August 20, 2008


Posted in paris tagged , , at 7:01 am by Malia Yoshioka

why is it that on an entire plane full of normal, quiet people, the one family with a screaming two year old is iniveitably seated across the aisle from me? what do you do when your plane is hijacked by a two-year-old devil-child? i watched in amazement at first as the mother and daughter faced off in a battle of wills on whether the window shade should be open or closed.

the exchange goes something like this:

mother: blah blah blah blah blah (firmly pulling the window shade open)
bratty child: no! (slamming it closed with both her tiny hands)
mom: blah blah blah blah blah (now in a more pleading tone)
bratty child: NO! NO! (with a shake of her deceptively angelic blonde head of hair and a gleam in her steely grey-blue eyes)

for a moment i swear i can see horns growing out of the little girl’s head. yet her piercing shriek, as inhuman as it sounds – is definitely that of a real child.

the plane begins its initial descent to paris and the shrill nails-on-the-chalkboard screams only increase. the flight attendant coos to the child consolingly and offers chocolates if she’ll just take her seat like a good little girl for a few minutes. the overweight german woman in the seat behind them shoots evil looks at the oblivious parents and plugs both ears with her fingers. the parents look hardly alarmed that their child is annoying the entire plane. the father speaks to the child as if she is a rational adult while stealing glances as his expensive watch and fingering his armani aviator shades. the mother decides to ignore the little girl, prompting another round of shrieks, reading the society pages instead and pretending not to hear.

i thought this plane was headed for paris, but we’ve definitely entered hell.

suddenly i remember my ipod! perfect in these situations, i’d even loaded a few meditation podcasts before leaving rome. i scroll through the choices and settle on a twelve minute guided meditation session on “finding your inner happiness” and happily shut out the commotion from across the aisle.

ready to find my inner zen, i listen as the relaxing music-and-babbling-brook combo begins and i’m told to close my eyes, relax my body and search out areas of tension in my muscles. so far so good.

i’ve got it turned up to full volume, but amazingly i can still hear the little devil-child’s screams! i guess this is going to be harder than i thought… then comes a tap on my shoulder.

“excuse me, miss, but we need you to stow your electronics for landing,” says the flight attendant. wincing through her artificial smile each time the little girl screams “no! no! no!” behind her. begrudgingly, i take out my headphones and resign myself to another round of the temper tantrum. in fifteen minutes, we’ll be on the ground.

fifteen minutes never felt so long…


1 Comment »

  1. Kim said,

    hehe…kinda reminds me of our plane ride home from taipei. heidi had the child from hell sitting behind her, i’ve never seen her that perturbed. i was fearing for the child’s life (and her limbs that were kicking the chair!). don’t you wish they could have a separate cabin for kids under 10???

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