I want to acknowledge the positive responses I received for my "Getting to the Gate" posting and express my gratitude.
However, I want to make it clear that I am far from perfect, and I know I can have just as much of a bad attitude with the agents and fellow passengers of life (and in flying).
The ones that especially grind on my nerves are the ones that not only believe they're better then everyone else, but they also make it clear to everyone else that they truly are comfortable with the illusion that they are better than everyone else.
I often want to respond to that attitude with the below:
I'll never forget an experience on a flight from Portland a couple of days after Christmas in 2007. Mikelle was 7 and Christian was 3 (turning 4 in another 3 months).
Again, let me emphasize that Christian was 3. He was just a little older than Alexander is now. (At the time of this trip, Alexander will not grace us with his blessings and antics for another 3 years...)
We had spent Christmas on the Oregon Coast with Chris's family (by the way, I not only recommend spending Christmas on the Oregon Coast, but LIFE in general should be experienced there...I vow I will live there someday...)
Allow me to pause for 3 photos for nostalgic purposes:
|Oregon Coast Christmas Eve 2007|
|Florence, Oregon and signs to all the different Florences in the world. Florence, AZ is 1200 miles!|
|Big Stump Beach outside the little cabin where we stayed. Waldport Oregon 12/28/07|
Let me add that we were coming from Waldport. That's the central Oregon coast. 4 hours away from Portland. Therefore, in order to make the early flight, we were on the road at 1am. Arriving at the airport, there were longer lines to check our baggage then we expected. We made the flight, but it was close.
Mikelle and I were seated almost across the aisle from Chris and Christian. The seats on one side of the aisle are not directly across from the seats across the aisle, so I was in between the row Chris and Christian were in. This is important information. Just stay with me.
We had just boarded and sat down. The plane hadn't even pulled away from the gate yet. Christian started kicking the back of the guy's seat in front of him. That particular passenger looked to be about in his 50s and dressed in a nice "business casual" manner.
Well, I was well aware of Christian's energy and hyperactivity (and now Alexander has it). I also hate - HATE bothering other people in this manner. As expected, the guy in front of Christian wasn't pleased with the kicking attack. No one would be.
Being hypersensitive to it, I immediately made sure Chris was aware of what was happening (whether he was already aware or not) and therefore Christian's legs were then cemented onto Chris's lap and held down with Chris's hands. Christian struggled, but his legs were not moving. Christian was no longer kicking the seat, but he was wiggling and making his opinion known.
But the guy in that seat in front of Christian was still determined to be a real jerk about the whole thing. I don't think he realized I was the mother of that child and I was sitting right across the aisle in full view of him AND my son and husband behind him.
Every time Christian made any sound at all - even looking out the window and mentioning airplanes or the sky or something, this tool of a man turned around all disgusted. Christian wasn't yelling and screaming, but being 3, he wasn't exactly down with the whole "let's use our inside voices" concept either.
Chris didn't see any of this going on in front him. He was busy keeping his son occupied and keeping his son's predatory legs permanently anchored onto his lap. However, I was seeing it all. He would make an off color comment to the person next to him about his displeasure of our son behind him. With each of the this jerk's look of disgust, making a big deal about anything Christian said or sound he made, my "Bruce Banner" Mama self was turning into the Green Hulk MamaBear with each passing second. (See? I can't even choose which metaphor to use - the Hulk or MamaBear, so I went with both)
|I wasn't too sure about Ruffalo as Hulk at first, but he pulled it off nicely!|
I also felt bad because Mikelle was asking me to help her with her seat-belt, but I was so fixed on watching the putz with each additional huff, comments to the person next to him and turning around each time Christian even laughed or ask his dad a question, that I didn't even acknowledge her. I was caught in the trance. The nice lady sitting at the window on the other side of the Mikelle helped her with her seat-belt.
Because this was six years ago, I can't remember exactly what was the last straw was for me, but since I was on the verge of going off on this guy, instead of doing that, I stood up and went to the back of the plane to a flight attendant.
By now we were taxiing and I wasn't supposed to stand up. But I knew it was either I stand up to obtain assistance and cause a minor inconvenience, or let the Hulk out and then cause the plane to stop, return to the gate and then security guards would be summoned to escort me off the plane. That would then result in me losing my job, because if I got arrested, I would have my state issued Fingerprint card taken away until the matter was resolved. And I cannot teach without the Fingerprint card. Therefore, pouncing on the jerk wouldn't be in my best interest, to put it mildly. Not only that, but if I was removed from the plane, it would most likely end up on the news as such instances usually are.
Mr. Tool was sooooo not worth all that.
Therefore, I opted to stand up and seek out the nice attendant lady. She immediately said I needed to sit back down. I said, "We have a situation." I muttered something about the guy in front of my son who was being a real jerk despite the fact that the kicking that started the whole thing had been addressed and ceased.
She followed me back to my seat and just as I was sitting down, Christian was excitedly pointing at different planes out the window as the taxiing yielded different views. Mr. Jerk then turned around again in the determined angry huff I in which I had become quite familiar.
I finally spoke (plus, the attendant was right there, so that was handy).
"Sir, do you have a problem with CHILDREN?!" I asked determinedly.
(by referring to him as Sir, it indicates I was going to speak respectfully to him despite the fact that I wanted to pound his face in instead)
He seemed a little taken aback that he was confronted. Maybe he was used to getting away with being such a piece of excrement for so long that it caught him off guard.
I remember his response verbatim. (Sorry for the language, but I'm quoting him.)
"I have a problem with this goddamn kid kicking the back of my seat!" he huffed.
I started to say, "I apologize for that. But we stopped that right after it happened."
But I wasn't able to get all those words out because he folded his arms and loudly exclaimed "Jesus Christ...!" dragging out the words. So it was more like, "Jeeesuusss Churrriiisst....!"
Calmly and diplomatically, I said, "I wasn't aware Jesus was on the aircraft, Sir."
He rolled his eyes and shook his head.
The flight attendant said she would be more than happy to change his seat. He said he didn't want to. Seriously? He acted like my son was the worst part of his year, and he didn't want to be removed from it?
She went to the back of the plane and got on the phone. She then came back and said she made arrangements for his seat to be changed. He maintained he didn't need to change seats.
Maybe he didn't expect the confrontation. Maybe his pride was hurt. I don't know.
He said he would be fine. He remained in his seat and the taxiing commenced again and we took off.
Therefore, the matter was resolved. Sort of. The Jackwad didn't do anything for the rest of the flight, but I had to endure the flight to San Jose (which was a short flight from Portland, but it felt much longer) sitting just feet from him. And then what happened? After everything settled down and the flight was on its way, tears just flowed. It wasn't a loud crazy cry. No one would have known I was crying unless they looked right at me. It was a silent exhausted deluge of tears as I sat there. I hate how I get so angry that it makes me cry. I wish I can be like a Warrior Princess and get the job done and move on. Not cry afterwards!
Ugh, I hate that.
Life is like that. We have to deal with people like the Tool in the seat in front of Christian. They can be family members, they can be co-workers, or in general people that we just have to be around. We can react to them by letting out the Green Hulk and causing more problems for ourselves, or we can turn the other cheek. Turning the other cheek is hard to do. We want justice. I know I do. My pride hurts so much when I have to let some things go and people commence on their merry way continuing to be the same putzes that they are. And sometimes we have to still be around them as they are doing their thing. Oh, I hate that.
And sometimes we have to speak up. With the Jerk on the plane, I knew I did. It did improve the situation as he didn't do anything for the rest of the flight other than exist and remind me that he was a pathetic waste of space. But the pain doesn't go away quickly. Sometimes it lingers just like my tears lingered.
|You know Samuel L. Jackson didn't cry after dealing with the snakes on the plane!|
But the "MamaBear" in me is a double-edged sword. What kind of example would I be for my seven year old daughter who was right behind me if I said that? Then Chris would be upset at me for both saying it, and then also saying it in front of Mikelle. And yes, saying it wouldn't have been the right thing to do, but at that time, that was the last thing on my mind.
I was grateful that I didn't say that for the sake of my daughter, but also angry that it appeared I had to walk away from the jerk with my tail between my legs and not have the last word. The pride in me wanted to grace him with the send-off.
So many times we have to walk away without the last word. Life is hard that way. We know there is Karma and God will judge everyone. It's just so hard to wait.
I know it is for me.
One of my biggest battles in that area? I know for a fact that my physically and verbally abusive, pathologically narcissistic, adulterous and porn-addicted father continues to fault me for having no relationship with him. If his past awful self-serving letters to me are any indication, he blames me and my mom for all of his actions in the marriage and when I was growing up. He holds ZERO accountability and fault. He also judges me as a bad person and maintains I am shooting myself in the foot for having no relationship with him as if he is on some kind of pedestal and deserves something he has never earned or has been worthy of.
One of the phrases he used? "I hope that attitude doesn't rub off on those beautiful children of yours." Nice. What attitude is that? Respect for myself? Walking away from toxicity? Creating a better life for my kids and teaching them to be accountable for their actions as I'm accountable for mine? That's not what he was referring to of course, but yes, I do hope that attitude rubs off on them.
The hard part for me at this stage in my life is knowing he's out there with that attitude. It's also hard for me knowing he says crap like that and actually believes it. And his third wife obviously believes his version of everything. If she's happy with that illusion then more power to her I guess. But the "justice" part of me wants to let out the Green Hulk and shout, "Let me tell you who he is! Let me tell you what he did! Let me tell you what he refuses to admit or apologize for!"
My other struggle is the whole universal "why" question in wondering why I was given him as my father when so many people have close relationships with theirs.
Sure, the hard part with my dad is over. I do not have to see him anymore. I do not have to be around him. I am not a kid living in the same house as him. However, the stage I am in is like sitting on the plane after the hard part and confrontation and just having to endure the rest of the flight with the jerk sitting there with my silent tears and the desire to relay a nice rude send off with those choice words.
That's where I am now.
For those in my family who hate when I'm brutally honest and forthcoming about what went down as far as that particular male counterpart in the home, I'm not sorry. I'm not going to muffle this and hide it as so many expect me to or have expected me to in the past. This is pain and I'm going to express it. It's part of working through it. It keeps the Green Hulk from pouncing on the Jerk in the plane and thus creating more problems.
It was Confucius or Buddha (one wise old man long ago from the Far East...I've seen both credited with these words) who said:
I know God's judgement is going to be one of the huge revelations of truth. However, in the meantime, I see no harm in getting a jump on things! Well, sometimes there is no harm in it.
Especially if it can be done without letting out the Green Hulk. Usually.