Well, it’s final, we’re moving to Arizona. Why, you ask? Don’t you hate Arizona? Don’t you find it a soulless wad of brown stucco? Don’t you hate the heat? Don’t you find the local politics frightening?
Yes, but we’re never getting on a plane with those two kids again, so we really have no option but to stay here, forever.
We had another trauma getting through airport security with the twins. We were even singled out for special screening at one point. Special screening? You’ve got to be kidding me. Do you think we stuffed our twins full of C4 explosives or something? We’re too exhausted to hatch a terrorist plot. If we had that kind of time, we would take a nap. But no… we had to go through a whole security-based kabuki dance while standing in our stocking feet in the airport clutching our babies as some machine shot air at us to insure we weren’t covered in gunpowder or something. It made me feel much safer, much, much safer.
As I stood trying to put my shoes back on while not dropping a baby, I couldn’t help but reflect on how drastically my traveling experience has changed over the last six months.
Over the last decade or so, I’ve become something of an expert flyer. I’ve been on hundreds of flights, from quick Washington to NYC shuttles, to an epic LA to Singapore jaunt. In that span of time, I’ve learned how to fly. I’ve got my rhythms, I’ve got my routines, I’ve got my coping mechanisms.
It’s all about the cocoon, really. I board my flight, grab my copy of the Economist, slap on my noise canceling headphones, and shut the rest of the world out. If needed, an iPod may be utilized to further obliterate the outside world. I can melt away a 5 hour coast-to-coast flight without even breaking a sweat. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually come to look forward to some flights. They’re the only time I really get to chill out and read anymore.
Or should I say they were
the only time I could read and chill out and read. Traveling with a lap child is a whole different experience. Retreat into the world of books and music and silence and sleep is no longer an option. Your hands are full (literally) with that kid. You can’t reach your iPod, you can’t read your magazine, you can’t really do anything.
Instead, you sit there, stare at the seat in front of you, and pray that the little bundle of joy you’re holding doesn’t launch into a scream so loud it interferes with the plane’s navigation system. You become hyper aware of your surroundings, and realize more fully what you’ve always known about flying: it’s a dreadful, boring, uncomfortable, and dehumanizing experience.
Thus far, I’ve been pretty lucky with the whole screaming baby thing. They’ve fussed a couple of times, but Nate and Will are generally pretty well behaved on planes. But I fear my luck will run out soon. You see, karma is waiting to kick me in the butt. And when it does, it will kick hard.
When I was a young ruffian in his mid 20s, I was not a terribly patient man. I was very put out by strollers on escalators, childproof cabinets, and the Teletubbies. I defenitely had no place for small children on planes. I may have even proposed a law banning all children under the age of 17 from all commercial aircrafts. If I was on a plane, and a small child was screaming, I was that guy who was shooting nasty glances at the parents with a look that said, “Can’t you make that thing
Now that I’m a parent, I know that you really can’t make that thing shut up, no matter how hard you try. Luckily for me, I haven’t had a child melt down on a plane. Yet. We’ve been on four flights with no incidents. Four flights. How long will my luck hold out?
Karma would indicate that my luck will not hold out much longer. So if you’re on a flight from Phoenix to Oregon this week, and there are screaming twin babies onboard, please accept my apologies. I should have been a nicer person in the 1990s.
Labels: babies, pictures, twins