it eagerly. You’ll be earning bigger money, anyway, if you get the job!)
- On height matters, I actually have a personal issue on that, as well. Lots of sleep, proper diet, and exercise are proven effective. Do food supplements really help? If it’s proven, then go for it. Just make sure you take it regularly and years before you plan to apply.
- Learn to look presentable at all times. Vanity will never take its toll on you all the way. Don’t worry boys; it’s for the sake of the job. I mean it, do it for the sake of the job! ;)
- Practice the inexhaustible smile.
- Practice self-possessed, sharp, and energetic interview skills.
- Keep a concrete optimistic state of mind. Hope with hope.
“Flight attendants” may just be a euphemism for “food vendors/waiters/maids/you-name-it on board” as how their job appears to be, but I have my hands down and hats off for them; they can be the saviors of a hundred of lives at risk. They may be basically pretty faces in pretty uniforms but they are actually trained to be extra-witty, too. Who doesn’t like the idea of being paid to travel and highly maintained, to begin with?
And for those who ended up the same way as I did: awwww, poor you hopeless go-getter! You should’ve fastened your seatbelts too! You best come to my place, bring your own ropes. Let us have some party at the ceiling! How’s that sound? Hahaha! Just kidding! Never do that. Seriously. It’s not a solution in the first place, anyway! However, back to sobriety, just dream harder—I mean the hardest. Do whatever it takes if there are remedies for your medical concerns. (My case in which I was ultimately diagnosed with genetic color blindness is untreatable. So, there.) It’s your dream, isn’t it? Then, you really have to work for it. I know how painful this experience might get but it will definitely pass. Sky is never the limit for us!
Should there be comments/questions/remarks/anything, kindly message ‘em all here. I would be happiest to hear from you.