YES! And I have the story to prove it:
It all began with a vacation. We were boarding a return flight from a brief getaway, just myself, the two kids, and my mom. The tot has always traveled well and I often count myself lucky to have such an easy going child. Yet, no matter how mild mannered the child, every parent experiences nervousness and anxiety prior to a plane ride with a baby or a toddler. Besides temper tantrums, there is so much potential for misery: exploding diapers, puking, spilled milk, and so on.
So, as my older daughter claimed the prime window spot, I settled into the center seat. My mom, unable to reserve a seat next to us, made her way toward the back of the plane. As she walked away, I silently prayed that our seat mate would be willing to trade spots with her, and I would have another adult to assist me in wrangling a writhing toddler. I was optimistic. After all, who would turn down an opportunity to get further away from the baby on the plane?
I watched people approach, trying to mentally coax the kind-looking passengers our way. And then, there she was, in all her Texas bling. Big hair, big sun glasses, big carry-on. The 20-something smiled at me and sat down in the aisle seat. I took a big breath and made the request: please switch seats with my mother.
“No, I’d rather sit next to my friend,” she said, as she acknowledged a similarly blinged out young lady in the neighboring aisle seat. I was disappointed.
That’s when I noticed the friend’s seatmates: a mom and a young girl. I listened in as the mom made a similar request of the friend: Please switch seats with my 7-year-old son so he isn’t sitting in the back with strangers.
She, too, was denied.
I get it. I know they had their assigned seats and preferred to sit next to each other. But to leave a little boy in the back of the plane, away from his family, was appalling. I would be fine without my mom’s help, but that poor little boy might be scared and lonely. My disappointment turned to anger.
Throughout the flight, that anger grew. I seethed as the two friends, previously so desperate for each other’s company, proceeded to ignore each other. One read a Vogue magazine, the other slept.
I began to wish the tot would scream. I was secretly, passive-aggressively, hoping for a full-blown temper tantrum. I’m ashamed to admit that I even considered stealing her binky just to elicit a tormented cry.
I did what I could. I took over the arm rest. I restrained the tot only enough to prevent the kicking of a lap tray. And, when the well-behaved tot slept, I allowed her little legs to stretch to their full length.
When the beverage cart came slowly down the aisle and the flight attendant took our orders, the young, selfish seat mate ordered a bloody mary. I noticed the too-big sunglasses, unnecessarily still on her face, and my wicked mind began to spin it’s wheels. Perhaps she’s hungover!
Oh please, let the tot have a temper tantrum! Oh please, let her chuck Cheerios at the self-absorbed duo! Oh please, let her grab a handful of that well-coiffed, Aquanet scrunched hair! Oh please, let a perfectly-aimed, full-bodied flail knock that bloody mary over right onto that Vogue magazine!
No such luck. For the most part, she was a perfect angel. Her one minor burst of unhappiness occurred, of course, while our hungover friend was in the bathroom.
My evil thoughts entertained me for the duration of the flight. As we pulled into the gate and prepared to leave the plane, the young lady turned and smiled at the tot. She then looked at me and said, in a sweet voice, “She sure was good. Is she always such a sweet baby?”.
Yes, damn it. She is.