I thought I was doing a great job on the LA to Honolulu route and then turning around and doing the LA to JFK route with just a week’s rest. You know how it goes, you clock in, settle in behind that thingie that looks like half a wheel, lean back, adjust your captain’s cap, move some levers around, call the tower, make small talk with the crew, couple of announcements in the deepest voice you can muster (for a baby) and then put the plane on autopilot. Then it’s Words With Friends for the rest of the flight.
I often enjoyed a fancy meal upon reaching my cosmopolitan destinations, with particular attention to the cheese plate, sometimes with a frisky little glass of Gamay. (Placed just out of frame in the picture above.) It looked like I was going to settle in for a long, profitable career in the skies.
Didn’t go that way, though. Shockingly, there were too many complaints about me kicking the passengers’ seats from behind, some adverse comments about my mingling with strangers and grabbing at their iPads, too much walking up and down the aisle sobbing. Hey, haven’t you felt like that sometimes? Just walking up and down an airplane for five hours at a time screaming your guts out? Try it sometime. I know I have.
Maybe you don’t realize that passenger safety is my priority on these long flights, so that’s why I have to test the integrity of the latch that secures the tray table more than a thousand times, flipping down the table and flipping it up again. I have to press all the buttons on the entertainment system. I have to check the integrity of the window shades at least five hundred times per flight. That’s important. What if the sun were in your eyes and the shade didn’t work? You’d want your money back, wouldn’t you? And you paid a lot of money for that flight.
It was, alas, all about money when my parents fired me from my big time airline job. They argued that people paid a lot for their seats. Despite flying the plane, despite all the entertainment I provided, despite testing the integrity of the systems, well, all that just wasn’t enough to make it work. Plus I was the highest paid toddler flying a jet, and we all know what happens to the highest paid and last hired.
I pleaded for the job, resorting to my most common argument: loud crying. Sadly, it didn’t matter that on the last flight I took a quiet nap from Pennsylvania all the way till Kansas. It mattered that I raged from New York to Pennsylvania, and then through Arizona, Utah, and not to mention large stretches of the Great Lakes, and big parts of the Pacific Ocean on the Hawaii route.
Toddlers are just not that good at flying airplanes. Even though we try. We just can’t do it quietly.