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The flight. And miraculous stuff.

We survived. In some ways it went really well, in other ways it was somewhere between nightmarish and funny. Those two things are really close turns out. Some impressions:

- As I frantically bounce around in order to keep Nikola happy in the carrier on the back, I inquire at the check-in counter how to obtain the front row reserved for babies as it always seems booked anyway, no matter how hard I try to have a baby every time I intend to fly. How many children will it take, how many?! The lady seems very sympathetic but her hands are tied. I submit and give up - a short psychological process I have practiced a lot in the last few years. Besides, I anticipate lots of it awaiting me in the following hours. When we arrive at the gate, our names are called and as it turns out the check-in lady's hands were not tied all that much as she hands us new boarding passes! Front row for everyone! Miracle #1.

- We arrive at our seats and settle down as the rest of the crowd comes in. Within minutes a tall blond and very nervous looking woman plants herself in front of me claiming this was her seat. "I'm sorry, this is my seat. I need an aisle seat. I NEED AN AISLE SEAT!!!" I am a little flustered and disappointed that the nice check-in lady didn't bother to notify the passengers she kicked out of our seats and calmly explain that I can't help, that these were the seats assigned to me... "I need an AISLE SEAT!" she maintains. The flight attendant appears, checks our boarding cards and asks blonde lady to follow her. Blonde lady takes it up a notch: "I need an aisle seat!!! If you are going to reseat me, please move me to business class!" This is where I drop the last ounce of concern and sympathy like a bag of rocks. Oh no, she didn't! In my book if at a slender age of 40-something you are going to throw a fit over an aisle seat on a 9-hour-flight, you most certainly do not deserve it let alone in business class. It's one of those moments that seem to reveal the essence of the last six years of my life in terms of... I don't know, something like "How I learned why what I want doesn't matter. - Over and over again." I will be happy if I leave this flight with a. something in my stomach, b. with an empty bladder and c. without being stoned by an angry mob. Lady, you are a waste of space, what with your freedom and your pony tail and your unstained shirt and your fancy-jeans-clad behind, which you may sit anywhere but an aisle seat, oh agony of agonies! It's not that I'm bitter...

- Nikola was fine until we.. .didn't leave. We didn't leave for almost three hours. Hanging out by the runway, waiting for the rain to subside. He was furious, completely out of control for having to sit. Just sit. He is 13 months old and sitting is precisely the thing he does not do. The entire plane was silenced by his outburst. It was the most annoying irritating and incredibly loud noise. I would've been the first one to leave the plane mumbling about a lawsuit had I had the choice. Eventually I was allowed to get up in order to give him some respite. Only me. In the front row of the plane, with nowhere to go, facing all the eyes of economy class fixed upon me, pleading to shut him up. It was a very unique experience. I don't know what other word to use. Then a lady sitting behind me yells out: Haben's keine Baldriantropfen? (Don't you have any sedatives?) I gave her a look. Something between 'Really?' and 'If I wasn't a Christian, I'd call you something' She looked away and shut up. Eventually he stopped screaming and the rest of the people were allowed to get up and roam when said lady comes up behind me, gives me a hug and looking at Nikola says the following: "Oh poor guy. Why is he so upset? I wish there was something we could do. Did you hear me yell for Baldrian drops? I bet at that moment you wished I would take them myself!" And she started laughing. And I said "I did." And I laughed, too.

And this is miracle #2. I wish I had gotten her name. I want to write her a letter and award her for demonstrating the most spectacular public apology/change of heart/self-humbling and honest repentance I had ever witnessed. What are the chances? Not in a million years was this what I expected to be the second half of her interaction with me. Which makes me think I should've cut blonde lady some slack. Maybe she has a bladder issue and has to go to the bathroom ever 5 minutes or some other extenuating circumstance that would warrant an aisle seat. As it turns out it's nearly impossible to judge people if you want to be fair. It's quite annoying.

The rest of the flight was fairly peaceful with most of the kids sleeping almost until landing. I got to do a. and b. and c. never happened. In fact most people smiled at us as they were exiting the plane. As we stepped out of the airport, a bunch of pigs flew by.

Posted at 03:25 PM on June 25, 2009