Nothing makes me sadder and feel older than the sight of a young couple at the airport at 5 am with an infant, about to torture themselves with a six hour sojourn to Grandmother’s house laden down with the amazing baggage of baby strollers, baby seats, diaper bags, toys, noisemakers, pablum, formula, pumps, paregoric ….
The DiaperDecks in the men’s rooms of America’s airports are in full swing this week, and I detected a whiff of something accidental pass me by on the leg from Seattle to Atlanta this morning, rushing to the amidships head on the Boeing 767. I just pulled into my North Carolina office after a day of full-on infant screaming, and realize I need about an hour on the erg to get the nervous enervation and cringe out of my shoulders, neck, and face. I don’t mean to be W.C. Field and pull an misanthropic rant on the young of the year, but am I alone in the ranks of America’s airborne Willy Loman’s in dreading the spring when the planes get packed with the wailing of those too young to perform the sinus clearing Valsalva maneuver on themselves?
Believe me I empathize. There was the early morning return to Boston from San Francisco in 1988 after I pulled an all-nighter at the Grateful Dead’s New Year’s Eve show at the Oakland Coliseum. Not a lot of sleep and two toddlers made that a very special flight.