Monday, October 19, 2009

Airport Observations

I took another trip with Mr. Burns this weekend. He's making the rounds with me - making sure the people most important to him see just how fabulous I am! (at least that's my story)

The trip was great. We travel well together and just spending time together is good because he's been away for work so much lately.

So we spent some time in airports and let me tell you ... that's a fine place to find people doing stupid things!

Maybe not everyone has spent as much time in DIA as I... but I can tell you that the women's restrooms in the terminals all have the same layout. You walk in through a little curve and the first section is sinks only. You bypass the wash area to get to the toilet stalls.

That would be the blue line in this diagram.

Then you do your business and move on to the sinks.

I really don't see how anyone can miss this. It's pretty easy to surmise the layout the second you are in the room. There is even the benefit of mirrors to confirm that there is nothing in that first section but sinks.

I'm guessing tons of women are just looking at their feet! Those feet watching women follow the red line - walking straight in without paying attention. Then when I come out for the sinks (the orange line) I have to stand there and get all tangled up as they figure out what they missed, and head toward the toilet area! Gah! So annoying.

I wonder if I'm just more observant (and possibly more impatient). Or if it's really that tricky?
Just stay to the left going in.. and to the left again heading to the sinks and everyone stays out of every one's way!


But the real annoyance was a mom in the Austin airport.

Her two kids were happily doing a little maypole dance around a group of those little line barriers... the kind where the strap retracts to inside the pole. When the TSA wants to form a nice little mouse maze - they connect the poles by pulling the strap out and sliding it onto the next pole.
Anyway, there were about 4 poles corralled, out-of-use. The girl was 3 or 4 and the boy was 6 or 7 years old. They played follow-the-leader and London Bridge type games. The were reasonably quiet - to the point that they weren't annoying any neighboring passengers.

All a mom could dream of. No?

Not this mom. She ceaselessly barked orders. "Don't push your brother." "Don't pull on that strap." "Don't make your sister scream." (okay that was a good one, but she wasn't screaming!) "I said, don't touch that." "Do as I say."

I couldn't believe it. Here, her kids were A) burning off energy (good for pre-boarding) B) Entertaining themselves C) Reasonably quiet D) not hurting each other and E) not damaging property. For some reason this mom couldn't see that. She just barked and barked at them.

It made me wonder if she thought she was showing off her mom skills by micro-managing her kids' every move.

I thought she was doing a good job of turning them into little neurotics!

I don't want to judge other people's parenting - but come on - this lady probably watches them sleep and then gives them pointers in the morning!! Lighten up!!!

I asked Mr. Burns to make sure I never act like that if I have kids. He promised.

Well, now I feel compelled to end on a positive note - so... ummm.... I found no offenders of my baggage claim rule. I hate it when people crowd around the baggage carousel - creating a barrier for anyone who actually SEES their bag! I say, 5- 10 feet buffer between the crowd and the carousel... so that people can actually get in and claim their bag.

We didn't have to step on anyone the whole trip! Success!


Bonnie said...

I just have to stand up for the mom in the airport. I have traveled alone with a three year old and an 18 month old and the 3 year old went into a screaming fit as we boarded that almost got us kicked off the plane. It is very stressful on mom's to travel alone with their children, especially younger ones. She was likely very stressed out and was being irritated about small things. I love your posts and read your blog all the time, but this time I think you should have just given her a break. This, of course, coming from another mom who has been there and understands. Not trying to be harsh to you, I just have empathy for her situation.

Anonymous said...

Bonnie -
If her kids were bad I'd have seen the need to give her a break. But they were being perfect little angels and she was nagging at them. FOR NO REASON!
And she wasn't alone. Dad was there too - he was cool but she was a nag.

TRS - from work... not logging in!

Anonymous said...

Yep, I've observed parents like these who totally provoke their children and seem not to realize how comparably great their kids are. In fact, I have a sister who is like this and I try to stand up for the little ones when I can - without usurping authority of course!

Katie said...

I've messed up in the DIA bathroom before. Something about it doesn't seem quite right...I thought that maybe there were another row of stalls on the other side of the sink room, but then there wasn't.

Maybe if the opening between the two areas was bigger so you could see both rooms right when you enter the space?

Alls I'm saying is that it is a bit poorly laid out.

TRS said...


You are right, it is poorly laid out... and it's further confused by the layout of the restrooms in the main area of airport... where there are sinks in the middle... and stalls on either side of the sink center. So one gets accoustomed to being able to go both ways... then you get to the gates and the layout is different.

The worst part is the narrow circular turn for the entry. It's not wide enough for two people with bags to encounter one-another without doing a stupid little dance to make room!!

Anonymous said...

So if a mom lets her kids dance around, people give her dirty looks, but if she tells them to stop...she gets dirty looks!

There's just no winning...

TRS said...

Anonymous - you miss the point.

It wasn't that she told them to stop. It was that she was micro-managing the kids who were doing fine without her 'suggestions'.

Have you ever had a micro-managing boss or supervisor? Remember how it made you feel diminished? Unvalued?
What do you suppose that does to the heart of a child?

The difference between your two examples that you conveniently left out... is one circumstance where the parent is oblivious to their disruption, is not tuned in enough to recognize that their child might be bothering others - and does nothing.

The other circumstance -the one I described - is the kids were bothering no one, they were behaving ideally - and the parent was finding things wrong, that weren't wrong... and more harmfully, stunting her children's creativity and exploration, stunting their sense of freedom.

I speak from my own experience as a child... my mother corrected me when I NEEDED correcting. Even if I was doing something risky - she expected me to figure it out for myself - and would only intervene when neccessary. As a result, I am a confident considerate adult. Who by the way - doesn't tune my mother out -- as I suspect this woman's children do.

I saw in that little boy's eyes... that he felt an obligation to correct every little thing - with the full knowledge that he'll never be good enough for his mother to just leave him BE! So amazingly sad.