Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Neck Pillow

I don't travel well. Truly.

I'm talking about the actual act of traveling. Not being in a different place. I like that part, mostly. Depending on the place. And how old I feel. And how much I'm liking my own bed at the moment.

But the act of getting myself from one place to the next = not a thing I do well.

Whenever we have to fly somewhere Skylar bribes me with treats and compliments in a usually fruitless effort to keep me from becoming, as he calls it, "Mr. Cranky Pants" by the time we land at our destination.

Flying just takes a lot out of me. The hauling of bags. The being eyed suspiciously by people who are paid to weed out terrorists. The airport energy, which can only be described as "fatigued panic." The waiting. The climbing into a confined space that can fly for a reason that literally no one in the world understands and science can't explain. The arm-to-arm contact with a stranger who is transmitting a personal dose of fatigued panic. The sitting for sometimes many hours. The recycled air. The looming fear that at any given moment we could all be dead and there's literally nothing any of us can do about it. The waiting on a hot plane for the fatigued panicky masses to unload.

AND THEN YOU AREN'T EVEN AT YOUR DESTINATION because you still have to navigate another airport and whatever chaos surrounds your airport transportation.

I just don't handle that well.

Skylar? He's different from you and me. He whistles during all of that. Sometimes he skips. He's young. He'll learn.

Considering that I don't travel well even in the best of circumstances. Considering that. Considering the whole Mr. Cranky Pants situation. Why. WHY. WHY. does the universe insist on consistently giving me the seatmates from all the way hell. Not just hell. All the way hell.

I've complained about this before. If ever there is a couple traveling with babe in arms, they will 100% be seated on a three-person row with me. Every time.

That's fine. I accepted that a long time ago. I've accepted a lot of things in my life. I'm good at acceptance. I should get an honorary degree in acceptance.

I like babies. I like people with babies. I don't always want to fly through the air in a pile of bodies with people and their babies, but it's ok. No biggy.

The part where the universe is being unfair. The part I don't want to accept. The part I shouldn't have to accept. Is the part where the couple with the baby is always the most obnoxious couple with a baby that has ever coupled a baby in the history of baby coupling.

It shouldn't have surprised me. It probably didn't surprise me. When last week into the plane walked a couple holding a baby; they each had three stuffed bags, which, how did they get away with this DOES NO ONE COUNT HOW MANY CARRY-ONS ANYMORE. Back in my day you got one small carry-on and a personal item, which is different than a carry-on and I'm not sure how but it just is ok.

The man was wearing a neck pillow, because of course he was. Like, he was wearing it as he walked onto the plane. He didn't put it on after he sat down. It was a part of his outfit. It was a part of his outfit which otherwise consisted of cargo shorts, white socks, SANDALS(!!!), a BYU t-shirt, and a matching BYU hat. The outfit isn't relevant. But you need to know what it is.

The woman was carrying the baby. She was wearing nearly the same outfit as the man, sans the neck pillow. The baby was cute. But that doesn't make any of the rest of this ok.

I looked at the couple. And then I looked at the two seats next to me. I looked at the couple again. And then again at the seats next to me.

They didn't even have to say anything to me. I just already knew. I was getting myself into a standing position before they even got to my row.

I was the aisle seat. I prefer the aisle seat. In most situations. But not in this situation. This isn't my first rodeo with a baby couple. So when they arrived I politely said (for I am always polite #raisedbyCathie) "would you two like me to move in so you can get up more easily during the flight if you need to?"

Before I could even finish the question, neck pillow blurted out like we were children fighting over places on a bunk bed "NO WE GET THE WINDOW."

Obviously I wasn't going to argue, so I stood and moved into the aisle so they could make their way in, which took them an entire eternity. And not because of the baby. The baby was fine. The baby was cute. None of this is the baby's fault.

It took forever because they put all of their bags on my seat while they settled in and immediately started checking which movies were available. They did that, while their bags were piled on my seat and as I stood in the aisle.

It was at this moment that I made eye contact with a very sassy gay man who had walked in behind them and was waiting for this whole mess to work itself out so he could proceed back to his seat. He mouthed at me, "I am SO sorry." I responded by making a crying face back to this complete stranger.

Eventually the bags were moved. One of them was placed under the seat in front of me, which was fine. I didn't have a carry-on.

We sat down. The flight took off.

Neck pillow settled into some superhero movie. Things were fine for about 10 minutes until the wife tapped him and said "honeyyyy" and she said it in that tone like he had forgotten something and she was bordering on indignant. He nodded obediently, paused the movie, pulled out a book. And then.

And look. Before I get to this next part. No. Don't even tell me for one second that I'm not tolerant of religion. I am the world's most tolerant of religion. I am tolerant of religion in a way religion is absolutely not tolerant of me. It's not a competition or anything, but it is and I am beating all of religion on tolerance. Remember how I have a degree in acceptance? Well my minor was tolerance.

NEVERTHENOTWITHSTANDING. I did not need this man to pull out a The Book of Mormon and take turns with the wife loudly reading it loudly out loud with their open mouths loudly, while the other held the baby. Loudly.

And, again. It's not about The Book of Mormon. It really could have been any book. I didn't want this situation with Twilight any more than I didn't want it with The Book of Mormon.

This really did go on forever. Like, the whole rest of the flight. The only time they took a break from book club was the six. SIX. 6. 666. onetwothreefourfiveSIXXXX times they got up to use the bathroom. SIX.

This was a 1 hour and 40 minute flight.


And I know. But Eli. They had a baby. I know that. I'm the one that told you about the baby.


But they didn't take the baby to the bathroom with them every time. They took the baby ONE time. Out of the six. So at least five of those trips to the bathroom were for the grownups. The ones who didn't seem to understand that I had to get up with my knitting and tall glass of whiskey JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED and then stand in the aisle while they climbed over their mountain of bags.

Every time this happened, the sassy gay who was two rows behind stared an entire monologue at me. One with which I heartily agreed.

Somewhere during the middle of all of this, the flight attendant, who had been watching this transpire, walked over to me, leaned down, gently wrapped her hand around my forearm, and whispered, "can I please get you something, anything, to help you right now." I whispered back, "cocaine?" She choke-laughed and then walked away. And I was like, "why was that funny?"


Eventually we landed. I launched myself from the plane. Navigated the airport. The chaos. The fatigued panic. Ubered to the hotel. When I got there I called Skylar. He was in bed already, but he answered anyway.

"How was your flight, Mr. Cranky Pants?"

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. This is the funniest thing I have read in weeks!

  2. Bravo! Thanks for the Thursday morning giggle!

  3. I scream laughed at "they pulled out a The Book of Mormon" and when the sassy gay "stared a monologue" at you. Bravo. This is one of my new favorite ever posts on this site.

  4. I am totally baffled why the hell this couple would not take you up on your offer to move to the window seat. They had to know they were going to need to get up a lot. Having to ask someone to move so you can get out is almost as bad as having to move to let someone out on a plane. Or maybe that's just my extreme social anxiety speaking?

    1. SERIOUSLY!!! I've flown so many times with lap children and always offer to take the aisle because I haaaaate asking people to move so that I can get past them. And I don't even have social anxiety.

  5. You deserve an AWARD!!! Really! Maybe a Medal of some kind too. All of the things

  6. My worst nightmare!!! Another reason to avoid flying!! You have the best luck!?! Did they pull out THE BOOK" to read loudly/outloud/loud (who does this?!?) after they noticed your nerve calming beverage? Just wondering? LOLOL

    1. Yes, mother. I think they were trying to save me.

    2. Seems like (years ago) I remember someone I know 🤔 say, "Mom! It's people like that who give "mormons" a bad name!" 🤣😂🤣

  7. When you fly with a baby, you're allowed to bring a diaper bag (or a bag serving as a diaper bag) for the baby, and it does not count toward your "one carry on and one personal item" count. (You can also bring a breast pump that doesn't count towards your items count.) So that's probably why they had so many bags.

    That being said, anytime we've flown with a baby, we try not to inconvenience other passengers with our extra stuff. We take the loss of foot space and such.

  8. I have been very lucky with my travels and so rarely have an obnoxious seat mate (knock on wood — flying next week). But this is truly horrifying and you deserve all the cocaine even if you don’t know what it is.

  9. Noise canceling headphones, some podcasts and pretend you are sleeping...that is how I avoid people and moving during flights.

  10. You should have asked if you could read too, then make up silly stuff that sounds scripture-y. Maybe they would have taken the hint...then again, maybe not.

    1. Bahahahaha! Absolutely! Eli, please remember this if it ever happens again!

  11. Okay so they took a million years to look at all of the movies....and then they DIDN'T EVEN WATCH ONE?! What???? I mean. I too am a sleep deprived parent and understand that sleep deprivation makes you do some weird things. But this sounds like just plain lack of self-awareness and that's just sad.

  12. Just here to say that Meg texted me and accused me of not approving her comment which apparently said "Go cougs." I did not see this comment come through, and I am not censoring Meg. I am far too scared to ever do something like that. She knows where I live and she's mean when she doesn't have her Diet Coke. Otherwise she's lovely. Meg is lovely. Pretend I never said the thing about her being mean. If she asks, I only said she's lovely. In fact, Meg, if you're reading this, I'm willing to let you take over creative control of this site. Please give me at least one of your children in exchange.

  13. Oh please be my travel partner! I travel quite often for work, and I always get the older individuals who think I would like to have a two hour conversation despite that I am holding a book open with headphones in my ears. Then the don't even have the decency to let me enjoy my calming beverage. This is also not special to flights. I have older people come up to me in stores to start talking to me. Apparently I have an invisible sign that only people over the age of 65 can read that says "Come talk to me!"

  14. Michelle RichardsonAugust 23, 2019 at 9:46 PM

    Ok. I concede. This beats me being seated between a married couple (BETWEEN. And yes I asked many times, “would you like me to move so you can sit next to each other??? But really???”) who kept talking to each other OVER ME for the ENTIRE duration of a 9 hour flight to Austria.

  15. Reading this and the comments gave me all of the anxiety. All of it. I wish I had advice, but I have none. ~Kylle

  16. I feel the same way about the 'travelling' part. I love exploring and visiting new places and seeing the world, I just wish I could do it by strapping on a cape and flying myself where I wanted to go. I hate airports, I hate TSA, I hate other humans.