Friday, February 11, 2005

Down's To My Last Damn Nerve

All women who make the mistake of having a relationship with me have labored under the same foolish conceit: that somewhere beneath my salty, curmugeony exterior there a sweet, kind nougaty core. Face it, ladies, I am a salt lick, not a Baby Ruth.

But, today, I wonder if I may have hit a new low. I found myself seething at a five year old with Downs Syndrome.

Some background before you turn away in disgust. I was on a plane flying back from LA, trying to gut out a moderate hangover after a boozy night out with some friends in Echo Park. I had settled in with some newspapers and a pillow and was hoping to waste away a four hour flight reading and napping.

Sitting in front of me was "the kid" as I'll call her. She started out being pleasant enough, turning around occasionally and smiling. I smiled back. She kept smiling. I turned back to my newpaper. She'd turn around and sit back down. The same pattern repeated itself over and over for the first hour of the flight. Her mother thought it was cute and took a nap (in that precise order, I believe). Benign stuff.

But, then things escalated. I was reading a suprisingly gushing review of the new Will Smith movie in the Wall Street Journal, when I was clobbered in the head by a small shoe. I looked up, and there was the kid. Smiling. She had decided to mix up the pattern and add throwing her shoe to it. The impact of the shoe on my head must have been loud because it roused "the kid's" mother.

"Sorry," mother said.

"Quite alright," I lied.

"The kid" got creative with her next thrown object, this time throwing the in flight magazine at me. Not painful, but disruptive as it hit me just as I was doozing off, optimistic the hangover would be gone when I awoke.

I fell asleep eventually, waking up with "the kid's" mom apologizing. The kid had apparently decided to turn around, face me and spit up some cereal on my suit pants. I snapped (internally) at this provacative act. The kid was in the seat in front of me. There was no reason for her to be turning around and spitting stuff up on me unless she has some sort of personal beef with me. And, now I had one with her. Thankfully, "the kid" fell asleep after that and I didn't have to deal with her aggressions any more.

But, frankly, I find her disagreeable. I am not a complete monster though; I mean I do feel conflicted about it. And a bit guilty. There I was thinking things like "what the fuck is your problem" about a five year old with Downs Syndrome. I think my anger is justifiable, but if you say "I had beef with this kid with Down's Syndrome on the plane," most people would think you'd set a new sociopathic low.

How patient is patient enough with a disabled person before you are allowed to get legitimately pissed off at them? Are we never supposed to feel anger towards them?


Blogger tequilita said...

THAT is funny. i guess you gotta be in the right mood to see the insanity...but that is comedy. as i read it i was wondering if downs syndrome kids need a different kind of discipline from other kids. i wonder if they're more sensitive, or can you be cross with them when they're misbehaving and they'll understand that it means trouble. how miserable for you. i guess you can't really smack the kid, but i wonder if smacking the mom would be such a crime? i don't have kids i guess i can't pontificate here.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

It was definitely a Larry David type experience. I kept thinking, of the 150 or so people on this plane, why me? Somehow, I had angered the god(s). The flight attendant was pretty sympathetic, offering me a "hanging in there?" look every so often.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should have kicked her ass & made the mom give you $$$ on the spot for assault, & dry cleaning.

9:57 AM  

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