I love children. I love their imaginations. I love their tiny shoes. I even love when they are “spirited”, as I can relate heavily to that. However, when I have to interact with a child during travel, I become some sort of Ms. Hannigan-Widow Corney-Lucielle Bluth hybrid of child hater.
Just such an incident occurred on the way home from my awesome family reunion oriented around my Grandmother’s 90th birthday. I started out the trip sitting next to an empty seat; thrillingly. But as more late-comers kept trickling onto the plane, my spirits began to sink. One such late-comer was a man in a Giant’s jersey struggling down the aisle followed by a teenager. After a scuffle several rows up, the man approached the girl at the end of my row.
“I’m sorry; I have a young child, would you mind switching seats with me?”
So this girl has to get up from her aisle seat and move a few rows up to sit in the middle, between two other people. So annoying. Surely teenager walking on with Giants’ fan could sit by himself. He looked old enough to drive. To make me leave a seat where I was only touching one stranger’s arm and take a spot where I had arm fat touching arm fat on all sides, I would have needed groveling.
Sitting in the middle on a plane, bus or car trip has its own circle in hell. No matter how small you try to make yourself to avoid stranger touching, strangers will touch you. This excessive physical contact with people you don’t know is why I don’t sit down on the subway. I would much rather stand and have foot to foot contact, where shoes can shield such indecencies.
That’s when I saw the reason for all the fuss: the young child wasn’t the disgruntled high schooler from three rows up, he was a three year old too tiny to be seen in the aisle! Making matters worse, Mr. Giants started chastising his son, who had apparently cried as a result of being left to sit in the middle of two adults who were strangers to him.
I spent about 10 seconds feeling incredibly sorry for this child because his father obviously has no idea how to take care of another living being. I spent the rest of the two hour flight getting kicked, nudged and generally bothered by the fidgetiest three year old ever. It was all I could do not to yell at this overly permissive yet neglectful father to rein in his kid. Since he never kicked me hard, I felt bad just telling this kid to sit still. I was terrified of water works, as his screeches might have thrown me over the edge.