Sunday, December 23, 2012

Who Doesn't Love a Story About Kids Getting Kicked Off Planes?


Every once in a while, when the news gets slow, they bring out the stories about toddlers getting kicked off planes. Everyone just loves to hear about a 3 year old getting the boot on a southwest flight.
Before motherhood, if you saw me on a plane, you could tell I was hostile territory for you to sit next to with your kid. Everything about me screamed, “Keep your kid away from me. I’m not approachable. Back off.” Generally my anti-kid vibe reverberated well, and parents stayed away.
Then I had my own child, and my tune changed for good.
Kids are adorable on planes!  Please, sit next to me and drown out my own child’s whining. I really hope your kid is the one to have a temper tantrum, and it’s bigger than the one mine is having. Your kid is crying? That is totally fine, you can sit near me so that no one notices that MY child is crying too. It’s a symbiotic relationship; we will just be loud and obnoxious together. They can’t kick all of us off the plane; I’ve never heard a news story where that has happened.
Because I am the former primo hater of children on planes, I can spot other haters with great ease. On a recent plane trip, I found one. He was traveling alone. He was 30ish, very tall and of a large gooney build. He was obviously traveling for work, no luggage. He had the tell tale layers of protection around him, put in place to ward of annoying conversationalists and of course, parents of small children. The book, the iPod, the magazines, today’s newspaper folded out over three seats, the laptop, the nasty stare and the overtly territorial placement of his size 13 feet all screamed, “Stay away from me, I’m extremely anti-social.”
As karma would have it, the last seats were the ones behind him and even though I thought better of it, we took them.  Bre thankfully agreed with the whole mandatory seatbelt situation, and we took off.
It all began with a long winded sigh of exasperation. I saw his buzzed head fling backwards several times giving me the stare of death. Obviously he didn’t like the portable DVD of Caillou blaring on the fold out tray behind him. The tips of his ears grew redder, and agitation turned to full on rage when Bre started to kick his seat during exciting moments of her show. As I calmed her down, I heard his not so muffled complaints about children on planes to the apathetic passenger next to him.
I began envisioning the next day’s news, where Breanna and I are being interviewed by Sam Champion about why the crew and passengers of Flight 1134 turned against us, and made an emergency landing just to kick us out.
Not much longer after that, did Breanna decide to have her half-way-through-the-plane-ride-temper-tantrum. I anxiously fumbled for my carry on. My plane ride carry on is an array of delights. Its contents are the preschool equivalent of someone trying to bribe you with hundred dollar bills and hard liquor.  Still, he was fuming ahead of me.
I envisioned a moment where he turned into  Samuel L. Jackson and screamed, “I’ve had it with these mothaf&#ing babies on this mothaf&#ing plane!”I started sweating and pleading with Bre as I steadied myself for the anger that was about to unleash on my child and I.
Somewhere in here, I had a moment. In this moment I wanted to rip this guy’s face off, but what I really felt was anger toward myself. Obviously in my previous single life, I had come to deserve this somehow. I felt immense regret.
The guy turned around, looked me in the eye and said in a scathing voice, “You need to control your kid, lady.”
“She’s three. F*&K OFF!" 
I said it a little too loud. Obviously I had prepared myself to confront Samuel L. Jackson, not this guy. He turned around anyway, a little stunned that a lady in a pastel sweater set just told him to f*&k off.
Yeah, kids change everything, but apparently they don’t change your well deserved karmic payback.

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