Chapter Two: Saludos, España!
He llegado a España, son las 4 am, conseguí mi café en marcha, y la hora de trabajar! I actually don’t speak a word of spanish. But I do know how to operate Google Translate. Very long day yesterday, total of 30 hours of travel. Didn’t sleep a wink, didn’t even try to, just sat there for most of the whole thing editing videos for my forthcoming video education website. And now it’s 4 a.m. in Spain, got a coffee from room service, waiting for the buffet to open at 7, and working away! There’s always been something about being jet-lagged and turned around that I’ve always totally enjoyed. It used to take me a week to get turned around from Europe or Japan when I lived in Manhattan, and part of the reason was that I liked waking up at 10 pm, heading to Three of Cups for breafast (with beer!), then hanging out in Manhattan all night with my laptop, trying out different $4.99 breakfast joints in the village every morning. Other than that tragedy at the lounge yesterday, everything’s been good, with one notable exception. On the flight to Brussels, right behind me was a 2-year-old girl just wailing at the top of her lungs for a lot of the flight. Her crying didn’t really bother me at all (thank you Bose noise-cancelling headphones!), but her father’s treatment of her is still bothering me. He flipped his lid early on and for quite a while sat there just indulging himself at her expense. I heard plenty of things like “Oh, yeah, you’re just a lot of fun to travel with, aren’t you! Never again! Never!”, “You goddamn well better not throw that on the ground! Don’t throw it! I’m warning you…”, hard to describe how ugly it was by quoting it in print. Totally unconcerned with the fact that something was obviously wrong with his daughter (couldn’t pop her ears, or over-tired, or whatever), just so sarcastic and nasty to her, and LOUD, I think everybody for several rows around could hear him just venting his life’s frustrations on his toddler. I was editing away on my laptop, but every time I’d stop the audio I’d hear him right behind me. Eventually I stopped working and listened and tried to decide what to do: I was very tempted to turn around and let him have it, but I’ve considered that on several occasions before and ended up uncertain about whether that actually adds up in the end to an improvement in the child’s life or just builds more resentment in someone as obviously demented as this guy was. As I sat there wondering what I should do, after a very long while, the mother finally came and switched seats with him. Where had she been this whole time? So in the end, I didn’t say anything to the guy, and I woke up this morning regretting that I didn’t say something to this guy, and what that something should have been. His poor little girl has an incredibly long, hard road ahead of her.