Another incident of “baby apology goodie bags” has gone viral. This most recent example involves parents handing out candy and earplugs to their fellow airplane travelers, to curry good favor in the event their infant is heard as well as seen.
If I went around the grocery store handing out $5 to everyone once we arrived “just in case” my child has a hard time, it would be considered superfluous (I hope). But read a lot of the headlines and article comments associated with this story and you’ll find a general attitude of, “This should be normal for all parents traveling with babies, I absolutely deserve candy for being stuck on a plane with them.”
Babies are people too, and I don’t understand why parents feel this burden to placate total strangers for normal infant behavior. Babies cry and fuss. (Well, I didn’t, but that’s because I had a hole in my heart – oxygen issues. Healthy babies cry and fuss. Remember that.)
Baby G is 6 months old and recently discovered that she has the ability to strongly give voice to her disapproval of a situation. After looking at each other with shocked eyes the other night, SoldierMan said, “Well, she can’t use words….”
And in case it comes across that I’m biased because I have a baby, for the last 30 years I’ve traveled without one. And I’ve encountered plenty of things just as or even more annoying on a plane than a fussy baby.
Safety Choreography – No offense to flight attendants, since I know they don’t make the rules. But really. Every. Single. Flight. When you’ve already been on one or two connecting ones that day. We have to sit through the same tedious and condescending demonstration on how to use a seat belt. A seat belt. A couple of years ago I flew home for Christmas, and the flight attendant had rewritten the safety briefing along the lines of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” I wish I had thought to record it. It was very clever and cute, and I know would have been a youtube sensation. You actually wanted to listen to it.
Talkers – I know, I know, I complain about this all the time. But I’m not on a plane to make new friends. (My mother, on the other hand….) When I’m flying alone, I like to either read or nap, or both if there’s time. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to learn their life story. I don’t care why they’re going where they’re going or what they’ll do when they get there. I know, I’m a basically self-centered person. But I’m not looking to be best friends with anyone. A polite hello letting me know you aren’t a serial killer is perfectly sufficient. Interrupt my book to try and sell me insurance (yes, that happened) and you’re permanently on my bad list.
Kickers – Lest there be any confusion regarding the subject of this post, I’m not defending genuinely misbehaving kids. There’s a difference between human beings displaying normal human behavior (such as infant fussing when they are hungry, tired, or uncomfortable) and actual bad behavior. Like the kids who kick the back of your seat the entire flight. All two and a half hours. Oh my gosh.
Pricks – There’s always that guy who gets to the back of the plane and then throws a fit because all the CLOSED overhead compartments are full, and his carry-on has to go to the front of the plane, 15 rows ahead of his seat. Think a baby fussing is annoying? Sit next to the guy who’s having trouble connecting to the WiFi.
Cats – Have you ever flown with a cat in the cabin that very much did not want to fly that day? I have. That’s way more irritating than a baby.
TSA – Okay, okay, I guess this isn’t really on the plane. But I can never let an opportunity go by to remind people that purchasing an airline ticket shouldn’t qualify as “probable cause” for search and seizure of your person and property. There’s an expectation that police officers – who actually get assaulted and shot at by actual bad guys during the course of their job – should be omniscient, inexhaustibly patient, and slightly-less-equipped for self-defense than the general population, but we shrug off the woman in a “uniform” marching up and down a line of grandparents, honeymooners, and professionals shouting, “HAVE YOUR ID CARDS OUT!” less than a foot away from them. (That was the El Paso airport, in case you were wondering.)
And, maybe if everyone wasn’t manhandled and scanned and required to unpack and repack all their belongings and take off their belts and shoes and jackets and put them back on before even getting to “deh plane,” maybe everyone would still feel charitable towards their neighbor when we finally got sardined together for the journey.photo credit: FabulousTerrah via photopin cc