What’s worse: Babies crying on a plane or whiny adults?
Babies don’t have to go to the movies. But sometimes they need to fly.
When babies fly and cry, some grumpy adult passengers forget where they themselves came from and get all riled and huffy about having to endure a little shrieker on board.
Mind you, I’m not saying I totally enjoy flying cooped up in the sardine seats for hours with a nearby human larva constantly testing his little lungs. But sometimes in life, dues must be paid.
If you were ever a baby, as I was, that means you once tested your high-pitched little siren, using that survival tool to demand attention to your hunger and to your wet diaper. And some of you were practicing how to grow up to be a loudmouth.
A lot of strangers once sat silently on planes, screaming inside their own heads, wishing your mother would shut you up, but understanding the necessity of new children on this planet.
Not only that, but chances are, the more of a complainer against babies you are today, the better the odds that you were also an unusually loud and adamant little bundle of noise.
On the other hand, there are limits on when and where a responsible parent will take a tiny person. For instance, a baby has no elemental right to scream through a movie in a theater. Maybe it takes a village to raise a child, but it doesn’t take a theater full of innocent people. Just because the Constitution guarantees free speech doesn’t mean a baby has a right to bellow in a crowded theater.
There are alternatives. DVDs and streaming films have been invented. Parents of a newbie can watch recent movies at home. And the popcorn is cheaper.
(Similarly, the two grown women sitting behind me in the movie theater the other night, talking during the show, could have turned off their flapping lips for a couple of hours if they had the decency to realize that I paid to listen to the actors, not to a pair of 60-year-old chatterboxes.)
Babies, by definition, cannot put a cork in their own little pie holes. But there are public situations where babies are welcome. Weddings, for instance. People routinely bring babies to weddings where they often interrupt the preacher. But that’s fair because weddings cause babies.
However, there is such a thing as a place where parents are entitled by the laws of life to take the little loud ones out in public. Airplanes and buses, for instance. It is natural and right for parents of a new baby to visit grandparents and other relatives, blending the child into the family, gladdening the hearts of the kinfolk.
In truth, I would rather not fly on a plane with a crying baby. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t want to live in a world where babies couldn’t go visit their grannies.
Granted, the passenger airplane had barely been invented when I was a baby. But I, too, as a baby, was taken by bus or covered wagon or whatever to delight a grandmother with my loud presence. I have a debt therefore, and so do we all. We must show the same grudging level of tolerance for our eventual replacements on this planet.
But just because we have to put up with the mixed blessing of babies, doesn’t mean we have to put up with the whining of grumpy adult airline passengers. They should try to be more quiet about this matter, even if the babies are incapable yet of learning how to keep their little yaps shut.
Bill Hall can be contacted at email@example.com or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501