The captain of our transcontinental flight announced that we would land in twenty minutes. After a puddle-jumper flight from
I felt the change in gravitational pull as the plane began its gentle descent. Almost on cue, Gwendolyn began to fuss.
After more than four hours of air time with a record clean of crying, I didn’t want the last twenty minutes to ruin the trip. I knew the people around me can handle it—if I were in their seats, I would be praising the Lord if the baby in the seat behind me only fussed for the last twenty minutes of the flight. But I wanted to hold on to Gwendolyn’s good-traveler’s standing.
I bopped, dandled, cajoled, sung, and otherwise made every attempt to quiet my daughter. But nothing worked. In a stroke of desperation, and knowing that she would not really comprehend, I pointed out the window and said, "Look, there's Los Angeles out the window!"
As I did so, my finger tapped against the plexiglass pane, and Gwendolyn's fussing paused as if by remote control. Serendipty came knocking as I rapped my finger again against the window; with three more strikes of my knuckles Gwendolyn was rapt. She couldn't care less that our plane was enacting a miracle of physics in hurtling from two thousand feet down to the surface of the earth. She wanted to hear the drum beat of my fingers against the window.
For the next fifteen minutes I did my best with knuckes and fingertips to keep up a jazzy beat, while Gwendolyn watched and listened.
After about five minutes I began to wonder if the folks around us would find my rapping annoying. Then I imagined the conversation sparked by an objection:
"Would you please stop that tapping on the window?"
"Wah, wah, WAAAAAHHHHH!"
"Please excuse my daughter. Only the sound of tapping on a window keeps her quiet."
"Oh. Well, then. Carry on."
"Delighted, I'm sure."
I tattooed on the plexiglas until our wheels hit the tarmac, holding on to Gwendolyn's excellent traveling record.
Praise the Lord for plexiglas.