Greetings from Tulum!
More to come on this magical place later, but for now, I just need to share the story of my flight down here. (This was written on the plane with the intention of being posted from 30,000 feet but the wi-fi didn’t work because, you know, United.)
But I digress. Here’s a little backstory to today’s flight from hell.
When me and my older sister were 3 and 5 years old, my dad found himself alone with us on an airplane.
This is notable because he didn’t get tasked with a lot of activities that required discipline or supervision, such as trips to the swimming pool, riding public transportation…really anything where there was a risk of danger or a need for decorum.
But we’d been visiting family in Toronto and my mom had to stay behind for work, so it was just us and dad on a flight back to San Francisco.
My dad, like many dads, has an impressive ability to mentally check out of any situation, and The Solo Flight With Kids was no exception. Shortly after take-off, when he presumably felt he’d satisfied his chaperone responsibilities, he became engrossed in the newspaper and didn’t notice – or just didn’t care – when we stood up on our seats facing the people in the row behind us. Nor did he put an end to it when we started jumping around, giggling hysterically…you know, obvious signs that your kids are up to no good.
Until thirty minutes later, when he felt a tap on his shoulder and, upon turning around, found himself face to face with an angry man seated one row back who said:“Can you PLEASE ask your kids to stop spitting on me?”
Yes, that’s right. We were spitting on the man.
Who does that???
So every time I encounter raucous kids on an airplane – and there have been many such flights– I remind myself of the spitting story and calm down a little, because I used to be that kid, and I probably deserve it. Plus, at least they’re keeping their bodily fluids to themselves.
Until today. Holy fuck.
Today was a whole new ball of wax.
The airplane was a scene from a horror movie. But worse.
Let me paint a picture for you.
It was like the animals escaped from National Zoo, hijacked a Five Hour Energy truck, and set up headquarters at Chuck-e-Cheese.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I was the childless asshole casting hateful glances at the parents for letting their kids run and kick and throw shit as if it was Return to the Planet of the Apes.
I thought to myself, how in the hell did that kid just break the hinges off the tray table??? Doesn’t that mother notice her kid pinching the back of my arm??
But then I thought about the Spitting Flight, and I felt a little empathy for the parentals. If you think about it, the worst thing your kid can do on a plane is annoy and disgust the strangers who have the joy of being trapped on board with you. But on the whole it’s a pretty safe environment – your kid can’t be kidnapped or maimed by strangers or do anything too dangerous without hundreds of sets of eyeballs on him, so hey, maybe I’d let my kids run roughshod all over the place too, if it meant a few moments of peace.
Then again, maybe not.
Jake – who is also pretty good at mentally checking out – says his dad would never have allowed him to behave like that in public. I have countless friends who claim the same thing about their own parents. So tell me – am I the anomaly? Were me and my sisters truly monsters, as my mother claims? Or are there others out there who were uncontrollable as children? How does it, or will it, affect your own thoughts on childrearing? And lastly, what would you do if your kids were treating an airplane like a Bounce House?