I hate air travel with children. I mean with my own children. My goal for the flight is to ensure that my toddler and Kindergartener don’t disturb the other passengers. I don’t want them whining, crying, screaming, running through the aisles or otherwise causing mayhem. I remember being a stressed-out businesswoman and being seated near a miserable child. I have empathy for the childless travelers, honestly I do.
I spend a ridiculous amount of time preparing for the trip and devising solutions for worst-case scenarios. Flight delays. Missed naps. Sudden fever. Soiled clothes. Motion sickness. I’ve got it all covered, people.
My foolproof plan involves a bag of books. I read to my children on the flight. (Oh yeah, I can’t forget the lollipops…great for easing the pressure on take-off and landing.)
However, I found out that my efforts to entertain and enlighten my children aren’t necessarily appreciated.
The older woman in front of me turned around in the middle of a story and asked, “How long do you plan on reading aloud?”
So continued a rudeness I’ve never experienced before, someone complaining about a happy, content family. She mistakenly said I had been reading for an hour when the flight had been in the air only 25 minutes, and she told me that if I was going to “read for another hour” she “wouldn’t be able to take it.”
Did you ever have one of those conversations where you wish you could say something different than what leaves your mouth?
I could let my children play bongos on the tray tables if you prefer.
A crying jag can be arranged.
We’re going to peek over the seats and force you into an endless game of peek-a-boo later.
Instead, I apologized like the polite person I am. I was sitting in the last row with a terrible jet engine din and could barely hear what I was reading. Was I a little loud? Maybe. Could she have approached the subject differently? Sure. So could the cowardly husband who decided to give a rude stare and play with his seat, knowing that we in the last row had nowhere to recline ourselves.
She finished by not making eye contact. “Well, just lower your voice.”
Hmmm. I didn’t hear “please.”