The little bloke has just had his last free flight. He turns two very shortly, so he’ll be required to pay for his own seat as if he were a twenty-two stone Bookie, and as he’s between jobs, it looks like muggins here is going to have foot the bill. It’s worth noting that he’ll still have to sit on my or his mum’s lap during take-off, landing, and the intervening flight because if he were to sit on the actual seat we’re paying for he’d fall off/out it and break his bloody neck.
This is, of course, ridiculous; I mean we’re paying for a seat that he can’t actually use, so we have an additional, empty, seat that I can’t even sell on Ebay or tout in the airport lounge.
Yes, I can look out the window without having to lean over someone/don’t have to climb over some sap when I need to tinkle/change a nappy/walk up and down the aisle with the little bloke, but that’s small beer in comparison to the price of the seat.
I suppose the only victor in all of this is the person that would’ve been sitting next to us, they’ll never know how close they came, but that doesn’t help me does it? Reverting to my pre-dad, lone-flying self for a moment, I’m acutely aware of those two unoccupied seats beside you when you’re about to take off, those two still-unoccupied-seats as the last of the passengers’ dribble onto the plane and, suddenly, the dream of getting two whole seats to yourself becomes a reality.
Two empty seats offer business class potential for an economy fee. You might even be able to sleep all the way, almost lying down!
They’re closing the cabin doors!!
This is fantast…
…And then we appear.
Last, because we’ve maximised our time at the bar, last because I’ve left it until the final millisecond to take a leak because my middle-aged bladder is the size of a walnut and I don’t want to slosh during take-off. Last because we know how this shit works.
And we’ve a kid who doesn’t want to sit on a plane, he’s really pissed about this plane, about all sitting-down and about you staring at him in horror like he’s responsible for those Postcode Lottery adverts.
Once I knew how you felt and now I couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss. My primary responsibility is to myself via the state of the little boy; if he’s okay, I’m okay, it’s as simple as that. And if his state of ‘okay’ means he’s reaching over you because he wants to flap your little table up and down for hours then that’s fine by me.
But those days are over. The speed in which he’s gone from small gurgling lump into a pushing, shouty boy with words and gestures flowing forth has alarmed me. A few weeks ago we walked to the park together, there he was holding my hand, tottering along, as I tried not to trip over my jaw. I mean I was, like, walking down the street with my son, man.
As discussed previously, it’s hardly a surprise that he’d get bigger and learn stuff but that wasn’t the aspect that unsettled me, there was something more than just his ‘growing-up,’ until one evening, just before bed, I asked him how he was and said he ‘good.’ That’s when it dawned on me; he’d become aware.
Rudimentary research confirmed this to be the case. In accordance to a 2003 paper by Dr. Philippe Rochat, round about the age of two kids enter the third phase (there are five, apparently) and most significant stage of self-awareness worryingly referred to as the ‘Me’ phase, which is what I’m guessing everyone else calls ‘the terrible twos.’
This phase amounts to a seismic shift in his development, an irreversible foray into a new stage of his being. He now has an opinion, his way of doing things and an ever-evolving ego feeding sophomoric confidence.
And to commemorate this milestone in evolution, we have to pay for an unused seat on a shitty plane.
Happy Birthday, son.