"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance." ~Franklin P. Jones
When you find yourself suffering from terrible insomnia just 48 hours before flying across the country, you will find yourself in a no good, very bad, terrible mood. Keep that in mind before you read further:
My flight was from Albany to Baltimore. Baltimore to Oakland. I was already Grumpy McGrumpypants when the gate agent decided that my bag was too big and proceeded to follow me around the airport - including into the bathroom - in an attempt to get me to check my bag. I was just as forceful in my saying ‘HELL NO’ as she was in her quest to get me to give up my luggage. I finally relented because, whatever. There were eye rolls abound and muttering under my breath and general unpleasantness because no one is happy at six AM.
The second part of my flight - Baltimore to Oakland - is a six and a half hour venture across the country. I have done the NY to CA thing on numerous occasions and every time I know that I am going a long distance I make sure to check in 24 hours in advance so that I can get my prized window seat. When it comes to traveling 3,000 miles I become anal retentive because, like most people, I am all about being somewhat comfortable.
There we were sitting on the plane but still at the gate a few minutes past the scheduled departure time. A woman and her three children are the last to board. I am barely paying attention as the flight attendants move the family, swiftly, through the aisle. An announcement is made that only middle seats are left and the front door is about to be closed. I go back to perusing Facebook where I am, somewhat ironically, reading through a friend’s page and giving side eye to mothers judging other mothers and then mothers judging people who don’t have children. Imagine my surprise when I look up and the mother who had just boarded with her three children was telling her young daughter - about seven years old - to sit in the seat beside me. I was at the window and there was an older/grandmotherly looking mother in the aisle seat. Before I can say anything the little girl is sitting next to me and her mother is sitting directly in front of us.
Here is my question: What would you do at this point? Would you protest and switch seats with the parent who didn’t seem that concerned about not sitting with her child or would you do what I did which was to shrug and fall asleep?
Actually, the first thing I did was to sigh and avoid eye contact with the mother in hopes that she wasn’t going to ask me to give up my seat. After it became apparent that she wasn’t going to say a word, I simply fell asleep. My brief moment of bitterness quickly went away and the girl was very good during the very long flight. When she needed assistance with opening something and getting her seat to go back, I was more than happy to help her because it takes a village and all that jazz. I wound up running into her in the restroom post-flight and then at the baggage carousel where she pointed me out to her mom and then enthusiastically waved at me. The mom ended up being pretty chill about the whole thing and thanked me for my diligence.
I realize that I was quick to be offended because I am used to parents being quick to jump and tell others what to do and was pleasantly surprised to have a mother be so chill and not immediately demand my changing seats. I have to wonder if more people would be willing to be nice to kids/families if parents weren’t so prickly. I can honestly say that I am never offended by children but by the adults who are supervising or ‘supervising’ as the case may be.
So, parents, what is the proper etiquette here: Offer to move or go about my business? This inquiring mind would like to know.