Now that Gus is two, he no longer qualifies as a lap child, as far as the airlines are concerned. Actually, now that he’s two, he barely qualifies as a child. He’s more of a boy-monster hybrid, which I suppose is all the more reason to buy him his own seat. So, I booked him under his real name: Lawrence A. O’Brien. And I booked one for Larry under Lawrence T. O’Brien. Evidently the middle initials didn’t process on the Web form, so I got this phone call from the special needs woman:
Me: Hello, this is Amanda.
I answer the phone this way during the work week to save people the trouble of asking to speak to me. Not everyone finds it helpful.
Special Needs Woman: May I speak to Amanda O’Brien?
Me: This is she.
SNW: Yes, hello.
Me: Hi there.
SNW: Hi! I’m calling from Cheaptickets. I was trying to key in your reservation and the system won’t take two Lawrences with the same name.
Cerebral Cortex: Ding ding ding. Detecting special needs woman. Take two deep breaths and proceed to speak slowly, without irony.
Me: Well, one Lawrence is my husband. And the other one is my son.
SNW: Maybe if I key in their middle initials, the system will take it.
Me: Sure. My husband has the middle initial T, and my son has the middle initial A.
SNW: So, on the form, would it be the first Lawrence or the second one that has the T?
Me: The first one. The first one has the T.
SNW: And, so, the second one has the A then?
Me: Sounds good.
Long Awkward Pause as she searches her script for what to say next.
Me: So, are we all set?
SNW: Oh, yes.
Now watch and enjoy as I make one last critical mistake:
Me: Actually, while I have you on the line, we also have a six week old traveling as a lap child. Do you have a note for that on the reservation?
Cerebral Cortex: Alert! You have entered an illegal function. This may affect processing speeds. Do you want to restart?
Me: Yes please!
Cerebral Cortex: Ha! Too late.
SNW: Oh, well. Er. Um. I—don’t—Well, actually, you probably need to call customer service to see if you need to buy a ticket for that child.
Me: No, I shouldn’t need to buy a ticket for him. He’s six weeks old. He’s flying as a lap child. I just wondered if you needed to note it on the reservation.
SNW: Oh, well if he’s a lap child, you probably just have to pay taxes on him.
Cerebral Cortex: Temporal lobe has detected smell of utter bullshit. Time to disengage.
Me: Taxes? I don't think so, because I purchased him in the duty-free shop next to gate C-11. He looked so cute curled up between the chocolates and cigarettes, I couldn’t resist. But don’t worry. I’ll make sure to show my receipt when we check in. Thanks!