Sometimes, and let me be clear, only sometimes, I don’t think I’m bitchy enough to be a writer. (That alone should be enough to spark more interest in my blog than usual)
I was on a plane to New York last week. My daughter and I pre-booked our seats and got to the airport (absurdly) early for check-in. Long story short, we were well prepared and took every measure to insure we were sitting together and that my girl got the window seat she’d been dreaming of.
As we approached our seats, we were met with a stare of frigid disappointment. A mother sat with her tot on her lap and said;
“Oh, we were hoping you wouldn’t be together.”
“Sorry?” I asked, confused.
“My son and I are seated apart, so we were hoping you were going to be able to switch with us.”
“Ah,” I said in an understanding tone. I looked at the little boy, no more than three. I could feel her pain.
I turned to my daughter, only a child herself, and was met with her pleading eyes, but before I could say anything, she relented; “It’s okay, the little boy can sit with his mom.”
I could see she was troubled, only being eleven, but sensing the gravity of the situation, she knew he needed his mommy just a little more than she did.
“Are you sure honey? I asked. “You don’t have to switch if you’re worried. The seat’s yours after all.”
As we were having this conversation, a mere formality, the outcome of which we already knew, we were interrupted by the woman; “’She is just that much older. My boy really needs to sit with me.”
As I absorbed what she was saying, the flight attendant piped in; “Yes, she is older. I’m sure she’ll be fine.”
Amidst the blink of an eye, and some unnecessary tongue flapping, what had started as empathy for the woman and her child was now bordering on resentment and flirting at the edge of anger within me. I was being bullied.
“It’s alright,” I answered, slightly exasperated. “We’ll change seats.”
We settled into our new digs and I leaned back, glad to be out of the limelight. An aisle separated my girl and I. We looked at each other and smiled. No big deal.
Two hours in, she reclined her seat, startling, but not (even close to) disrupting a woman behind her. The woman’s wild curls bounced and her eyes widened behind her very round, thick-rimmed glasses.
With a cluck of her tongue, she looked down her nose and over her specs at the person next to her.
“This is why I wouldn’t switch with them in the first place. I’m a writer”, she claimed with an exasperated tone while stroking the keys of her laptop. “And you see”, her voice all high and mighty, “I still can’t get any peace!”
So, maybe Ava and I couldn’t cuddle, whisper or giggle and perhaps she couldn’t rest her head on my shoulder while she was sleeping and she obviously didn’t get her much anticipated window seat, but we were going to New York, we did hold hands during take off and landing, we had the comfort that came from doing what was right and I would still be a writer…bitch or not.