Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Passenger Throws Pillow at Us on Account of Tony's behavior on Shanghai-Vancouver Flight.

  • Last evening, I watched the Los Angeles Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 in overtime, thereby qualifying for the Stanley Cup Final.   It was the first time I had been able to watch a hockey game live on television for over seven years.  I, unfortunately, wasn't able to give the game my complete attention.  Tony was asking me to find him firetruck videos on YouTube.
  • I hope that the Rangers and Kings meet in the Stanley Cup Final.  The other option: a Kings versus Devils final would not seem so glamorous.  The New Jersey Devils are the Atlanta Braves of ice hockey.
  • To access YouTube so easily is a wonderful thing, but Tony is going to be spoiled.  My son loves watching videos of whatever his obsessions are.    Currently, they are diggers and firetrucks.
  • I brought my grooming kit with me with in my backpack.  Going through the X-ray machine in Shanghai, I had the tweezers confiscated.
  • Tony slept the entire Vancouver to Winnipeg flight which was a good thing.  However, he was awake and whiny most of the Shanghai-Vancouver flight and so earned the wrath of some passengers other than just his parents.  He slept for about an hour at the beginning of the flight which was wonderful.  But he woke up and started whining and wouldn't let Dad watch a movie or listen to a podcast.  He kept telling his father to take him to the bathroom so he could pee.  A few times that he was taken, he didn't pee and so he left his parents with the impression that he was bored and went to the john for something to do.  He also ran up and down the aisles of the plane and his Dad couldn't catch him.  His behavior was such that one of the flight attendants asked his father if he was special.  It wouldn't surprised me if Tony was,  Dad replied.
  • Now, I don't know if Tony was that bad, his parents were  lazy or a particular woman was being particularly cranky on the long Shanghai-Vancouver flight, but she told me to quiet Tony, "that kid of yours!", down because people were trying to sleep.  I said okay to her and spent the rest of the flight, even more annoyed than Tony had already made me till that point.  My first thought, about what this lady had said,  was that she wasn't telling me anything I  didn't already know.  Other than pleading with Tony  there wasn't much I could do.  Disciplining him with a spanking would have only made it harder for her to sleep.  And if I had lost my temper with Tony, I would have most definitely lost it with her.  I just ended up stewing all the more, patiently telling Tony to shush it when I could.  The flight was an ordeal that had to be borne I assured myself.  I didn't bother looking at the woman again.  She was seated to my left and behind.  ( I should mention that Tony was on my right seated in between Jenny and me.)  From what I could remember, she was past child-bearing age and looked like she had  had face-lifts gone bad.  She was Canadian, I assume, and had short hair. 
  • I recall, now, a report I had heard about young children being banned from first class seating, and I figured that this woman was part of that mind set.  With this in mind, I thought how,  for the first time, I was directly confronted by the mindset.  I recall one time when I had ridden a bus from Wuxi to Nanjing and there was a crying baby that was driving me mad.  I didn't have children then so I had no sympathy.  Now that I do Tony, I know that the childless me was lacking in empathy, just like that woman.
  • I should have asked her if she had had kids.  I could tell by her looks that she probably hadn't.
  • Tony did raise the ire of another passenger but, on that score, I do have to plead mea culpa.  Tony was playing with the fold-down table top and shaking the chair that it was on.  I let him, against my better judgement, continue doing it because I thought I didn't see anyone sitting in the seat in front.  When a man arose to complain, he was seated to the seat of the right,  I quickly chided Tony to show I was annoyed with him too, and I could only think how long it was before he finally had the nerve to say something.
  • Later, Tony started playing with some children who were seated close to us.  He and this three year old Chinese boy were soon seated beside each other, and me, while Tony was playing on the Ipad.  As they played, they did get out of hand and became loud for an instant.  As I moved to stop and quiet them, I noticed a flash of white out of the corner of my eye.  I didn't put two and two together till Jenny asked me about ten minutes later if I had thrown a pillow at her and the kids.   I pretended I misunderstood what she was saying but  I realized then that that woman had probably thrown a pillow at us.  I wasn't in a mood for a confrontation and I realized if I had told Jenny what had happened, there would have been an ungodly incident.  Jenny is a Tiger Mom, not as meek as me and not at all interested in avoiding confrontation as I am.  I just let it go, wanting more than ever for the flight to get to Vancouver.  
  • I told Jenny what had happened after we had gotten off the flight and had made it through customs.  She is still annoyed by what happened, but I did the right thing in not telling her till afterwards.  Don't mess with a Tiger Mom!!  Don't have confrontations on planes.
  • During out eight hour stay in Vancouver, we spent some time at a house of former students of mine.
  • The flight to Winnipeg was delayed two hours.  It sounded like they couldn't find a plane for the fight.  Carry-on luggage space was quickly taken up and the staff had to check some luggage into another spot on the plane.
  • In the end, I have the satisfaction of having known that  that woman was pissed off without having known the full magnitude of my magnanimity in not telling my wife about it right away.
  • One more thing, I noticed.  Air Canada, I have heard, is having labor troubles.  I overheard one of the flight attendants say he didn't want to do his job for twelve more years.  Jenny later asked me why all the staff was so old.  They were unionized I told her.


Anonymous said...

You "think" your son is special? Do you know what that stewardess meant when she said that? Believe me, it was definitely not a compliment.
Mister - people spent a lot of their hard earned dollars on that flight as well as you. They did not pay to have your allow your son run wild. And what is this about "Tiger Mom"? If your wife is so protective, where was she while your son was running wild and you were too busy playing with your iTouch to do anything? Like you, she knows how to open her big mouth and yell but she doesn't have the first clue as to how to raise a child.
You had a child to make the world think that you were straight - now everyone around you has to suffer while you act like an unfit parent.

Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with anon here. A 13-hour transpac flight with a toddler running amuck is a lot to put up with. Guaranteed there were 100 people within earshot of your seat who were someplace between miffed and completely furious at your inability to keep control of your child.

I know that children are their own people and sometimes can't be persuaded by reason or force. But the important thing is to be seen to be attempting to remedy the situation. Just letting the kid annoy people for hours on end is not the right answer. And as anon pointed out, a true Tiger Mom wouldn't lash out at someone for wanting her to get a handle on her kid. She would never lose control in the first place.