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