Flying with Children
Late August, 2008. I was supposed to fly home 10 days before, but the night before my flight I’d had a dark feeling in my heart, and I postponed the trip. Maybe it was a panic attack, set off by my adulterated brains which had been marinating in alcohol for two months. Maybe it was something else. What’s certain is that the first light of day on a morning in August found me dragging my red cabin bag behind me, as I was heading for gate God-knows-what at Otopeni.
Upon arriving there, I spotted a sexy woman trying to control two unruly children. I had seen her at the check-in counter, but the two bundles of trouble had somehow escaped my visual recon. I dared not venture too close, because the kids were extremely loud and I was extremely hung over. Reeking of alcohol, I sat down somewhere and waited for time to contract or something. Then the boarding queue, then the squeezing around the aisle past people with huge bags, then the sitting down in my seat…Normally, this would have annoyed the living hell out of me, but I’d only gotten three hours of sleep the night before and I simply didn’t have the strength to be annoyed. On the seat next to mine, I found a nice little string bracelet sporting the Romanian colours. I copped it.
A couple of minutes later, a KLM stewardess (yes, stewardess, not flight attendant) came over and asked me nicely if I didn’t mind switching seats so that two people could be together. In the name of love, I allowed myself to be led to my new spot, and was pleased to see that it was right next to the sexy mother that I spoke about earlier. I mean, the kids would surely fall asleep during the flight, right?
My optimism was ghastly misplaced. As we took off, the little girl let out this unbelievable shriek that did not sound human in the least, and the little boy covered his ears and started shouting at his sister to stop. This was only the beginning, for these kids had batteries that could last for a flight to Australia. The horrible things that happened afterward are a bit hard to remember, as the brain is said to get rid of traumatic memories, but it involved a much screaming, repeated apologies from the mother, repeated apologies from distraught KLM stewardesses who seemed to want to strangle the children, the disappearing act of any kind of sexual arousal that being in close quarters with the mother might have occasioned, as well as the rapid onset of nausea. A combination of being high in the sky and a scene from hell taking place next to me made me want to throw my guts up.
About an hour and a half into the flight, the children were still hollering and I was feeling more and more nauseated. I got up from my seat and left the struggling mother behind. I went over aft to the galley, and asked the stewardesses to please give me something for nausea. They did, and kindly invited me to spend the rest of the flight with them, as no one should be forced to sit where I was sitting. We chilled until the captain started descending towards Amsterdam.
I walked over to my seat, still feeling a bit woozy, and found that the children had thankfully calmed down. They were only screaming 10 seconds a minute now. I took my place, strapped down and decided to pretend I was the father. I helped out the little family as best as I could with no hidden desire for the mother. I was just enjoying playing daddy. I like to think I managed to calm down the kids even more, but the fun wouldn’t last. As we got down to a lower altitude, the bacchanal started again. One angry fool to my right turned in his seat and let off some steam at us. That was the straw that did some things to the camel’s back.
I leaned over like I was gonna smack his bitch ass into a whimpering dwarf and let off all my frustration on him. I screamed at him, “WHAT MOTHAFUCKA! YOU DIDN’T CRY WHEN YOU WAS A KID? YOU THINK THERE’S A SWITCH THAT’S GONNA TURN THEM OFF? YOU GOT A CONSTRUCTIVE IDEA OR YOU GONNA SHUT THE F*&^*%& UP?”. He chose door number two. The mother looked at me like ‘Where did that come from?’ I wished we would land already. And so we did, eventually, to the sound of a thousand hounds tearing into the ass of a banshee.
At Schiphol airport, the mother and I bade each other goodbye, and I prepared for the ten-hour wait for my connecting flight. I sometimes admire my own patience.