Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Freaks on a Plane...

So we came home from LA last night. Fortunately, this time our plane left at a reasonable hour and we were able to sleep until 7am, have our morning Starbucks trip and get to the airport on time to board what was to become a floating ship o' freaks.

First, we had the lady dragging a soft-sided pet carrier down the aisle. When I commented on how heavy Husband's laptop bag was when moving it from one seat to the next (go figure when you have two laptops in one laptop bag), aforementioned lady turned to me and squawked, "I hope you didn't hit my baby with it!"

I looked all around myself for said baby. Nada. Mortified by the thought that I have actually struck a child with two computers, I am so ready to apologize (even though I have not hit anything--I would have felt it if I had), when I realize that the "baby", is some sort of creature in her pet carrier.

Now, people. I have two cats whom I lurve dearly and I'm not opposed to calling them my babies in certain scenarios. The crowded aisle of an airplane during boarding is NOT one of those places. No offense, I hope, but there's a pretty clear distinction between something you put in a carrying case and drag behind you, as she was doing, and, um, a CHILD.

So, while I did not in any way, shape or form actually clobber her "baby", I was beyond annoyed that she had me fretting, for even a second, that I had caused bodily harm to a child. Freak #1.

Freaks #2 & 3 were uber-freaky. Two men, in serious need of some personal grooming, middle-aged and sporting the latest in Jesus-freak haute couture. On their jackets and, as we found out, on their shirts underneath, they had ironed-on letters that spelled out all kinds of warnings about how one must repent for one's sins or, I believe the exact phrase was, "burn in hell".

These men literally had entire sermons of hell-fire and brim-stone ironed on to their shirts. Lists of exactly who will be burning in hell: Catholics and homosexuals chief among them. I scanned the shirt for some mention of Jews, but couldn't find any--they must have run out of "J"'s, what with all the times they had to spell "Jesus".

I'm not sure how to exactly describe how uncomfortable I was being on the same plane as them. Extremists are extremists, period. Makes no difference to me what religion they are trying to cram down my throat. They freaked me out with all the hate they had radiating off of them--not a comfortable feeling at 37,000 feet. Fortunately, their shirts talked louder than they did and I only had to see them when I was walking Ethan up and down the aisle a few times.

My favorite freak was the woman in front of Ethan. Honestly, she wasn't a freak at all, just a big old pain in the ass due to circumstances. This was Ethan's first non-lap baby trip. We put him in his carseat, secured it in the window seat and hoped for the best. He kicked a little on the way out to LA, but the person in front of him was a kid too absorbed in his video games to notice Ethan kicking away at his seat back. This time? Not so lucky.

Ethan made her fairly miserable for much of the trip. But you know what? It's hard to feel sorry for the woman. She saw Ethan when we put him in the seat. She knew what she was getting into. And let me add that the plane was no more than 1/2 full--there were entire empty ROWS to which she could have relocated herself when she caught sight of the 23 month old, whose legs are only long enough to reach the seat in front of him, sitting behind her.

But she didn't. She rolled her big old eyes at us, sat her butt down and as soon as we were in the air, she reclined her seat as far as possible, into my son's legs.

Awesome. Husband spent the better part of two hours with his hands holding Ethan's feet still. When he let them go, Ethan expressed his delight at this new podalic freedom by, well, kicking the seat in front of him (is that a word? "Podalic" is what I got when I googled, "pertaining to feet"--hrm).

We thought of moving Ethan to the middle seat between us so he would be kicking an empty chair (the woman apparently didn't want to sit next to her husband, who was in the aisle seat), but the size of the carseat would have meant whoever took the window seat in Ethan's place was there for the duration of the flight. No getting around a Britax, people.

There was much gnashing of teeth and turning around and glaring on her part. At first there was much hand-wringing and feeling badly on my part. But finally I got annoyed by her constant, silent assertion that my kid didn't have any right to any leg room whatsoever during his flight. That somehow, her need to recline those 3.5 inches was somehow worth asking my kid to sit with his legs crossed on his carseat for almost 5 hours.

Um. No. So after much aggravation, we decided to let Ethan have at the seat back in front of him. On principle.

I'm not proud of it, honestly, but I don't really feel badly either. She did eventually get up and move one seat over, to the middle of her row, next to her husband. What a sacrifice. We got a nice little dirty look upon arrival and she was on her way. Whatever, freak.

So that's my story of freaks on a plane. Good times. It's good to be home.


MissCrystal said...

I would have had the exact same reaction to the Jesus freaks! Glad you all made it home to D.C., where there are NO freaks whatsoever, right? ;) It sounds like Ethan had a blast and you've made peace with the Land of Fruits and Nuts, so I'd say Mission: Accomplished. Pat yourself on the back!

Becca said...

What a troll! Seat kicking is annoying, but if there are whole empty ROWS you can claim there is no reason to be scowling at you guys. Sheesh. I'd probably be tempted to do the same thing. It would be interesting to follow the Jesus freaks around to see how they really treat their neighbors. I'm guessing it's not very Christlike. Glad you made it back safe!!

cicadalady said...

Wow, I thought my trip back with Nonie was bad! It is a long flight with a little one even without crazy people on board. In fact, it was on the plane that I decided that if the plane ride seemed that long, I was totally insane to even consider driving!
I love your list of things you saw in LA by the way. We sat next to Steven Speilberg at brunch but Lance is a much more entertaining celebrity spotting!

Alice said...

That's so obnoxious. I know that getting kicked in the back of the seat is irritating, but what was so wrong with sitting next to her husband? or moving altogether? Some people are just completely obnoxious. I'm glad little E had happy feet. If it were me, I would've hit the seat several times over the course of the flight when she moved in front of me, so you are a better person that I.

Amy said...

How annoying. She should have moved. And FYI, you couldn't have moved E because car seats must be in the window seats per FAA regulations.

Glad you are home!

Anonymous said...

Hi, your pics of Ethan are great! What a cute little boy you have. I feel I must apologize for the cranky woman reclining on the tike. That was unkind to say the least. I would have been a pain, too, in that I would want to talk to him, which is also questionable, I guess. But, you know, don't we want our kids to feel the world is a friendly place basically, and how in the world does that happen when we older ones roll our eyes up into our craniums and cramp their little legs into their seats? Grrrr.
And about the hostile shirts...God is love. Was there anything about that on them? Hope your trip was fun, though, with the exception of the cranky people on your flight.

a mom