Sunday, April 7, 2013

Flying the Shrieking Skies

I had to wait to write this until I could calm myself and be reasonable. I didn’t want the entire post to be profanity; because it was that bad. Some people may be offended and judge me, and that’s ok. But here’s the thing: babies should not be allowed on planes, because they’re horrible. Babies, not planes.
By now you probably think I hate children. I don’t. I have a nephew and he’s awesome, partly because he never shrieks at the top of his lungs. And it’s not just about being greedy for the pleasure of screech-free flying, although I am. There are health issues to be concerned about. I’m referring to headaches, deafness, (which ironically would be a blessing) and the stress that is caused by suppressing one’s natural instincts; namely the urge to fling peanuts, SkyMall catalogues, or whatever else is within reach at the offending baby.
I get it parents. You like your babies. You like to take them with you. But you have to balance your, I have to use the word “selfish,” want against what you’re putting other people through. If you do insist on taking a baby with you on a plane, (a small enclosed space where people are trapped with your horrible baby) then bring shit to entertain it. Please don’t rely on it being enchanted by the nozzle of the air conditioning vent. As I know from personal experience, that fascination is fleeting.
Pack a toy; and maybe some Nyquil, the airline will provide the booze. And yeah, all that stuff is for the baby. “Oh no,” you may be thinking. “I don’t want to drug my baby when it’s not even sick, that’s horrible!”  It’s not that bad. People used to put brandy right into the bottle, and drink and smoke while pregnant. And breastfeeding. The human race survived. And so will your baby. Probably. I’m not a pediatrician, but probably.
Well, maybe. I mean, there’s really no way of knowing what will happen. But I do know that sobriety is no guarantee of a safe childhood. Anything can happen. Besides, I believe they make Nyquil just for children. And if something is made specifically for children, then it would be bad parenting not to give it to them. It would be like denying your baby vitamins. Because drug companies care.
And if your child is shrieking and giving someone all the way across the aisle a headache because it’s so damn loud, don’t smile around as though you think it’s cute, and don't expect anyone else to think it’s cute. Shut that kid up. Screeching is not adorable. And when you act like you expect me to find it adorable, I want to hit you in the face.
Airlines: don’t let babies fly for free. You’re just exacerbating the problem. Make them pay at least full fare, perhaps with an additional noise hazard tax of 100%. And consider turning one or two of the bathrooms into soundproof penalty boxes for particularly rowdy babies. Better that the rest of us have to hold it, than have to listen to some rowdy infant scream as though it’s being skinned because it dropped a pacifier.
It also wouldn’t hurt to penalize the parents of bad babies. Perhaps a modest fine could be imposed on those that allow a baby to get out of hand. Like a dollar. Per passenger. Payable every time their baby shrieks. Or cries. Or stinks. Incidentally, if that policy had been in effect during my last flight, my next flight would have been paid for. And that would have been justice.  
Please remember airlines, that frequent flyer perks aside, you have an obligation to treat your passengers equally and fairly. If I behaved like a certain baby named Quinn*(whose parents passed out earplugs and candy at the beginning of the flight, which I should have taken as a sign of end times instead of mistaking it for a courtesy) you would fly me over Guantanamo without passing GO and push me out a hatch. Fair is fair.
To the babies: Just stay home. Ask for a babysitter. Remember, anyone who cares will come to you. I’m talking grandparents. Yeah, that’s it, just grandparents. Everybody else is waiting until you’re a little older and less terrible. It’s ok. The rest of the world will start to warm to you when you can say words and poop in the toilet. And babies? One more thing: It’s bullshit to scream when you’re upset, and then scream when you’re happy. Get a grip.
*Seriously, she’s the devil. (Whom I didn’t even believe existed until this kid sat behind me for two hours.)