Sunday, June 15, 2008

Losing/Restoring my faith in humanity

I hate flying home from my parent's house. It's like being thrust out of the womb again every time I do it. Leaving their comfy home where I do little all day besides handle the crises of my daughters (which, really, should be enough) back in to the normal world. I get to start this transition at the airport, of all super fun places, alone with two small children.

Luckily getting through General Mitchell International Airport was painless and we encountered lots of nice people at security. Once we boarded the plane and I realized who was sitting in front of us, my heart just sunk. It was three of the absolute WORST people to be seated behind when you have small children. A mid-twenties dude who had no children and two elderly people. Young child-less people don't know what it's like to have children, nor do they care, because the world revolves around them. Old people, in my personal experience, don't remember what it's like to have children. Both of these types of people inexplicably seem to have some crazy belief that airplane rides should be quiet, calm and peaceful. Then they get seated in front of us, poor suckers.

Early on in the fight Eloise was pissed about something. She wasn't screaming bloody murder for hours on end or anything, but she was making her complaints known as I tried to talk her down. The old guy in front of me turns around and says "can you quiet her down?". I ignored him, like I do all ridiculous unsolicited advice, but inside I was like, "What the fuck? Do you think I want my kid to keep this up? That it makes ME happy?" And I have to wonder, why wouldn't he turn around and smile at us? Ask us if everything is okay? If there is anything he can do to help? Make a cute joke about how tough it is to travel with kids? I noticed he had a hearing aid in. Maybe I should have suggested he would be more comfortable if he removed it for the duration of the flight?

Then later in the flight the young dude seated in front of Iris seemed annoyed with her over little things, like she hit her hand against the tray table a little too hard. I saw him whip his head around the seat towards her but wasn't sure if he said anything. The next time he was annoyed he turned around again and said something to her, which I didn't catch. I said "don't you dare address my three year old daughter directly. If you have a problem you can talk to me about it, not her" and he said something about how disruptive she was being or whatever. And you know, she was being a normal three year old three hours in to a four hour flight home. Not the most well-behaved, but not the worst, either. I said to dude that I thought she was doing just fine. To which he replied, I kid you not "I am sure if we took a poll of the people around us they would not agree." I just sat back in my seat. Iris very quietly asked me what he was saying and I loudly replied "he's just being mean."

We finally landed in Seattle and Iris and Eloise started chatting up the man in the seat across the aisle from us. Turned out he was a father of three girls, the youngest two Iris and Eloise's ages. My remarked how good the girls did on such a long flight. Of course it felt very nice to hear that after feeling so defeated by my unfriendly neighbors!

Once we got down to the baggage area a woman came over by us and said she was on our flight and was wondering if she could help us get our bags? I smiled and thank her and let her know I was waiting for my husband (I always call him that to other people. It's easy.). I mean, how sweet is that?!?! As we were getting our things an elderly woman came over and said how well behaved the girls were on the plane. Wowza. Just like that my heart felt all warm and fussy and I had proof that the people in front of us were just being assholes. My girls were fine. People in the world DO offer to help when you appear to need it. Not always, but they do.

Anyways, it's really good to be home. I miss my family, but it's good to be home.


  1. I think that people are always so irritated by airports and flying in general that all tolerance and compassion goes straight out the emergency door.

    Nice that that some people were nice. I had an elderly woman behind me get up and say "You WILL keep that child quiet". I told her that 8 month old babies were unpredictable and that I, of course, would do my best but if she was going to be rude for the entire flight she might request a new seat.

  2. I know people hate being on the plane with us! We had a red-eye flight once when GraceAnne was about 6 months old. She was SO MAD!! So I was singing "rollercoaster of love" and making her dance. The jiggling was keeping her from screaming, but the people around us were less than thrilled by my singing. Oh well...if you intended to get sleep, you should have rented a room! planes are always a crap-shoot.

    I'm glad you had a great trip and a good visit with family. I want to go home so bad!!!

  3. Did I ever tell you about our flight from Chicago to New Orleans? EJ was 11 months old and cried most of the way. A woman across and back one from us would snap, "Jesus Christ!" every time EJ would cry. I started to cry at one point and the flight attendant came up to me and whispered to me, "I'm sorry you're having a rough time. Some passengers are just awful, aren't they? Do you want me to tell that woman back there to be quiet? She's being very inappropriate!"

    After the flight a couple other people came up and told us the woman was mean and they were sorry we had to put up with that.

  4. isn't it funny how the best and worst of us can come out when we're soaring in a tin can, 30,000ft in the air?

    our latest trip was the worst so far, with regard to isa's behavior. but oddly enough, it was the best "reaction" we've gotten from flight attendants and surrounding passengers. some people are indeed compassionate, just when you need it the most! thankfully those people found you too :-)

  5. "Young child-less people don't know what it's like to have children, nor do they care, because the world revolves around them."

    That's an incredibly ridiculous thing to say. It's ridiculous because it's a sweeping generalization AND because it isn't true. I know it isn't true because I'm a "young childless person" and know many other "young childless persons" who for whatever reason have not reproduced, yet DO care about children. Who aren't as self-centered as you might like to believe.

    I'm really sorry that the young man was an asshole. I don't have any sympathy for people who have no tolerance for children. But I also think it's rude of you to stereotype me, my partner, and my friends because of our age. We're the ones who are at school learning to become teachers and pediatricians and caregivers.

    People can just be mean or self centered in general. I've experienced many mums and dads who were self centered and spiteful. Your arguments would be stronger if you didn't make such sweeping judgement (and you seem well spoken and creative enough to do so).

  6. Thanks everyone for sharing your stories! You would think with so many of us travelling with less than 100% stellar children, people would be used to it by now.

    Anonymous, I used to be younger and child-less, too. I knew how to be oompassionate then, just as I do now. Apparently I'm NOT that creative of a writer because my attempt was to make it sound like I was making a blanket statement due to my hurt feelings, but I would hope that people would know I really don't think that is true of every single young or old person.

    It's sort of my equivalent of making those lame "always/never" statements which aren't true, but feel true at the time.

  7. Hey Sybil,

    I'm glad you guys made it home safely and that some kindness was directed your way.

    Ruby is fine. I was so sorry not to see you guys again. xoxo

  8. Happy Birthday, Miss Iris!! Hope you're having a great day :)

  9. I have never flew with the kids but I am about to do that in a few weeks time...

    I am a bit scared with three boys who can't sit still for more than 5 min on a good day and an almost 6 hour flight...


    any tips?


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