We all took a trip back to the United States last week. Forest and I went to Charlottesville where he could stay with my parents while I met Josh in Miami for a friend’s wedding. The trip over could not have been better. Forest dutifully sat in his seat, ate goldfish and fruit snacks, played with his cars and watched movies the whole way over alternating Bolt and Finding Nemo. Bolt was his favorite though simply for the fact that it involves his favorite things of the moment: dogs, cars and trains. I was so encouraged. Maybe living so far away from family and friends will not be so bad.
Then we traveled back to Geneva. He did a good job then too but our flights were a little rough. First, we got on a plane in Charlottesville for our 26 minute flight to DC. I got all of our things on board and Forest sat happily reading the safety information card. Then the flight attendant- whose name I should not share because it is so unique but just know that it the same as a certain Disney character who sang Colors of the Wind- came down the aisle and told the woman across from me to stand up. Her tone seemed to indicate some sort of major security issue. The woman quickly stood and got ready to follow the flight attendant off the plane. She looked thoroughly confused. But the flight attendant looked at the gentleman sitting next to her and told him to put his bags under the seat. Unfortunately he did not understand. So she kept asking him to put his bags under the seat each time raising her voice a little more. Eventually the man got her point and then the flight attendant told the other lady to sit back down. This took a good five minutes. I still do not understand why the first woman had to stand.
Then the flight attendant came back with a giant roller bag. She said it did not fit in the back of the plane so the owner needed to store it in the cabin. The logic was infallible. The owner of the suitcase stood up from the middle seat of the row behind me (on this plane the back row is five across and one unlucky person has to sit at the end of the aisle) and silently watched as the flight attendant tried to stuff this giant bag into the overhead compartment. It did not fit. She then said, “You need to get someone to switch with you so you can store it under the seat in front of you.” No one moved. I think we were all still confused as to why she had chosen the largest roller bag ever to store in the cabin rather than one of the smaller bags that they had forced someone to gate check. “ONE of you is going to switch with this guy so his bag goes under the seat.” Finally, I said I could put my backpack up in the overhead compartment and that would free up space under the seat in front to put his suitcase. The gentleman brought his bag back to my row and kneeled to put it under the seat. “Bless you,” he said under his breath so that P, the flight attendant, could not hear him. At this point, we were all afraid of her.
Finally we took off, bouncing around in the turbulence. It was only a 26 minute flight but as my backpack was in the overhead, we did not have books to read or toys to play with. So we read SkyMall cover to cover. I searched every page for something Forest would recognize. The remote control car was a hit. The mounted squirrel head was not. The real winner was the pet page. We counted TEN dogs. And we counted them again. And again. Needless to say, Forest is a pretty good flyer. The second (and longer) flight went off without a hitch except that Forest did not understand why he needed to go to sleep when he could just keep watching Bolt and Nemo and eating goldfish. So minus the fact that neither of us slept on the overnight flight, it was a success. Or not. It depends of your value of sleep.