Turbulence Is Worse When Caused by a 4-Year-Old

I used to think there was nothing worse to have on a plane than the dreaded “B” word.

I’m not talking about a bomb.

I’m talking about a baby.

Many poor infants spend their term on a flight confused, uncomfortable, and crying inconsolably. Parents will try to find some sort of solace for their restless child, but they just end up bothering different passengers on the other end of the plane.

Yes, yes, the “B” word is something we all cross our fingers to avoid on every flight…

…but I’m here to tell you that there are worse passengers than babies.

Heaven forbid you ever end up on a flight with…

A four-year-old.

Recently, I was getting ready to take a flight to Boston.

While waiting for the boarding call, I noticed the family at the terminal.

Everyone noticed the family at the terminal.

They were hard to miss: a pair of rambunctious boys who didn’t know how to handle their energy, plus a pair of exhausted parents who didn’t know how to find more energy for themselves.

I feel bad for whoever ends up on a flight with them, myself and probably everyone else in the terminal was thinking.

Imagine my shock…and the shock of my fellow passengers…when the family lined up at the gate during the Boston boarding call.

They got on with the rest of us.

There was a six-year-old, who I deemed the whiny one, and a four-year-old, who I deemed the even whinier one.

They all found their seats, which, to my dismay, was in the row right behind mine.

And to my further dismay, the even whinier one and his mother decided to take the two seats directly behind me.

The even whinier one, who I learned was named Tyler like a loser, just haaad to sit by the window so he could see the stupid clouds.

I was sitting by the window.

Tyler was going to be behind me.

My feelings were that of the emoji that has lines for its eyes and its mouth.

Well…maybe it won’t be so ba­—ouch.

The first back-of-the-seat kick confirmed it: Tyler and I were not going to get along.

The second back-of-the-seat kick removed all doubt: he didn’t care.

Tyler had no interest in being my friend.

“Mommy, I think the airplane is fun.”

No one asked you, Tyler.

“It is fun, Tyler,” said Mommy who was obviously not listening because no one who can’t drink alcohol has ever had fun on an airplane.

“Mommy, are we in the air yet?”

We literally just sat down.

“No, not yet Tyler.”

A few minutes pass.

“Mommy, I like this airplane. Are we in the air yet?”

Tyler, why don’t look out the damn window that you were so eager to sit next to in the first place. See how that window is clear? See how it being clear allows you to see what’s going on outside?

“Mommy, are we in the air now?”

Mommy, as a favor to everyone on the plane, gives Tyler an iPad and headphones and turns on a TV show for him to watch.

We take off.

Tyler doesn’t even notice.

Oh, what is this beautiful silence! (Says myself and then the whole plane too probably)

Then suddenly—

“Mommy, I want to watch a different show.”

Mommy explains to spoiled Tyler that he can only watch this probably stupid show because there’s no WiFi on the plane and it’s the only one she downloaded and don’t worry we’ll be landing soon anyway.

Pretending like he didn’t know the words “WiFi” and “download” and “shut up we’ll be there soon,” Tyler repeated his request to watch another show.

Mommy explained all those words again.

Tyler kicked my seat.

Don’t start with me Tyler…

And then.

The song happened.

“Waffles in the morning! Waffles late at night!” Tyler sang as loud as his voice could go.

“Tyler–” Mommy foolishly attempted to get him to stop singing his song.

“I love waffles!” Tyler sang as if it was a cool song that literally anyone else in the world wanted to hear. “I love waffles in the morning!”

No one cares.

“I love waffles late at night!”

Still no one cares.

“Waffffflless!!!”

Then the flight attendant came around with snacks and drinks.

Okay, thank god, a snack. Maybe that will keep him quiet for like a second.

I asked for a soda water politely and selected a bag of Cheez-Its out of the selection of cookies and crackers.

“And what would you two like?” The flight attendant asked Tyler and Mommy.

Oh, here we go.

“Do you want some juice, Tyler?” Mommy asked.

Tyler requested grape juice.

They only had orange and apple.

He asked for grape juice again.

They told him it wasn’t available.

He asks for it again.

Goddammit Tyler.

Then came time for the snack selection.

AND HE COULDN’T DECIDE BETWEEN CHEEZ-ITS, PRETZELS, AND THOSE GENERIC COFFEE COOKIES THAT TASTE LIKE OFF-BRAND GRAHAM CRACKERS.

THIS IS AN EASY ONE, TYLER.

The flight attendant kept showing Tyler the different options.

Exasperated, she offered to give him all three.

Listen, lady, at least this is the only time you’ll have to talk with him.

“Do you want some Cheerios that Mommy packed?” Mommy asked.

Tyler, in attempts of wasting everyone’s day, waited a little longer and then eventually decided to go for the snack that was in Mommy’s bag the whole time.

Typical.

Tyler kicked the back of my seat.

Mommy reminded him not to.

You’re wasting your time, Mommy.

“I love waffles late at night!”

And then the tray table was discovered.

Tyler pulled it down.

And then the tray table’s push-and-pull mechanism was discovered.

The tray table was connected to my seat.

Mommy reminded him of that.

She said, “Tyler, this tray table is connected to someone else’s seat. Someone really kind and patient and undeserving of this treatment.”

Well she said something like that.

Tyler told Mommy that “it was okay” and continued playing with the tray table.

Oh, it’s okay, is it Tyler? Will it be okay when I…

The end of that sentence is “when I sit here and do nothing because you’re four years old and I’m thirty and even though I would technically win in a fight, a court of law would not see it the same way.”

“Waffle waffle waffles never boring!”

MOMMY, DOWNLOAD THAT SHOW THAT HE WAS ASKING FOR. PLEASE.

“Waffles for lunch and school and dinnerrrrr!”

Shortly after the waffle song had gone through its nine-hundredth chorus, and my questions about Tyler’s feelings towards waffles were confirmed, the plane finally landed.

And the taxiing process began.

And just when I thought my time with Tyler was coming to an end, we were informed that all of the loading zones were full, and that we would have to wait a few more minutes to get off.

No. 

No.

No.

“I love waffles late at night!”

Seat kick.

NO. 

“I want to get off the plane.” (Tyler and his idiot statements)

“We’ll get off soon, Tyler.” (Mommy and her lies)

“I want to get off the plane now.”

Oh.

OH!

HEY EVERYONE! TYLER WANTS TO GET OFF THE PLANE! NOW CAN WE GET OFF SINCE TYLER WANTS TO! 

WE WERE JUST TRYING TO EXTEND OUR TIME WITH EACH OTHER IN THIS TINY CAPSULE, TYLER. WE WERE HOPING TO HEAR MORE OF THE WAFFLE SONG LYRICS. OH, IT DOESN’T HAVE ANY MORE LYRICS? THAT’S FINE, JUST THE SAME THREE LINES YOU’VE BEEN SINGING WILL DO! 

BUT NOW THAT WE KNOW YOU WANT TO GET OFF, WE’LL JUST GO AHEAD AND OPEN THE DOORS THEN! THANKS FOR LETTING US KNOW YOUR FEELINGS, TYLER!

If this was a DVD, for some reason, the above three paragraphs would be an “Extras” menu alternate ending, with me saying those words out loud – instead of in my head – sticking up for myself like any good American, followed by the rest of the plane applauding because they’ve felt the same way during the whole flight.

Hold on, do DVDs still have alternate endings?

Do DVDs still exist?

But in the real ending, I keep all of those thoughts in my head. Because any adult verbally attacking a four-year-old is suddenly the bad guy, no matter how many seat-kicks and waffle song lyrics occurred prior to the attack.

And so, in the end, we all got to Boston safely and in one piece, which is all the airline really guarantees anyway.

And I finally exited the plane, my only souvenirs from the flight being a slightly sore neck and a sudden craving for waffles.

Because, as I recently learned, they’re good any time of the day.


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