When Spenser was 6 months old, we arranged a trip to visit Dan. We were taking our first plane and I was really nervous. Flying alone with a baby seemed daunting, but I was sure that many people did it; not just single moms. There was no need to make things harder than they needed to be. I was just going to hunker down and do it. It would be fine. My biggest problem was that I was not an efficient packer so I had three big suitcases for a two week visit.
“Do you want to see if I can find someone to fly with you?” Dan asked.
“No no,” I said, “I’m sure it will be fine.” I was and always am determined to do things alone, if I can.
When I arrived at the airport, I had to take the car seat out of the car and put it on the snap-and-go (a great product by the way), then while keeping an eye on Spenser, I removed the car seat base. The car driver took the three suit cases out of the trunk and followed me into the airport. I wheeled the stroller into the line, juggling my purse, diaper bag and the car seat base. I didn’t know how I’d wheel all three of the big suitcases. All I could think about was how I probably didn’t need to bring so many pairs of shoes. Too late now.
I was flying a cheap, small airline, because it was one of the few options for a direct flight. When I say this airline was no frills, I’m talking you have to pay $50 just to reserve a seat and $2 for a small bottle of water. Nothing free so that you can actually get a $75 ticket if you want to be treated like cattle.
The driver saw how over committed my hands were and said, “I’ll take your bags to the counter for you.”
I watched him wheel my three bags to the front and say to the big, bored, scowely woman at the counter, ten feet away, “These bags belong to her.” The driver pointed to me and I waved sweetly.
The counter lady didn’t nod or wave or smile or anything. She just rolled her big, slightly bulging eyeballs towards me without moving her head. She saw me and rolled her eyeballs back to her computer.
I kept watch of my bags at the counter as I inched forward in the line, with my sweet baby in the stroller. This really is doable, I thought. When I got to Counter Lady, I handed her my drivers license, “All right! We made it!” I was thrilled with myself.
Counter Lady moved her head and eyeballs as she shouted, “I almost had your bags confiscated!!!”
Ugh. Why are people so mean?
“Why?” I asked.
“You aren’t supposed to leave your bags unattended,” she snapped.
“But you saw me. I waved at you. I was right there, watching. I didn’t take my eyes off them the whole time. And they were right here in your sight too!”
“Well you aren’t supposed to do that! I almost had the confiscated!” She was yelling.
I shifted the car seat base that was digging into my arm and re adjusted my heavy purse and diaper bag.
“Why didn’t you tell me to move the bags then, when the guy put them there?” I asked, trying to remain cool.
She didn’t say anything and still, she scared me. She punched buttons and printed my boarding pass. She handed it to me and said, “Take your bags to the TSA screening around the corner.” About a hundred feet away, out of sight from the counter, was my next destination; me, my stroller and my three big suitcases.
I looked at her as her eyeballs moved on to the next customer. My three bags were in her arms reach, though she made no effort to help me.
“I’m gonna have to make a few trips,” I told her even though she wasn’t really paying attention. I took a rolling bag in one hand, the car seat base under my arm and pushed the stroller about twenty feet when Counter Lady yelled, “I’m going to have these bags confiscated!!!”
I turned around and she was glaring at me; like with protruding eyeball daggers.
I scooted back to her. I was getting frustrated. “OK, I see.” I said, still keeping calm, “Can anyone help me? Is there someone here who can-”
She cut me off, “Just leave your baby.”
I must not have heard her. “What?” I asked.
“Just leave your baby here and go take your suitcases.”
I saw red. I know it’s a cliché to say you see red, but the blood rushed to my face and everything was a splotchy reddish and I guess I was having a bit of a hormonal, maternal reaction. “LEAVE MY BABY?” I screamed… no bellowed. I surpassed her meanness by far. I started ranting and babbling. “HOW CAN YOU TELL ME TO LEAVE MY BABY? It’s OK to leave my baby and not my stupid suitcases? How can you tell me that? How dare you?You think whatever can happen to my suitcases couldn’t happen to my baby? How dare you tell me to leave my baby?!!!!”
Counter Lady was quiet for a moment and then said, “Well, you can’t leave your suitcases.”
“Can someone help me?” I asked, breathing a bit now.
Counter Lady ignored me and moved on to the next customer. I’m sure other patrons stared, but I didn’t notice.
I felt a little sorry for myself. Well, fine! If no one was going to help me, than I’d just do it with some flair. I inched the three suitcases up an arms length and then pushed the stroller up to it, making lots of noise and throwing in some really good grunts. I continued doing this for about ten minutes. I hoped Counter Lady saw me. I hoped everyone saw me!
On the airplane, no one would help me put my bag in the overhead compartment and when I asked for a seatbelt extender, the flight attendant threw it at me and walked away as I called after him, “How do I use this thing?”
If enough people who read this comment that they want to know the name of this hideous business, I will post it!