Imagining I am sat on a beach somewhere, sinking into the soft sand splayed out on a reclined lounge chair, gazing out onto the open water with a rum and coke in hand, I can’t help but notice something snatching at my big, protruding toe.
Is it a curious bird? Or, maybe, it’s a harmless sand dweller.
Reality comes crashing down when I realize that an impish infant with cold, piercing devilish eyes is trying his best to pull my toe from its socket.
Welcome to an Air Transat flight from Calgary to London. Numerous babies sporadically strewn about the cabin relentlessly squeal at an intolerable pitch, a pitch one would assume only dogs should have the ability to hear. Passengers are packed in like sardines (I don’t recommend travelling with this no frills supplier if your on the higher side of the body mass index scale), a mother complains about the airline’s in-flight protocols – primarily its absence of seatbelts or add-ons for infants – and, arguably worst of all, Air Transat lives in a land devoid of complimentary booze.
But what does one expect at at such low rates?
Paying just over $600 for a one-way flight across the pond, I shouldn’t be in a position to complain, but will do so anyway. Brief silence, like the tranquil moment before a catastrophic storm makes landfall, befalls the aircraft. Without warning, the silence is blown to smithereens by another wailing toddler.
At least I purchased the rights, for a nominal $20 fee, to pre-emptively reserve an aisle seat. There is ample room for my laptop to sit comfortably on the retractable tray. That is, until the disgruntled mother of the fiendish, evil infant decides to aggressively recline her seat. Jabbing into my stomach, the laptop finally settles at an odd angle, coming to rest on my lap. I have every reason to believe, if the laptop had the ability to scream, it would join the bevy of babies in their deafening chorus.
I sit on pins and needles to see what gruel will come our way at dinner. And I sit not on pins and needles with anticipation but with the unavoidable numbness overwhelming my lower extremities.
On the upside, only seven hours remain on-board this germ-infested airborne daycare centre.