Matchmaking Creeps

I realize that God is not a vending machine. I understand that you can't just put in 3 coins, or 3 prayers or something, and get out precisely what you ask for.

Still, I want so little out of life, and I get so little of that. People are always let ting me down. This whole thing started as a noble effort to put the scales of the universe back in line.

Really, I never meant for it to get out of hand.

All I ever really wanted was a regular job. My father would never let my mother work, although she had a master's degree in Classics, which is why she named me Circe. He traveled for a wool-products company, and she sat home and read the Iliad and the Odyssey over and over again and died when I was in high school.

When I graduated fr om college, I got a job, a good job, working as a flight attendant on a commuter airline that ran regular flights between New York City and nine small regional airports.

But it's a nonunion airline, which is why they were able to put me behind the res ervations desk when I got caught trying to avenge myself on a couple of fellow employees. They said I was a danger to passengers, which I certainly wasn't, because I've never done anything to any of them.

That's even though I can usually get away with out getting caught. I didn't get caught when a chief purser who made me work the coach section three weeks in a row found his phone number listed in a want-ad. It said he had a parrot to give away free because he had no time to talk to it, and that peop le were welcome to call at any hour. Apparently he got dozens of callers, some of quite irate when they found out there was no parrot.

I also didn't get caught when I got back at one of the other flight attendants for reading a French-language novel w hile he was supposed to be helping greet passengers. He'd bought a bunch of those novels from the university bookstore in Albany, trying to show all of us he could speak French and was sure to end up at a better airline. While he was doing beverage serv ice I went into his sack and ripped out the last page of every book.

I did get caught, however, when a pilot I wanted to notice me wouldn't, so I took his wallet, figuring he would have to at least speak to me to get it back. The police were called, a nd the plane got delayed in Buffalo for awhile, and after that he was transferred to the Allentown route and I ended up on the reservations desk.

But here at the desk, I've had a lot of time to think. Not many people want to fly to desolate cities in upstate New York during the winter. What I realized is that when it came to tormenting people who had been unfair to me, there was no reason to put myself at risk.

Instead, I'd make them torment each other.

Library of Congress Copyright TXU 826-902