The View from the Mountains: A tale from a perfectly awful flight

Published 10:29 am Tuesday, February 21, 2017

By Jean Brody

Sun columnist

This is a completely true story that happened a few years ago and brought out in me every bad thought I possess.

I just knew it. I knew those two kids would sit by me on that plane and sure enough, they plopped down in the two seats right in front of me.

To say they actually sat there is a stretch because they never sat. I do believe they were the brattiest kids I have personally ever seen. There was Mark, probably 6 or so, who wasn’t too bad but his brother Mitch, probably 4-ish, made me believe in demons in human form.

For one and a half solid hours his mother whined, “Please, sit down Markie” and “Now Markie, Mommy will give you a treat if you will fasten your seat belt and leave it fastened” and “No, Sweetie, you mustn’t throw your chewing gum at the nice lady,” and “Now look what you did — the entire seat is soaked. Why did you dump your Sprite all over your brother?”

He never sat down. He never put his seat belt on. He did not stop jumping up and down on the seat. He did not keep his gum in his mouth or the Sprite in his glass. And all the while poked and pinched and the mother whined, threatened, bribed — everything but make him mind.

At one point I was so nervous with it all, I got out my ever-ready jelly beans to eat. Mitch spied them, draped his grimy little body over the back of the seat and demanded, “Gimme those,” in a loud voice. In desperation I held out four to him. He popped one in his mouth — a black one — and did not like it., at which point he sent it flying out of his mouth towards me like a gooey spitball.

I could not believe it, and I can tell you that I wanted to tell him just exactly what he could do with the other three but the poor frazzled mother grabbed him bodily. I thought finally she would end the tyranny. Instead, she kissed Mitchie, cradled him in her arms and said, “Here, let me read you a story.” I have never felt so sorry for a human being as I did that woman.

Frankly, I did not care what she did with the kid so long as she removed him from my sight. But the story idea didn’t work as he began kicking the book with his feet, finally sending it sprawling in the aisle. She turned back to me and smiled wanly saying, “It is so hard for Mitchie to sit like this. You know how it is.”

I wanted to say, “No lady, I do not know how it is and if my kids ever behaved like your, um, boys are behaving, I would make sure they never left home again,” but somehow did not have the heart. I thought she was pathetic.

Just about that time the pilot came on the intercom to say, “Please fasten all seat belts if not already. We will be landing shortly.” I looked at Mitch, Mark and Mom. Mom said, “Now Mitchie, the nice pilot says you have to sit down and fasten up or he won’t land the plane.” Do you think that kid listened? Noooooooo.

Then she said, “See Markie. He is fastened. Good Markie.” Nothing. “Uh oh, here comes the mean stewardess.” I swear she said this “Hurry up Mitchie or she might hit you!” Mitch took off like a bullet to the restroom and locked himself in. Frankly, I thought that was an excellent solution — just don’t let him out until we land.

But his mother came tearing after him and began banging on the door. “The mean stewardess is really mad now.” And the poor stewardess, who could literally not believe what she was seeing. He shoved open the door and started running toward his seat with his mother and the stewardess right behind. With uncanny control, the poor stewardess said between her teeth, “You see, we cannot land with people running up and down the aisles!”

Finally, she grabbed one hand and another stewardess grabbed his other hand and they marched that kid — rather roughly — back to his seat, mother following and fluttering behind them. They shoved him in his seat and yanked the seat belt across his lap so hard and tight, the kid yelled. Nobody cared, least of all me. Leaving him, the first stewardess fairly yelled, “Enough is enough!!!! You will not move from this spot until we are on the ground.”

Amazingly enough, that kid reached down after all that and began to unbuckle that belt, but she turned around and held him down. The mother slunk down in her seat, terrified that he would be mad at her. She began whispering to him (but I could hear her), “Mommie will buy you a big surprise as soon as we get there.” That did it for me. Something snapped in my brain and I leaned over the back of his seat and said for the entire plane to hear, “Frankly Mitchie, if you were my kid I would flush you right down the toilet while you were in the bathroom.”

Everyone nodded in silent agreement and the mother, poor soul, closed her eyes in surrender and Mitch stared me down and said, “Gimme the jelly beans!” It was all I could do not to do exactly that, just not where he wanted to put them! Instead, I said a silent prayer of thanksgiving that those boys did not belong to me.

The view from the mountains is wondrous.