Wednesday, August 14, 2013

who knew? hell is at 30,000 feet.

saw this post on dooce.com about traveling with children. really liked it. made the mistake of reading some of the comments. became enraged. felt the need to write a comment myself in which i wrote a (slightly) shorter version of the following paragraph:

once, on our first cross country flight with a baby, our 11-month-old was so out of control that the flight attendant kindly suggested we buy a round of drinks for the entire airplane. it was quite possibly the worst 5 hours of my life. (i say that a lot. that's probably not totally accurate. but top ten FOR SURE.) we seriously considered renting a car and driving ACROSS THE COUNTRY on the way back, if not to save ourselves, then to protect our fellow citizens from further pain. i GUARANTEE you nobody felt worse about the situation than i did. i spent every minute i was legally allowed to do so (which was like, THREE HUNDRED OF THEM) walking up and down the aisle, trying to be three inches less wide than i was (while holding a large, angry, and unruly baby), bouncing said baby up and down in attempts to soothe him without elbowing people in the head, passing out apologetic smiles to everyones' stink eyes, and being on the verge of tears myself from the combination of humiliation, exhaustion, and the physical and psychic torture that is being that mom to that baby in front of a captive audience. i guess that's my karmic retribution for the fact that i used to be the jerk whose response to baby-proximity on a plane was a mental "UGH." i totally get that it sucks for you lucky* "child free" people too and i get that you wouldn't know this until it happens to you, but TRUST ME, we are TRYING. at this age, it's not an issue of the kid having manners or being well bred or having terrible parents. it's not like i'm setting the little devils loose while i knock back airplane bottles of sutter's home chardonnay (as enticing as that sounds). trying to convince a hysterical baby/toddler to be quiet/behave is like negotiating with alien terrorists that do not understand a single word that is coming out of your mouth, or, if they do, they are of such supreme (or inferior) intelligence, it is beneath (or above) them to respond.

[yes. that is a really long comment. but c'mon. you know that's how i roll. :)]

most people hated us on this (and subsequent) flights, but there were a few, including the person stuck in the same row as us, who reinvigorated my belief that humans are generally good souls. the best possible thing you can hear when you are simultaneously ruining 168 people's days, is "hey, listen, we've all been there." (actually, the best possible thing you can hear is, "here, hand her over! let me give that little sugarlump some love while you take a nap." :)) but clearly, not everyone has been there, or else people wouldn't be such jute bags about it. still. it's nice to hear. now, i feel about traveling with children as i do about food service - every person in the world should have to wait tables and travel with kids at least once as a sort of boot camp in compassion for human suffering. now, when i fly and other babies are crying, i feel bad for the parents, but if i'm being honest (and selfish), i'm actually secretly thankful, because they're probably drowning out my kids' noise and therefore i'm not the biggest A-hole on the plane. (as the author says in her piece, her response to seeing babies on the plane has gone from "OH GOD, NO." to "YAY! IT ISN'T MINE!")

oh and the people who claim that it is our CHOICE to fly across the country whilst wrestling one or more angry octopi, and/or that families shouldn't be allowed to fly at all... well, i hope on your next flight you're seated in front of a couple of toddlers who just chugged Big Gulps of Coca Cola, scarfed down some Pop Rocks, and forgot their iPads at security. unfortunately for you (and us), you live in THE WORLD, and the reality is, there are loud, energetic, sticky little children in it. they're EVERYWHERE. even on airplanes. and let me let you in on a little secret. YOU WERE ONE OF THEM ONCE. maybe your mom made you ride in the trunk and that's why you're so effing bitter about life. listen. i'm not saying it doesn't suck. i'm just saying, put on your big kid pants and handle it. unlike most grown-ups, kids usually aren't being giant crooked d*cks on purpose. (< maybe.) and i promise you that mom (or dad) is doing his/her best. the last think she needs is for you to sh*t on her already craptastic day.

* p.s., someone responded to my comment on this article. s/he replied "How is it that child-free people are 'lucky?' Having a child in America is a choice, not a game of chance." wait, what? i don't get it. well. his/her "name" is "pickyvegan" and s/he apparently likes to correct strangers' grammar online so i can already tell s/he is probably super awesome and fun to be around. i didn't respond but if i had it probably would've gone something like this:

"lucky" was an (apparently unfunny and grammatically incorrect) tongue-in-cheek reference to the "childfree by choice" movement as discussed in the recent Time Magazine article, etc., who feel that they are fortunate (hmmm... fortunate also infers chance... dangit. blessed? no, that implies some sort of divine intervention. damn. foiled again. favored? smart? winning???) not to have ruined their lives via procreation, but seem to hold the general consensus that those with child-full lives were put on this earth solely to harsh their buzz. (and I can't say I entirely blame them. children do tend to have that effect, particularly on airplanes, at least if your buzz is derived from alcohol and peace and quiet.) thanks for pointing out my mistake though! good to know the grammar police aren't sleepin' on the job!

** p.p.s. don't even get me started about education and access to birth control, etc., and whether or not everyone in America actually has a real, informed choice to have, or not to have, a child.

*** p.p.p.s. i'm so not doing a good job of "choosing joy" today.

[also this article from jaunted.com about malaysia airlines banning children from the top deck of their fancy new planes. cue outkast's 'Rosa Parks' - "aah haa, hush that fuss, little kids move to the bottom of the airbus." can really smelly people and armrest hoggers and people who insist on talking to you the whole entire flight even though you're reading AND WEARING HEADPHONES and people who deal nuclear farts be sent to the basement, too?]

looks glorious.
do you guys offer like a part-time membership?



















[source: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2012/6/4/142158/2069/travel/
Misbehaving+Child+on+a+Flight%3F+Alaska+Airlines+Ain't+Having+That -
which, FYI, refers to children as "crotch flowers." charming.]

 

4 comments:

  1. Kids on planes are hard, assholes who complain about kids on planes are worse... wait little kids. When big kids are assholes on planes then they deserve the death stares. I have felt your pain and I never give people with babies a hard time. Ever! Thanks for hooking up to the Hump Day Hook Up

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, big kids have no excuse! I just hope my kids outgrow their terrible 2s and 3s before they are teenagers because the outlook is not looking good.

      Delete
  2. I am betting that people that outwardly complain about kids on planes are also annoying people on planes. Why do people think that kids are the ONLY thing that is annoying about flying??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! Some people will find a way to be grumpy, no matter what comes their way!

      Delete