I must preface this entire “flight from hell” with the fact that my outbound flight was an average, crappy-style flight. I was scheduled to arrive in Buffalo from Tampa at 8 or so pm. My layover – or should I say over night visit – was in Philadelphia. I did eventually arrive in Buffalo and over-enjoyed a close friend’s bachelor party.
The next day I was tired, hung-over, and in a generally bad mood. What a great day to fly! I arrived to the Buffalo airport in the early morning to find my return flight delayed. After about 2 hours of waiting, I did some quick calculations in my head and determined that if I didn’t get on a plane in the next 15 or so minutes I didn’t have a shot at all to make my connection. I inquired with the travel-agent-computer-typer-bad-news-giver-lady to see if she can do anything to help this situation. She offers an alternate flight to Atlanta, but she cannot guarantee that I get from Atlanta to Tampa. My response…whatever…Atlanta is closer to Tampa than Buffalo…has to be quicker…right? I get to Atlanta on time, get a seat on the next plane to Tampa, all is right with the world.
Well, I get bumped from the first flight to Tampa…and the next one. Third time’s the charm, and at the third terminal I am guaranteed a seat to Tampa. The plane should be arriving shortly I was told. I wait….and wait….minutes to hours…hours to days…days to years….well…no…but when all’s said and done…we are to depart at 2:00am and arrive in Tampa at 3:30 am. Awesome, what else could go wrong?
We begin boarding, and I walk down the aisle searching feverishly for 42B. Momentary relief, no fat guy, but middle seat, last row, no reclinability, total bummer. I’m the first to sit down in my row, so I get to watch as all the people parade down the row, and again I find divinity as person after person sits in rows other than mine. Fat guy goes to 28A. Possible terrorist into 33C. Smelly looking old lady stumbles down into 40E. Finally average looking lady slips in next to me at 42A. Could be worse. The cabin appears to be secure. Could I have struck gold? No one in the aisle seat….the aisle seat is mine?!
But alas, I had thanked the heavens prematurely. Down comes a lady clutching several rather large carry-ons. Wait, the one isn’t a carry one…it’s…oh no…a baby…no worse than a baby…a toddler. But…this toddler is not ordinary he’s huge. Not like fat huge, or like cute huge. He’s just like huge huge. Like third grader size.
So our steroid-giant-baby is staring at me during our safety lesson. He’s staring at me while I’m being informed to turn off my electronics. He’s staring at me while I make sure my non-reclinable chair is in its full and upright position, my seatbelt is securely fashioned, and my tray table is in its upright and locked position. But whatever, I won’t be disturbed and bothered by his twilight hours mind games. I’m just going to curl up in between my designated armrests and take a little nap…
“Excuse me. Can I ask you…”
I peek hoping the questions are not being directed toward me.
“Excuse me. Can I ask you for a favor?”
“Can you just hold little Dylan here for a second? I just need to…” as she reaches up toward the overhead. Falling short of reaching it by, oh, I don’t know, a billion feet.
So I am passed this Dylan thing. I hold it so he has one of each of his size 11s on each knee and he’s staring – no, glaring – into my eyes. I see his giant cogs working. Meanwhile, Mom is getting up to get whatever it is that is so important as to place her child into the hands of a complete, and quite frankly, irresponsible stranger. She grabs a sweater. A gesture toward me as to say, “just a sec more…OK?” She turns and walks to the bathroom.
WHAT. WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED? I am stranded in my seat holding a prize winning pumpkin-child and the mother is gone. Out of sight. I know this, and of course, Dylan knows this. He takes one last wide and evil-eyed looked at me, and proceeds to cry. And scream. And wiggle. And kick. And cry. And cry. And cry.
Have you ever tried to soothe a total stranger’s incredibly large, evil baby at 3 am on an airplane? No? Me neither. No idea how to do it. So Dylan cried. For 5 minutes he cried. And people began to awake. Another 5 and people attempted to murder me with dirty looks. Another 5 and people got out of their seats to see what’s wrong. Another 5 and people are offering me advice, toys, money, anything to shut Dylan up. Anything. Why Dylan? Why won’t you shut up? Oh…that’s right, you’re sitting on the lap of a total stranger and your mom is no where to be found.
Alleluia, the mother returns. And as soon as Dylan sees Mom…silence. Dead silence. The water works stop. And he looks at me, glares, and smiles. Oh boy, Dylan, I could just kill you. Mom comes over. Looks at me. Picks up Dylan. Sits back down. And then nothing. Yeah, that’s right. You heard me…nothing. MOM DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING. No thanks. No thank-you. No gracias. No nothing. Oh my. There is going to be a murder. Now it was my turn to glare. And I did. Until big Dylan and Mommy-no-manners got off the plane. If you are out there Mommy-no-manners, I just have one thing to say to you: “YOU’RE WELCOME!”