A couple of days ago, I boarded an airplane with my children for the much anticipated Trip To The East Coast. In retrospect, it was a surprisingly tolerable 14 hour journey, in spite of my girl’s and my boy’s incessant questions about the length and duration of the trip. Nary a minute went by without a barrage of “how long have we been in here? Are we almost there? What time is it in San Diego? What time is it in Connecticut? How much longer ‘til we get there? What time is it? How many minutes since we blasted off? How many minutes until we land? etc etc etc etc ad nauseum.
A bit of a while in, I heard a wee voice from across the aisle saying “excuse me?” and first realized that our row 29-mates, a brother and sister, were traveling as unaccompanied minors. The girl was adorable and precocious – 7 years old, we later found out. Her brother, smashed up against the window in his coveted seat and fast asleep, was 10. When I heard her, she was asking for an exit from her middle seat so she could go to the bathroom. But she and her bro were not alone in their row, the aisle seat was occupied by a young, gigantic black man. He was decked out in low slung jeans and semi-precious metals. He had those rubber message bracelets halfway up to both elbows. The buds of his ipod were plugged into his ears, and he was out cold, a tangled mass of limbs. She almost gave up, but I stepped in (shocking, I know). I had her stand on her seat, I grasped both of her hands, and I helped her fly over the aisle man. He stirred enough to notice, enough that she didn’t need my help to get back into her seat after hitting the bathroom. I turned back to my peeps, for the new round of questions about this most interesting exchange. When I told my kids that this boy and girl were flying alone to go see their dad, one of them said: “Their dad is right there!” like, duh mom, why else would some MAN be sitting next to them?
A little later, I heard my young friend say “excuse me?” to her neighbor on the aisle, but she didn't need my help this time. She had her father figure there, and he pulled his out his ear bud so she could ask: “How many minutes until we land?”