It’s late Saturday night, Sunday morning by Boston time, and I’m hunched over on the airport floor. My eyes are glazed with the exhausting combination of spending quality time with my family/staying up late talking to people about Life, capital L/eating way too many yams, and I’ve almost entirely tuned out my surroundings when a thirty-something-ish man steps over me. The cry of the small child in his arms yanks me unpleasantly back to Earth like Floo powder. The babies are after me, I think, as my heart plummets from my chest onto San Francisco International’s questionably-colored carpet.
I don’t know what it is about me and public transportation and babies. Though I don’t visit home particularly frequently, going to school 3,000 miles away means I’m racking up more frequent flyer miles ever before, and so I’ve pretty much experienced the pinnacle of bad flights – zero leg room, back row seating with the constant smell of bathroom wafting overhead for six hours, the guy in front of me reclining into my spleen, the guy on my right bathed in eu d’blah-blah-YOU’RE ON AN ENCLOSED AIRCRAFT, BUDDY – pretty much seen, done, and smelled it all.
But my limit comes at babies. I love kids, I really do. Really really really really, really really do. I babysit, and I go all girly and goo-goo-eyed at infants with their little-itty-bitty fingers and toes and their tiny shoes… BUT. However. There comes a point when you have not slept all night becaue you thought you’d get better rest on the plane, when you’re all tucked in under the ambiguously sanitary travel blanket, and you’ve changed into your footsie pajamas (okay, I don’t have footsie pajamas, but if I did I would definitely wear them), and your iPod’s on your sleeping playlist and you’re JUST ON THE BRINK OF DRIFTING OFF when the kid starts to scream and you think, I’m gonna go Sparta on that kid and kick him into a well.*
(Why yes! I did watch 300 over Thanksgiving. My family actually watched it three times, in three different languages. Nothing says epic like “ESTA – ES – SPARTAAA!”)
I suppose you can be thankful for this particular kid, though, because 1) there is only one of them, unlike the time when there were not one, not two, but FOUR crying in harmony on my first flight of sophomore year and 2) it is keeping me up to write this blog entry. Thanks, baby. And so my Thanksgiving break can not only be described as epic, but also too short, and hairy. Perhaps a more proper term would be ‘beard’-y, as it seems that about half of my male friends have grown beards since I came back from school. (“What? It’s No-Shave-November.” -Nick) I mostly ate a lot of food, and caught up with high school friends, family friends, randomly met but now current friends, in which we discussed the current states of our lives and how they compared to the previous states of our lives, and then ate a lot more food.
Sophomore year seems about as good a time as any for a midlife crisis, and from all those aforementioned discussions of Life, capital L, it seems to be happening/has happened to just about everyone I know. Keri dropped her double major; my hardcore physics friend at Claremont recently discovered he really enjoyed molecular biology and took a 180 into a bio major. I myself unofficially re-declared myself ‘undeclared’ at some point in the middle of the semester (which just means I thought to myself, “hmm, I dislike my current major”); shortly before I came home for Thanksgiving I officially changed my major; then over the three days at home I began reconsidering a different path. Even more than that, most of us are dealing with this weird thing about sort of, kind of being adults now (which I’m particularly terrible at; I forgot to change my Brita filter before I left for California and just drank half a cup of moldy water. Hopefully all those yams aren’t going to come back up).
But I won’t give you the dissatisfaction of telling you what major I’ve settled on for now, since it’ll probably change by tomorrow and we’ll be back to square one. :)
The thing that keeps coming back to me, though, is that I keep feeling like that everything important that I’ve been screwing up lately is going to make some monumental difference upon where I end up in life, but when I look closer most of what’s become important to me has all been the result of chance and momentary mistakes. Maybe it’s just a function of me being happy wherever I end up. Then, though, I have to remind myself that I certainly haven’t “ended up” anywhere, and these decisions and apparent slip ups are all part of the journey. A journey filled with screaming babies, no less.
IN ANY CASE. There are three weeks until I finish my finals and say goodbye to my first semester as a sophomore, and the sunrise falling gracefully on crimson New England trees below means it’s probably time to get my shoes back on. Three weeks filled with neuroscience readings, problem set grading, lots and lots and lots of hours of dance practice, and a couple long shifts on the ambulance before I get to fly back home; three weeks in which hopefully, just maybe, I’ll start to figure a little more of this out.
*I know that now I’m going to get all sorts of hate mail from Young Mother Travelers of America, so I apologize. I really don’t mean to be insensitive to mothers and their travel needs. Maybe you’re the kind of mother that never, EVER travels with her kid and have to make an emergency flight from San Francisco to Boston because Dora the Explorer is coming to town, or something, but if that’s true I’ve been present at least six or seven of these emergencies, and it’s starting to get a little old because a lot of them are red-eyes and I am sometimes selfish at four in the morning. Alrighty? I know I’ll probably hate myself for saying this when I have a kid later on, and have to make all sorts of emergency flights to large metropolitan areas with many college kids, but for now, can all the babies please just STAY IN ONE PLACE??
I haven’t been on too many plane flights, but if it makes you feel better I’ve never gotten any sleep on them. One, I like flying too much (always manage to connive myself a window seat), and two, I just can’t. I took a flight between the hours of 6PM (home) and 6AM (destination), still got no sleep. And they required the windows to be closed. Darn them.
ONE BIG BABY STATE with baby doctors and baby police officers and baby firefighters!!! It’d be the perfect society!!!
Apparently in good ol’ Chicago some old woman walked into the wrong movie theater last winter and was like “I thought this was Knocked Up / other movie was out at that time” and some guy stood up, yelled, “No, THIS IS SPARTA” and kicked her down the stairs.
She sued the movie theater and the guy. It could very well just be an urban legend, but I found it kind of funny Anyway, I’m sorry about the babies, but I have pictures of this woman that wouldn’t stop putting her smelly feet on my arm rest (across the aisle) for my entire flight back from France two summers ago… Maybe babies are the lesser of two evils
No Snakes on a Plane references?
Tired of all these babies, etc.
The 300 reference made up for it though!
In closing, first?
aw. my mother seems to be the hyper-5-year-old-whose-mother-thinks-its-cute-he-can’t-stop-kicking-your-seat magnet. Never fails. good luck resting.
I was also considering writing an entry about my own airline drama today (three-and-a-half hour delay = not a happy Paul), but this totally owns anything I could have thrown together.
Anyway, for the record, I totally wore footsie pajamas when I was a kid.
Wow I feel for you. One flight, 16 hours, straight to Shanghai, China, and two babies right to the left of me. Honestly I just wanted to lock myself up in the bathroom the whole trip there if it didn’t smell.
Btw awesome 300 reference
I always love your entries, really entertaining. Thanks
“ESTA – ES – SPARTAAA!” “ESTA – ES – SPARTAAA!” <- I’m going to have to try yelling this somewhere tomorrow.
It sounds like you’re having a blast right now; I can’t really imagine babies being awake at this time, but I feel your pain! Anywho, good luck with your finals! :D
Wow, it feels good to finally reply instead of reading the post and leaving silently.
Kudos to whoever catches that reference.
haha lol at powerthirst
Kudos to the almighty GOOGLE are in order!
one time I was sleeping on a train in Germany and this dude was playing 300 way too loud on his laptop in the seat next to me. “DAS… IST… SHPAR-TA!” no babies, though.
Yes I do read your blog! I’m sure you’ll get it all straightened out. It happens.
…Note to self: ditch the eau de bla-blah-bla
Footsie pajamas are the best! They actually do make adult-sized ones, but they’re hard to find in stores. Say what you will about it being immature, but those outfits are damn comfortable.
When babies start annoying you, [url=”http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html” rel=”nofollow”]
This is off-topic, but how did you manage to move out of next house during your freshman year? I filled out the house-to-house application but just got an email saying I can’t do it…
haha next house
On a plane, babies are understandable, but when the person sitting next to you falls asleep and ends up with his/her head on your shoulder… that’s a tricky situation.
Great entry! Definitely made my day.
Don’t hate on Dora.
Ouch, I know what it’s like to be in the same plane/train as a crying baby. Babies, esp the young ones have that high pitched cry that really hurts my head. I don’t know, I think it’s a survival skill. But I’d much rather have a stranger sleeping on my shoulder.
Still.. it’s better than having 2 siblings who play loud music/movies on the radio, computer, laptop, cell phone AND TV at 1 AM. But in that case, a person isn’t obliged to be as diplomatic
What do all these majors switching/undeciding mean (My child is just as undecided.):
a) There is no sustainingly intriguing enough major at MIT or elsewhere.
b) If there is such a major, you haven’t found it.
c) College education adds to your confusion, rather than clarifies it.
d) College becomes just a motion, something you have to go through.
e) Other (please specify).
All your choices seem fairly pessimistic, but I think there are many many option e)’s. Sometimes there are just so many awesome things to choose from that after you’ve picked a major, you discover something awesome and decide to do that!
“back row seating with the constant smell of bathroom wafting overhead for six hours”
Have no fear! Thou art not alone!
Hmm, forgot to sign my post above. *facepalm*
Your post reminded me of a somewhat related (though not exactly related) quote:
“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”
I don’t remember who it’s by, only that it’s on my friend’s facebook profile and it serves as a great reminder…even though things never quite seem settled or decided or definite, it’s all good – that’s kinda what life’s about. At least imho.
Hope you’re doing well! I took a redeye on Sat/Sun from San Jose to BOS and got 2hrs of sleep…fun times. Get some rest!
Ahh humanity. How we all long to leave it behind and go live off in the mountains, in peace and quiet. Does MIT have a degree in Hermitry? I would so love to be a hermit. Think of the course catalogue: Goatherding 101… Things Not to Eat (no matter how starving you are)… Avoiding Tax Laws, Advanced Course… Hehe, sorry, I’ll stop.
Good luck in your undecided indecision, and may whatever you choose work out with many wonders and futures of footsie PJ’s!
I pretty much feel like you do in terms of major, and midlife crisis and whatnot…
Oh well, hope to see you soon since I haven’t seen you since that day I saw you… yeah remember? good times. haha
next house still blows
“ESTA ES SPARTA!!!”
= epic win.
lol ha ha ha.
I think your link is screwed up :
Yeah! 300 is AWESOME in EVERY language