We attended Larry’s sister’s wedding in upstate New York this weekend—a lovely affair—but, after a whirlwind weekend of merrymaking and matrimony, two back-to-back overbooked flights on Southwest Airlines was not my idea of an after party.
Gus, who is usually well-mannered and charming, was test driving one annoying personality after another. Hey, Mommy, now I’m That Kid Who Incessantly Kicks The Back of the Seat in Front of Me! Ha! And Now? Now I’m That Kid Who Needs More Ju-ooooooce! Nowwwwwwwwwwwww, I’m so thirstyyyyyyyyyy, my throat is so dryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, it hurrrrrrrrrrrrrtttttttttttttts.”
Every five or six seconds I would kindly remind him to stop whining and be happy that Mommy and Daddy have decided, at least for the moment, to let him live.
Well he’d heard about enough out of me.
“Gus. You. Must. Stop. Whining.” I told him yet again.
“NO!” he smiled at me. “YOU STOP WHINING, MOMMY. YOU are the whiner!”
Guffaws from the people in the seats in front of us, even the one whose chair he’d been kicking. “You are so cute!” they told him. “A cute and funny boy! We wish we had a cute and funny boy such as you!” And Gus becomes a happy (vaguely French and debonair) little sponge, soaking up the attention, batting his eyelashes, and tipping his beret to the small crowd of worshippers. He’s all, “Whooooo moi? Mais non! C’est vous! Vous etes tres tres mignon, mademoiselles!”
Clearly these people have no children. Any parent worth his margarita salt knows you don’t look straight into the eyes of the devil and compliment him on his new Spidey backpack.
By the second flight, Patrick was starving, (which, I realize seems physically impossible, given his record-shattering body mass index), but he had slept through lunch, and our first flight had been delayed forty minutes and then rerouted due to someone's stupidity inclement weather.
I finally scraped together the makings of a bottle and started feeding the poor kid, while Larry went to cry softly in the bathroom. This, of course, is when our drinks arrived. And because we were now in the first row (to give us a little more leg room), we had no tray tables. But, also because we were in the first row, the flight attendant had to give us our drinks first. She could not wait and come back later, when my hands were free and Larry was there to assist me, because, evidently, that would mean breaking one of the ten commandments of the friendly skies. So she handed me all three drinks, which I balanced on my head and nose and one free hand until they all spilled over into Patrick’s lap.
Very quietly, under my breath, so no one—absolutely no one—could hear, I might have taken the Lord’s name in vain. Maybe.
“JEEEEE-ZUS CUH-RIST!, Mommy!” Gus screamed.
“Sshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” I hissed..
“Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ!” he chanted, until I clamped my hand over his face.
Or, maybe ... he was praying.
Because, just then, from the heavens came a kind and benevolent voice.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” The Voice said. “We have begun our descent into Nashville. Please make sure your tray tables are securely locked and your seats are returned to their original upright positions. As always we thank you for flying Southwest, and if Nashville is your final destination, Welcome Home.”