When I opened up my Facebook account yesterday, I saw a post from a friend of mine who is obviously a kindred spirit when it comes to this whole parenting thing.
She wrote: “I am seriously getting depressed. If I see one more post about what a perfect family day someone had I am going to scream. My kids are driving me crazy and they are driving each other crazy. Nothing is perfect or idyllic here more like a slow boil with the chance to bubble over at any second.”
Her post seemed to have opened up a spigot of frustration as a chorus of similar parental sentiments followed in the comments section. Moms and dads chimed in with their not-so-nice feelings about the oftentimes aggravating, overheated days of summer. One person said that her kids constantly shouting “Mom!” were starting to make her feel like a “homicidal maniac.” Another joked that she’s only going to respond to her children calling for her when they refer to her as “Your Majesty." (Not a bad idea.)
I tossed my less-than-ideal summer observations into the mix, admitting that this week I’ve hidden from the Picket Fence Post kids in the garage so I could carry on an uninterrupted telephone conversation. (I could hear them looking for me but I said nothing as I sat there in the dark. No, I'm not proud.) Yesterday, I intentionally let them rug rats waste away the morning hours in front of the TV because they were driving me nuts and I needed the time to finish some work without being harassed.
There must be something in the air, because this morning I read a page one story in the New York Times about a flight attendant who, like some of these parents, has had enough. When a passenger on a New York-bound flight left his seat to get the belongings he'd stowed in the overhead compartment after the plane had touched down but it was not yet safe for passengers to leave their seats, a longtime airline attendant, Steven Slater, told the passenger he had to sit down. Here’s how the rest of this weirdly inspiring story played out, according to the Times:
“The passenger defied [the flight attendant]. Mr. Slater reached the passenger just as he pulled down his luggage [from the overhead compartment], which hit Mr. Slater in the head.
Mr. Slater asked for an apology. The passenger instead cursed at him. Mr. Slater got on the plane’s public address system and cursed out the passenger for all to hear. After citing his 20 years in the airline industry, he blurted out, ‘That’s enough.’ He then activated the inflatable evacuation slide at a service exit and left the world of flight attending behind.”
He paused, however, to grab two beers from the service cart before jumping down the slide and running across the tarmac to the employee parking lot, the paper reported. (Unfortunately, Slater was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.)
The comments on the Times web site about this story cracked me up. “I am having one of these [evacuation chutes] installed in every meeting room,” one person said, adding, “Haven’t we all wanted to hit the ‘escape button?”
Another said, “I wish my office had an evacuation slide.”
And for parents with young kids who spend summer days behaving like kids – meaning tormenting their siblings, challenging/harassing their parents and acting like the immature little creatures they are – don’t we all sometimes need an escape chute, an evacuation slide? Or at least a darkened garage to slip off to when Mommy needs a time out?
UPDATE: Apparently Steven Slater has already been christened a "folk hero," according to New York Magazine. There are Free Steven Slater T-shirts, a Steven Slater Legal Defense Fund and even a move to try to get folks to contact JetBlue on his behalf.