Portrait of A Stalker
I’ve been the victim of a very clever stalker for many years. No matter how vigilantly I maintain travel secrecy, somehow he manages to discover my flight itineraries. He is a master of disguise, skillful at changing hair and eye color, yet I am quick to spot him — invariably he is seated within two or three rows of me on every flight I take. My efforts to evade him by switching airlines and booking at the last possible moment have failed pitifully. Still he is there — always there — screaming in his mother’s arms. Without exaggeration, this screaming baby has followed me to six continents.
I have noticed that the screaming baby favors a wardrobe which is almost as loud as his shriek, consisting mainly of well coordinated pajama ensembles featuring bold, menacing prints. Animal stripes seem to be a favorite. Very often the mother of the screaming baby is dressed in an equally frightening manner, though this is not always the case. (Now, I realize that there are many screaming babies out there. I can only describe the one that shadows me. Yours may look entirely different.)
I have finally resigned myself to the presence of my screaming baby, even creating a sad little game of trying to spot those tell-tale pajama prints and his cranky face among the herd of economy class passengers milling about the departure gate before each flight. I rarely win this game, so adept is the screaming baby at blending in — until his lungs burst open during take-off.
Though this may sound unkind, I can’t help but wish this baby would stay at home more often. It’s nothing personal, mind you, just a hope that one day the tears might stop and Screaming Baby will miraculously morph into Smiling Baby, enabling all of us on board to get a little sleep.