In-Flight Entertainment

by d

This chick's got the right idea.

I love kids. I want to have kids of my own. For the most part, I understand them and forgive them their foibles.

But, kids are people, too. And people are assholes.

I’m on the plane out west, sitting next to two kids, brother and sister, traveling on their own. When I got on, they were all settled in with their blankets, looking a little forlorn. I was quite willing to be their in-flight attendant, lend a helping hand if they needed it. I’d seen their worried mom at the gate. I was supposed to get the window seat but the kids got there first, and, really, aisle is better.

When the little girl (who is small enough to curl up sideways in a seat) had her shoe-clad foot against my leg, I wrote it off. Too young to know better.

Then, apropos of nothing, she turns to me and looks right at me, like I am her official babysitter. “I’m thirsty,” she says, looking at me plaintively. Mom made sure they had snacks, but nothing to drink.

“That sucks,” I say sympathetically. (Oh, shit, what if I just says ‘sucks’ to a Mormon child?) “I’m sure once we take off the flight attendants will bring you something.”

A while later, “Will you buy us a snack?”

Will I what?

No. No, I won’t. I managed to ignore that one.

It then became very clear that this kid is a past master at manipulation. When not getting what she wants, she makes sobbing noises. She and her brother squabble. Oh, and somehow I’m her go-to for questions about the in-flight TV, though her older brother, who can read, is RIGHT THERE.

She even tapped my arm when I’d settled in for a sleep.

I appreciate the circumstances. Flying cross country alone is not easy. But there’s no excuse for pestering the stranger beside you when big brother is just as capable. Their parents must let her get away with this crap.

Not bad, two hours before the first real fight. …three more to go.

I ignore a few more pointed attempts to get me to look after her, win myself the top score on the in-flight trivia game (HAH!) and manage to fall asleep. I’m running on three hours.

It can’t be more than an hour later when I wake up to find Little Miss trying to wriggle past me. She and her brother. Neither says Excuse Me now that they know I’m awake. I’m dazed, adrenaline dope, and move for them but don’t get up. All I can do is stare at the tray the little girl left down. It’s covered in bits and bobs–the bag with her toys, a mostly empty water cup, etc. Yet neither child has thought to move the items and put up the tray. They both crawl under it, making a total meal of what is already an irritating situation.

Needless to say, there is no more sleep for me.

Little Miss manages it, though. She conks out with her head on her brother’s arm rest, and actually sleeps through the landing. In fact, she falls asleep with her feet on the tray. The attendant has to tell her to move them, “People eat on that tray!” I think that’s a bit melodramatic, myself, but Little Miss put her feet down and kept on sleeping.

Big brother watched TV and played games, not really interested. He was 7/8/9, she was 4/5/6. It’s hard to tell when you’re trying not to make eye contact.

I count my lucky stars on this one. It could have been way, WAY worse. That’s a damning indictment of the way kids are raised. I was raised to respect others’ space, and would never have encroached. I certainly wouldn’t have tried to clamber over someone and their bag–crushing food in the process.

This is about bad parenting. Somewhere along the way, these kids got the following messages:

  • It’s ok to ignore your little sister instead of being proactive in looking after her. (ANY older sibling should look out for ANY younger sibling.)
  • Sprawl where you like, it doesn’t matter where you are or who’s around.
  • Personal space? What’s that?
  • Don’t ask for things, just do what you want instead.
  • If you must ask, heavily imply by your tone and cobra-like stare that this is not really a question, it’s an order.
  • Never apologize for anything.
  • The people around you exist only for your convenience.

These unaccompanied minors are no longer unaccompanied. I saw them leaving the airport with a woman, all happy as pigs in shit. This woman has no idea what subversive little wretches they are. Neither does the woman who dropped them off for the flight.

This little girl is going to grow up into a manipulative, entitled little snot. Wait, scratch that, she’s already there.

6 Comments to “In-Flight Entertainment”

  1. Ugh! I hate it when kids get like this! There’s actually still time for her (and even the boy) to change, because I wasn’t much different than them when I was their age. But, I changed as I grew and gained sense and life experience.

    But, I’m wondering. Okay, so obviously these kids weren’t taught manners. But, why in heaven’s name weren’t they taught NOT to speak to strangers?? Obviously, you’re not a weirdo, but there was no way for them to know that. If you were a weirdo you could’ve kidnapped them and spirited them off into sex trafficking or something. Seriously! There ARE sick people who do that and they LOOK just like the regular people. Contrary to cartoons and most television and movies (and even books), the “bad guys” do not look like grotesque monsters.

  2. You make an excellent point!! This experience has to be somewhat confusing–they aren’t supposed to talk to strangers…except the people running the flight. Presumably that extended to me, in their minds.

    You’re right, I could have done something awful if I’d wanted to. Even the attendants had to make an effort to remember that they didn’t belong to me.

    What happened to the days when lone children were given special treatment? They should be seated near the galley, at the very least.

    • I agree, I think it’s bizarre that they were flying alone that young in the first place, but that nobody was making a real effort to watch them and attend to them since they were flying alone and had no parent or familial/family-friendly guardian to be watching out for them on this trip. The reason that you give children special treatment when they fly alone is because they have nobody there to do for them if they can’t do for themselves and they ANNOY other passengers if you don’t. -_-; Plus, it’s easy for small children to get kidnapped. It’s just best for everybody all around if they get special treatment during the flight.

      • Hear hear! Just wait, it’ll happen. And then the airlines will give the matter the same rational care they gave to airport security.

        If it were a shorter flight, it might not have been so bad. Two young kids on a plane for an hour or two? Not nearly as bad as over five hours in the air, without a credit card to pay for the in-flight TV service, which might have kept them occupied. No broadcast movie.

  3. The future of feminism, folks!
    Also, I think it’s a little ridiculous that airlines don’t monitor children flying on their own. Like V said, you could’ve /easily/ kidnapped them.

    I think it’s this kind of casual negligence and irresponsibility that makes children act out. It’s natural for them to want to be heard, and it’s disastrous for them when they don’t know how.

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