Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dear Mr. Business Traveler in Seat 17C:

Dear Mr. Business Traveler in Seat 17C:

Because it appeared to me, based on your grumpy demeanor, and incredibly ugly shiny black suit, that you must not have a very happy or cheerful personality, I thought I would take this opportunity, in the Land of Positive Feedback, to tell you a few things you did on the flight from Atlanta to Oklahoma City last Thursday that did NOT bother me. Then you can take this information, and constructive criticism, and work a little harder on your Happy Traits, and perhaps forge a better, friendlier bond with the next Mom Who Happens To Be Flying With Her Children that you encounter. Because I seriously suspect that you don’t have many friends, and of course my ultimate goal in life is to help Crabby People Like Yourself improve themselves. So here are a few pointers, from me to you, with love:

It did NOT bother me when you saw my children and me walk down the aisle to the empty seats surrounding you on the airplane, and your face immediately transformed into that of a person who just found a three-month old dish of soured yogurt in the back of his fridge, or someone who just stepped in dog poo-poo with their bare feet. I would like to point out to you, however, that there were only three of them. Not ten, not twenty. Three. And please take note for next time of their ages. I had no crying newborns, fussy babies, or demanding toddlers. Really, it shouldn’t have been so horrifying for you. My children, with the exception of the Fart-Knocker episode, were actually pretty well-behaved. As were the three young children sitting in front of them, in case you didn’t notice.

It did NOT bother me when both you and the equally grumpy man across the aisle refused to change seats so me and my kids could all sit somewhat together. (I’m lying, this totally bothered me, but I’m trying to be positive here.) But perhaps next time you should realize that if you insist on sitting between me and my children, (I can only assume because you are not willing to give up the aisle seat) that it is inevitable I will reach across you to hand things to my children, or talk across you to tell them things. Perhaps next time, instead of spending all your money on that ugly shiny black tie, you could spring for a first class ticket and avoid families like ours.

It did NOT bother me when you rolled your eyes and harrumph’ed under your breath the fifteenth time my children turned around to ask me if they could put down their trays yet. Perhaps you didn’t realize it, but they wanted to color and needed a flat surface to do that. It’s not that they were being stupid or obtuse or pestering me for the fun of it. Plus, to be completely frank, I don’t see where they were hurting you anyway. But just as a suggestion for the future, you should try to keep your opinions (and your obvious hatred of children) to yourself.

It did NOT bother me, when you asked in a sarcastic tone, if Disney World was running a free airline special, as “every flight you’ve been on this week was full of kids.” Comments like this, while perhaps intended to convey your disdain at having to travel with us, simply re-affirmed my original suspicion that you (thank goodness) do not have children yourself. Otherwise you would know about a little thing called “Summer Break Vacations” that families take this time each year.

It did NOT bother me when you pretended to be asleep and not hear my youngest daughter turn around and tell me she needed to go to the bathroom. Or when you pretended not to hear me tell her that there was a line for the restroom in the back of the plane, and that I would walk her up to the restroom at the front of the plane. Not that it’s any of your business, but she had an upset tummy and needed to go to the bathroom right then, hence the reason for our urgency.

I’ll admit, it bothered me a little bit when I repeated myself, more loudly, so you could “wake up” and move out of my way so I could get out of my seat. And it bothered me a little more that you still pretended to be asleep, so I had to tap you on the shoulder and ask you to excuse me, so I could get out of my window seat and take my daughter to the bathroom.

No, all of these things I could overlook and forgive.

WHAT BOTHERED ME was when you refused to get your lazy self out of the seat for two seconds to STAND UP, STEP INTO THE AISLE, AND LET ME OUT OF MY SEAT TO TAKE HER TO THE RESTROOM. Are you kidding me????? Yes, I’m talking to you, Mr.-Turn-Your-Knees-To-The-Side-And-Lean-In-Like-People-Do-In-A-Movie-Theater-Man. For Heaven’s sake, we weren’t in the middle of a church pew …. YOU were the aisle seat, and you refused to get up!!!

Forcing me to grab hold of the seat in front of me for dear life, suck my stomach muscles in and squeeeeeeeeeeeze my rear end past your head, duck-walking to the aisle so I wouldn’t hit my head on the overhead bins, worrying all the while I would step on the toes of your astonishingly ugly shiny black shoes, or hit you in the head with my big fat butt. Which, of course, would have totally served you right, but my mother brought me up to have better manners than that.

So while many of these “endearing” personality traits of yours I was able to overlook, or ignore, that was pretty much the one (especially considering we repeated the duck-walk-stomach-in-butt-squeeze-dance when I returned from the restroom) that made me want to punch you in the neck. Repeatedly. You do NOT mess with a mother whose six-year old has an upset stomach on an airplane.

I think if you can remember that one simple rule, you’ll make lots of friends on your upcoming flights. Fortunately for me, we're flying home on a weekend, so I doubt we'll encounter you, Mr. Grumpy Business Man, but I do wish you luck in the future.

Best wishes,

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