I’m totally dreading the next time I have to fly anywhere with all four other members of my family. “Wait a minute,” you say. “Don’t you only have two children and a husband? Doesn’t that only add up to three other members of the family?”
Yes, that would make sense, but whenever we travel on an airplane, we must bring along our third child, The Technology Bag.
The Technology Bag is really my husband’s adopted baby. This fragile creature is actually an oversized backpack (I hauled it around Europe ten years ago if that gives you any idea) that Jeff insists on delicately carrying aboard all airplanes.
The Technology Bag generally contains the following: laptop, video camera, digital camera, files with “important” papers, DVDs, blank video tapes for said video camera, an iPod, and many cords and wires whose purpose remain a mystery to me. Oh, and snacks.
The Technology Bag is treated with the same loving care that our children receive. It is never to be left unattended, always under the watchful eagle eye of its doting father. Actually, now that I think of it, The Technology Bag usually receives better care than our human kids since the Bag is never yelled at or grabbed by the arm when it tries to flee out a secured door and onto the tarmac.
We recently began negotiating our annual Tour of Texas Grandparents vacation coming up this summer. The question remained on whether or not to deal with one day of hell and fly or possibly prolong the hellish experience by driving. When I made my pro/con list, one item loomed glaringly above all others in air travel’s negative category. It was, of course, The Technology Bag. I think that I would rather risk three days of whining and crying in the car than have to deal with one day of The Technology Bag in the airport.
The Technology Bag’s presence means that I am in charge of the Big Girl and the Baby, while Jeff constantly empties and refills the Bag through security checkpoints, double-checks the safety of its contents at every gate, and finally straps it to his body only to swing around when lunging after a child and clobber an old lady with the bulk of the humongous backpack.
And the fun of The Technology Bag doesn’t end once we board the plane. That’s when I get the children settled into their seats, unload the toys, unpack the snacks, start nursing the baby, and fend off requests for juice/potty/a window seat/etc. Meanwhile, Jeff lovingly unpacks many components of The Technology Bag in preparation of his onboard entertainment, or “work” as he calls it.
Then he stuffs the Bag under his own feet, in violation of air safety codes, until some poor flight attendant stops by and just does his or her job by asking him to put it in the bin above. Jeff grumbles and obliges, leaving the poor Bag out of sight until we land. Then it must be gingerly reloaded so that it may knock over another senior citizen.
The true bummer about The Technology Bag is that whenever we arrive in Texas I sorta like having access to its contents. It’s nice to be able to take pictures or film movies of my children with their grandparents. And, even though I rarely have the luxury of iPod time, it is lovely to take the occasional walk and listen to Jeff’s latest Gnarls Barkley upload.
I only wish that we could splurge on an extra seat for the Bag, or have the financial wherewithal to hire a nanny to help us with our travels. Not for help with the kids, but more as a Technology Bag sherpa.
Until that day comes, I’ll have to accept that we have three children on the airplane. At least The Technology Bag counts as a lap child.