This I Believe

Joy - Kingwood, Texas
Entered on July 16, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children, illness

This I Believe – If There is a Sick Child on the Aircraft, They Will be Seated Next to Me.

I had finally boarded the plane for my long awaited vacation. It was a beautiful day! The trees whizzing by were green, the lakes below – green, the nasal cavity of the five-year-old sitting next to me – green. I leaned toward the window and tried to breathe only out of my right nostril, while feeling for the Purell in my purse. I had paid a month’s salary; spent hours researching my destination; days arranging pet care, lawn care, mail stops, paper stops; a portion of eternity in the passport office; only to be seated next to Mini Typhoid Mary before I’d even had my first umbrella drink.

This was not the first time this had happened. I attract sick children like a magnet. Close confines only magnify the effect. It is most prevalent when I am embarking on a dream vacation, in which I have invested ridiculous amounts of funds and preparation. On my honeymoon, I crossed the English channel in a hovercraft, whilst the tot seated next to me projectile vomited onto the floor, completely missing the paper bag held open before him. By the time we got to gay Paree, the only thing “rouge” was my nose, my eyes, and the lining of my esophagus.

An equally unhealthy urchin was my seat-mate on a puddle jumper between Greece and Italy. My first visit in Rome was to a pharmacy, where I was relieved to learn that the Italian word for penicillin is “penicillin”. It is also “over the counter.” Grazie a Dio.

At the mercy of little ragamuffins, I’ve been spit on in Spain, phelgmed in the Philippines and I can’t even tell you what happened in Uruguay, but let us suffice to say they all resulted in at least part of my vacation being spent in bed, sick. Something I could do back home with more comfort and less funding. Something that never happens to me when I’m scheduled for a day of stressful deadlines or meetings with characters that would make Dilbert cry.

Dare I suggest that the parents of these infirm little darlings keep them home, at least until they have relatively few body fluids traveling great distances from their cute little orifices? Is that too big of an imposition on their busy lifestyles? Too selfish of me to even suggest?

Mini Mary’s Mom reached across her with a tissue the size of a road map and asked her to blow. “Your nose is an absolute mess, I should have left you home,” she giggled. I refrained from violence, knowing that if I struck her, I would be the one detained at the airport, which would eat up even more of my vacation time. And the detainee seated next to me would probably have the flu.