Monday, April 20, 2009

Mile High Club

It has come to my attention that I need to blog. I've been away on vacation for the last week and writing was not in the forefront of my mind. Ok, I was mildly inspired whence I was looking at Youtube videos of Chris Rock musing about Tossed Salads, but I couldn't quite conjure anything that would be acceptable for the masses. If you google 'Chris Rock' with 'Tossed Salad', you'll see why. But do so with caution.

Oh, but I had forgotten what an interesting experience it is to travel sans adult partner with your five year old child.
That's actually not true; I've never even done it. I have little to compare with this experience, in fact.

I can only draw upon one excursion, lifetimes ago, when our family was still intact, and we traveled to South America on a film shoot. Lily was a little more than two. My DVD player crapped out about halfway through the flight and the Benadryl I'd administered on the knowing urges of my jet-setting mother friends had the opposite of the desired effect, in that it made the kid hyper as hell. She spent a good part of the flight bouncing in her seat, kicking the shit out of her tray table and attempting to run down the aisle to bust in on First Class. Eventually she melted down and vomited all over herself and me, and a during our ear-popping descent, a helpful passenger offered her a stick of Juicy Fruit, thereby igniting the kid's lifelong obsession with gum.

All this was happening as her father was seated in the back of the plane among other film crew members, engaged in 'meetings' or something. It should be noted that at this time I was still trying to convince myself and everyone else how important my husband was, to our family and to the world at large. So important, in fact, that hey, we got this free trip to South America and all I have to do is sit with the kid on my lap the whole flight and not complain! Small price to pay for the experience, right? Right? Wrong.

But I digress.

Now my child is older and, presumably, more mature and will as a result be a more companionable travel comrade, I'm thinking. And I have to say, I was right for the most part.

It was Lily who sat pretzel-legged and unperturbed, watching "Hannah Montana" on my ipod when our tiny plane hit a patch of turbulence. I began to believe in magical creatures, swearing that a giant must have mistaken us for a toy plane and was punching at the sides of our vessel in a crude attempt to amuse himself. I was acutely aware of the thin membrane separating us from The Other Side—this being imminent death—and felt certain that every passenger had drawn the same number in the game of life upon boarding. The jig was up. Game over. What a way to go.

Lily was completely unfazed as I watched, from the unfortunate vantage point of our front-row seats, as the steward scrambled to his perch, quizzically located right next to the cabin door/escape hatch, and fastened his seat belt, then proceeded to hoist two mystery straps over his shoulders which I was sure were attached to a parachute. Son of a bitch, I thought. He's gonna totally ditch. He's gonna jump out of the plane and I'm going to die holding an empty peanut bag and cup of bloody mary mix.

But that didn't happen.

Eventually we sailed through the rough patch and the bile in my throat slipped back down to my stomach and all was well. And I realized that the most frightening thing about the experience wasn't the turbulence itself, because I've been on bumpy flights on my own before and never really minded. It isn't my chosen way to go, but I'll ride down in a fiery fuselage if it is my fate. I'll suck on the free oxygen and clutch my passport, so they can identify me later. I'm not really afraid to die.

What freaked me out was that I was on this plane with my child. With Lily, who has yet to experience much of the world and to whom I have sworn, by the very nature of our mother-child bond, to protect and keep alive at all costs.

And it's funny because she didn't even notice my panic, my racing mind, the fact that I was stricken and terrified and smearing the passenger window with my sweat-soaked palms, in an attempt to somehow control what was going on around us, to protect her from harm.

Yet another example of how motherhood is a total ruse, how completely unfair the whole thing is. But I guess, you know, that's alright with me.

14 comments:

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Glad you guys survived the flight!! Kids are funny that they will freak out over a tiny bug and yet sit calmly while a plane is being shaken to bits.

xl said...

Hey, in a blink it will be role reversal and she'll be leading you onto the plane!

I've never traveled with a young child. I think you did fine! :)

Krissyface said...

thanks, guys. Wait, XL, do you mean she'll be leading me onto the plane because I'm old and blind? Great. Just great.

rkintn said...

I think her not freaking out says alot about you as a parent (in a good way!). I think you are doing a damn fine job:)

nitewalk6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nitewalk6 said...

Obviously you haven't allowed her to view many disaster films yet. I think many times our fears come about as a result of what we have seen in the movies (or tv).
Did you hear about the lawyer that was on the Hudson flight and got laid off. He, rightfully so, questioned the irony.

jeremy said...

tell me more about this "mile high club."

Jack said...

I love turbulence. Also earthquakes. They're fun to me. I'm glad the moment passed and you could relax again.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

So right you are. (And you're a fantastic writer, Krissyface.)

I'm Scooter, but I might be a troll. said...

I have said it before, but your essays are always breathless and illustrative, which I suppose is a good reflection of yourself as a person.

Krissyface said...

i love you guys. you make me feel so good! even jeremy.

Prunella Jones said...

Sounds like Lily is a better traveler than my mom, who spends the whole plane ride praying that we don't die. And turbulence only makes her pray out loud. I'll have to try that Benadryl trick next time we travel.

Pronto said...

when you're old and blind,
she'll not only have to lead you onto the plane,
she'll also have to change your diapers.....

now that's payback!

just sayin'

ps: sucking free, pure oxygen from a flaming plane is never a good idea...

Prunella Jones said...

I forgot to add, "since she won't drink." I'd much rather travel with a mellow kid then a nervous adult who won't just drink some damn wine or something.