Don’t be That Guy

We recently flew from California to Florida after the Thanksgiving Holiday.

The first flight was a four and a half hour flight and we got an entire row to ourselves. We played a little bit of hookey when the flight took off. You know that whole, turn off anything with an on-off switch rule? We may have bent it. With a blow torch. Abe sat in my lap by the window and David help the iPad against his left leg facing us. Each time a flight attendant (didn’t we used to call them stewardesses? And why did that become offensive?) walked by announcing it was time to turn everything off, Dave just pushed the iPad screen-down onto the seat. The light all but disappeared as we smiled and nodded in compliance. As soon as she was a few rows up, David propped it back up against his leg. Don’t judge, the plane took off without a hitch and Baby Einstein kept Abe from screaming. You know everyone else was trying to get the last Words with Friends move in before takeoff.

Abe slept for the first hour. When he woke up he had a snack and we played with some distracting toys I packed, including a miniature slinky and a butt-load of stickers. It’s brilliant how stickers both piss him off and fill him with joy, all the while occupying him into silence. At one point during the third hour he gave a few loud shouts. After the fourth or fifth one, I caught the eye of a woman across the aisle. She was in the process of shooting me the dirtiest, snottiest, most I-couldn’t-be-uglier-at-you-if-I-tried look. I smiled. I mean, this child was all but silent for 3 hours. I assumed she was angry because he was having a hard time and she had an overactive sense of empathy.

He was great for the last hour of the flight because we had played movies non-stop. Our neighbors in the row behind us kept remarking on what a good baby he was watching his “shows”. We declined to mention he was slowly being brainwashed by hand puppets.
When we landed he was ready to get off of that damn plane. He fussed and squirmed while we waited to unload. The couple in front of us stood up with what appeared to be pet-carriers. The nasty-faced gal across the aisle asked, “Are those cats?”
“Yes! We’re moving to Baltimore. There are 3 of them in here.”
“Oh wow! I love cats! They were soooooo good on the plane, I can’t believe it.” And then, ready for this? She turns to her friend and says, “They were better than that kid.”
Yep. She said that.
First, I turned into the Incredible Hulk, ripped through the roof of the plane, grabbed her with my giant hand and squeezed her puny little body with the unexplained muffin top until she cried, “PLEASE, PLEASE I’M SORRY PUT ME DOWN. I’M BARREN AND CHILDLESS AND INCREDIBLY ANGRY AT SOME OF MY MOTHER’S CHOICES DURING MY CHILDHOOD.”
Then, I looked at my husband. We gritted our teeth and watched each other’s blood pressure rise. Of course, after I was off the plane, I thought of one thousand witty and insulting things I could have said. But instead I stared directly at her until I knew she could feel my eyes piercing her pathetic, probably never-married skull and I muttered, “Don’t be that guy.”

I don’t even think my husband heard me say it, so I’m pretty sure she didn’t hear me. And I’m kinda glad because that’s not really a creative nor direct way of saying the colorful things I wanted to say. But I think there’s a lesson in all of this that I want to share with you. If you’re on a plane and there’s a baby anywhere near you, immediately tell the parent(s) they’re doing a great job, smile at the baby, and then go about your business. If the baby shouts, cries, or screams, just smile knowingly or offer some type of alcohol. What you’re doing, in essence, is creating an energy that allows airplane karma to continue circulating in a positive direction throughout your life and the lives of your children. Your aircrafts will consistently be on time, smooth, and likely child-free. I’m not a scientist, obviously; these are layman’s explanations. Though I can all but guarantee these results. Anything to the contrary will bring you a lifetime of unhappiness, not to mention engine trouble.

Don’t be that guy.

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