Monday 27 December 2010


[This was written on Xmas Day]

I’m angry. I write well when I’m angry.

Currently I’m on a flight from London to Las Vegas. It is Xmas day. Trust me, this was not my idea of how to spend my child’s first Christmas. But as you know, weather hit England hard, the country’s airports imploded, and I was forced to fly on Crimbo. I know I know, cry me a river, worst things have happened. Much worse. I count myself blessed and very lucky overall. Blab la bla, onto my story….

So my partner and I board the plane and get seated in the front row of economy - the bulkhead as it is so covetously called. They couldn't get us seated together, so we're across the aisle from one another. Next to me is (or was, I'll get to that in a minute) a couple traveling to Las Vegas, clearly on a gambling holiday. I'm not being rude here (okay, maybe I am), but I have to paint the picture. They're older. She's enormous and they have enough candy to send Sonny Von Bulow into a diabetic coma. And even more ironic, the woman ordered a diabetic meal on the flight and then washed it down with a half a pound of minstrel (think milk duds Yankee audience). When I first sat down holding the King, they both looked a bit deflated. Fine, I get it, ten hours next to a baby. It's no picnic, but what am I to do, they apparently won't take him in the hold. (I kid I kid). But I made a joke that he wasn't so bad, we got to talking and things started well enough.

The problems began when the King took one look at his sky cot, the place he would be nesting for the next ten hours, and decided he was not going to play along. Let me put it this way, imagine stuffing an utterly adorable, teething St Bernard into a sardine can. How they figure these things are fit for babies is beyond me. It’s a red velcroed rectangle that you strap to a tabletop and then the baby is stuffed inside and you hope for the best. Well needless to say the King wasn’t having any of it. To make matters worse, he didn’t sleep well pretty much all day, so admittedly he was off his five-month-old game. Poor sausage.

But like any good mother worth her salt I was trying every trick in the book to appease him: rocking, singing, bouncing, pacing, you name it, I was doing it. And it was exhausting beyond belief (any mother out there that has traveled you’re your kids, you know what I mean). Meanwhile the minstrel swallowing beasts next to me were huffing, sighing, complaining, muttering and then finally outright saying things so I could hear them about my child’s lung capacity. It got to the point where the woman – after her tenth bag of candy, began clutching her earphones over her ears and rocking herself like she was going to have some sugar induced breakdown.

And in all fairness, for the first six hours of the flight, the King was pretty darn good. Of course there was a bit of hollering, but in between we played, laughed, ate, did the usual distractions on a long haul flight...So when bedtime arrived, we put him in the cot and let him cry for a few minutes as he clutched his little elephant. He does this to settle himself and soon enough he’s fast asleep. Well, Minstrel Madam was not having it. She suddenly screamed in my direction like a crazed furious lunatic, “I can’t take anymore we’ve had six bloody hours of this!!” To which the primal animal in me retorted, “Oh I’m sorry, what would you like me to do flip off his power switch?? He’s a baby!” 

It got worse from there, and for a few minutes, regrettably we were the in flight entertainment. The movies weren't so good, so I think I did everyone in the cabin a favor. Furthermore, I can bite my tongue in a lot of situations, but if you start in on my child, you’re going to hear a piece of my mind. My partner finds it hysterical when I kick off and start verbal sparring with idiots.

Anyway, the couple whined on and on about the noise to the flight attendant - who was now between us like some referee, whilst of course proclaiming that they have children, we looove children, just not your child! They also had claimed the sky cot was in their way - she muttered throughout the flight how claustrophobic she was in between heated sighs -  and then they insisted on filling out complaint forms because they shouldn’t have to sit next to a baby in the economy cabin; like they’re royalty and above such things. “Put us next to a rockstar…no, wait, the slot machine champion of the world. My addict wife would love that”.. Um, it’s ECONOMY. You’re lucky you’re not strapped to the wing or sandwiched between a serial killer and a man who eats his scabs. I mean, the woman behind me, I was convinced had the swine flu and was about to cough up both her lungs, but you did not hear me complaining I shouldn’t have to share the cabin with her. It’s part of flying, love it or leave it.

And in fact, the rest of the cabin who was now heavily sauced (pissed for you Brits) on Christmas wine and cheer didn’t seem to care. In fact, when the couple was finally escorted from their seats to the back of the plane to their new seats (god I hope there is a baby back there with a vomiting problem!!), everyone looked quite happy they were gone. The King surely was and then of course he fell fast asleep and didn't make another sound. Gotta love him.
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