Thursday, July 31, 2008

One from the Road: Teetotalling Traveller

I'm writing this from Terminal 6 of Kennedy International Airport in New York, in an attempt to kill the considerable amount of time that stands between me and my flight to Pittsburgh, to finally reunite with some good friends from my exchange-student days (friends I have now spent more time away from than with).

Little did I know that July 31st is "Bring your small child to America day", as the plane was crawling with the snotty-faced urchins. The satisfaction I usually feel when I finally sit on the plane bound for wherever the hell I’m going was short lived, for my ears were immediately battered with the sounds of some screaming shit-dispenser behind me.

Before I had time to wince, a steward appeared in my vision, and told me that there was a family who would like to sit together and if I'd be willing- at which point I cut him off with a enthusiastic "yes". The flamboyant pretzel-pusher then tantalizingly promised "I'll take care of you for this" - making me excited about the prospect of a journey with a happy ending.

I was positively delighted to be putting some distance between myself and the wailing, but this proved to be a little premature. My new spot was right next to two children - one a few months old - the other three years of age at the most. The elder child and the mother were in a frenzied discussion as I joined them:

Mum, are we flying?
Not yet.
Mum, are we flying?
Not yet.
Mum, are we flying?
Not yet.
Mum, are we flying?
Not yet.
Mum are we flying?


She smiled at me, as if to say "isn't he so cute?” which I promptly shot back at her as she humoured the impetuous infant:

"Not yet."

By now the gelatinous lump on her lap decided it wasn't getting enough attention, so it let rip with a succession of shrieks, each one driving the grimace deeper into my already rather sour pus.

Thankfully, the mother was a woman of action, and she promptly shoved her tit into the tot's face, quelling his quarrelsome mood (a placating method men never grow an immunity to).

Being the polite passenger that I am, I turned away from the suckling nipper, and began to stare longingly at the empty exit-row seat. No sooner had the covetous thoughts taken a hold than a stewardess materialized from behind me and offered me the leg-roomiest spot on the plane.

The plane took off on time, and I got to spend six and a half hours, enjoying the ingenuity employed by a brother and sister pair in annoying one another. The stewardess of ambivalent offers appeared and revealed the spoils of my charitable acts: free alcohol.

Offering free booze to this teetotalling traveller meant about as much to me as my mother's assurances that she'd pray for my safe voyage.

4 comments:

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caitlin said...

loves this -- "...she promptly shoved her tit into the tots face, quelling his quarrelsome mood (a placating method men never grow an immunity to.")

Jason said...

Vintage Sully.

Jason said...

"Screaming shit-dispenser" is my new term for "child".

And some adults too.