Today’s post isn’t about a song, although maybe I’ll think of one before I’m done that fits the theme. It’s more about in-flight therapy, hoping to avoid being driven completely bonkers by a very young baby in the row behind me.
As I write this, I’m flying several miles above the U.S. with my family, probably currently over something like Kansas, on a flight from Tampa that was delayed in its takeoff by over 90 minutes. That wasn’t really so bad. What has been really bad is that the aforementioned, probably about 1-year-old baby in the row directly behind us has been full-out crying/screaming/out-of-its-brains-shrieking for nearly the entire 3+ hours that we’ve so far been in the air. It’s 11:30 p.m. EST and we’re all tired and just want this baby put out of its misery. No, not like that — just with lots of love and hugs, is all I meant. Of course.
I sympathize, even empathize, with the parents, really I do. We’ve got two sons who were once babies, and we flew with them back then too, and not every flight went smoothly (although I don’t remember anything quite this bad). But that somehow doesn’t really make right now any better, except that I know how much these parents are kind of hating their child nearly as much as most of the passengers around them. Lucky for said child, they also happen to love him, or he might otherwise have been stuffed out an emergency exit long ago. (I jest, of course. But you know what I mean.)
The ironic thing is that this once-future-but-now-our-unpleasant-present was foretold to me by the very mother who has been trying to get her little son to shut the ____ up all night [fill in that blank with your choice of satisfying curse word]. How so, you ask? Well, we were sitting in the terminal, waiting for the word from the Alaska Airlines’ gate folks that the “unknown maintenance delay” was over and we could start boarding, when an at-the-time-cute little boy in a striped onesy toddled past my seat and looked amiably enough up at me as he did. I smiled back and said “Hi there!” and then glanced up at his mom, who was following along, and smiled a smile that was meant to convey something like, “Cute kid!” She smiled somewhat ruefully back and said, “It’s going to be a long night!” We should have rebooked our flight right then and there, because of course you know whose seats were directly behind us.
If I’d known how this young tike would soon be saying to me, as only he would know how, “Screw you, Mister! I will make you pay for smiling at me!,” I would have instead given him the nastiest scowl I could muster (which, truth be told, if you know me at all, wouldn’t have been that nasty, but I would have tried). Because if there’s any truth to the thing about a butterfly flapping its wings and in turn causing a change in events elsewhere, who’s to say my smile didn’t somehow spark a chain of events that would lead to this eventual freak out?
Whatever. As I’ve been typing this, he finally seems to have fallen asleep (at least for the possibly very temporary moment), so maybe the nightmare is over. Maybe the barely audible pitter-patter of my Macbook keyboard somehow lulled him to sleep — which I guess would bring a well-earned closure to the whole smiling debacle. And that gives me an idea for the song…
Maureen McGovern: “The Morning After”