Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy

Yesterday morning at 6 a.m., the Mr. and I boarded a plane bound for Atlanta, where we would catch our connection to San Francisco. Just as I was settling in for a little nap (or my best imitation of a nap in those seats), a 3- or 4-year-old girl and her mother boarded the plane and sat right behind us.

"Mommy, mommy. When does the plane leave?"
"Soon, honey."

It wasn't long before my eyes got heavy and I fell fast asleep, because I only got about 90 minutes of sleep prior to that. I was a crank yesterday.

"Mommy, mommy. How do they know when we're ready to leave?"

The plane backed away from the gate with so much speed that I woke up and my first thought was of those elderly drivers you hear about from time to time, the ones who confuse the brake pedal with the gas pedal and wind up in someone's living room right in the middle of a "Home Improvement" rerun.

"Mommy, mommy. That was fast!"

We took off. I put some Wilco on my iPod and passed out.

"Mommy, mommy. What if we fly out the back?"

The rest of the flight was like that, me drifting in and out of consciousness, each time hearing the girl ask another question. I turned up my iPod, but even Jeff Tweedy's soothing voice couldn't drown her out.

"Mommy, mommy. What's first class?"

Her mom was so patient. I don't understand how. Moms amaze me. No, I'm serious.

"Mommy, mommy. How long are we flying for?"

In one of my states of mild consciousness, I wondered what would annoy me more? Having a baby that cried constantly for no reason? Or a kid that asked questions incessantly, each one preceded with "Mommy mommy!"? Oh, I suppose it's good that she's inquisitive and showing so much curiosity about the world and yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah.

"Mommy, mommy. Why is this strange lady locking me in the bathroom?"
"Because you just don't shut up, honey."

On the next leg of the flight, we were seated over the wing. A woman boarded with her toddler daughter and screaming infant son and they sat in front of us. Now, I'm not completely heartless. I know motherhood is tough. It's tougher that I think I'm capable of handling (see above re: locking kid in bathroom). But, I don't know. Couldn't she have sat at an extreme end of the plane? It was suggested to me that perhaps she was too wrapped up in, I don't know, being a mom to think of that. I can understand that. I mean, it sounds like something I would do. I'd probably do something worse. I don't know what's worse, but I guarantee you I'll think of it if given enough time. I know what's worse. I'd probably forget my kid at home, like in "Home Alone."

Anyway, it turns out that I had nothing to worry about at all. I barely heard the baby after takeoff and both he and his mom did a swell job of keeping the noise to a minimum. There was a man in their row who I thought was the father, but it was just some guy. She was traveling by herself, so I felt like an even bigger bitch for not being patient because she had no one to help her.

But still, it occurred to me later that perhaps there should be crying rooms on planes, much like they have at churches. All the parents with babies and young children can gather in there and rest assured they're not torturing anyone but themselves, and the rest of us can concentrate on other airplane annoyances, like seatmates who want to know your life story.

Shall I circulate a petition?