Fuckwits and Toddlers

Swedes. Grr! We invented dynamite and we came up with flat pack furniture, sensible cars and a staggering variety of porn. When my country men do my head in, I quickly go from “us” to “them”. I said to B on our way back to London this morning that I wasn’t sure what would be worse – a Ryan Air flight with Swedes (they have no awareness) or with Brits off to Benidorm (drunken idiots). He wasn’t sure either but ended up deciding Swedes might be marginally better. Kiwis would be great, they’re polite, easy-going, know how to queue (Swedes don’t) and they’re not complete pissheads to the extent Brits are. Holy crap. I knew the Ryan Air experience was never going to rival flying First Class to New York with British Airways (well – only the once, but it’s a memory I treasure and I will definitely be taking a left when I board again in the future), but I swear I’ve never come so close to properly losing my shit.

So, there we were, back at Gothenburg City Airport in good time for our 10am flight back to shitty Stansted and lovely London. We got up at 2.30am local time for the 4-hour drive down to Gothenburg, and this time there was no bribing each other to get to drive the spaceship we hired, but the other way around. I took the first shift, and when we finally hit the half way mark I was so tired it felt like someone had poured sand into my eyes. It was pitch black, of course, and endless road and countless trees – not sure if it had been less tiring to have something more interesting to look at, but the monotony near enough killed me, and I quickly developed a pounding headache from focusing my eyes back and forth across the sides of the road for wildlife. A third of road accidents in Sweden are due to wildlife, you see. And you don’t want to crash in to the king of the forest – a moose is way bigger than a horse, and if you hit it head on, you knock away its legs and the tonne of huge animal lands on the windscreen. Surviving that, a full on hit at speeds above say 70km/hour, isn’t all that likely. The disgusting part is that it’s not necessarily the impact that sends you to the pearly gates, but rather that you suffocate from the weight. Eew.

If you do have time to react, should a moose decide to come barging out on to the road, if you can’t avoid hitting it, Swedes get taught when getting our drivers’ licences to aim for the back legs. I guess it means that if you do, you knock it sideways as opposed to getting the whole damn thing on your lap.

Anyway. B took the second shift and managed to both stay on the right side of the road and stay awake the remaining couple of hours to Gothenburg.

And there, just like at Stansted, our little Ryan Air nightmare started all over again. Got treated like cattle, and just like at Stansted it was the worst people in the world who’d gathered to catch our flight. At least we didn’t get seated right near the two little babies who screamed like someone was torturing them the whole freaking way, but we did get seated in front of the oblivious mum with the unruly toddler. We hadn’t even taxi’d yet, and my back had already taken a pounding from little legs that relentlessly kicked the back of my chair.

I’m usually quite tolerant, and I know what it’s like to travel with a baby or a toddler, but there are fucking limits to what I’m prepared to put up with. I’d never give dirty looks to a parent with a screaming baby – you can’t reason with a baby, and a baby screaming throughout a whole flight is nothing to do with someone’s parenting skills. A toddler however, you can tell off. I am always aware of my son’s behaviour, and I have lost count of the times I’ve told him to stop kicking the back of the seat in front (because I have bloody awareness of what it must be like for the person sitting in it) or making lots of noise. This woman, who I increasingly wanted to maim and injure, had no fucking clue. Her obnoxious kid was treating the plane as a playground. Control your fucking kid! I’d never let Monkey behave like that – not in the past, not now and not in the future.

When I have been up since 2am, I’m not at my most harmonious. After exchanging glances with B, who was getting equally annoyed with Devil Woman and Devil Child, I turned around and asked her if she would mind asking her child to stop kicking my back. She first pretended not to understand English (completely deliberate, I’m sure of it, and I fought the urge to give her a piece of my very tired mind), so I switched to Swedish. Luckily it worked and she asked her Devil Child to stop.

Never mind. It was a great little trip, and once you accept that flying Ryan Air will drain you of your will to live, if it’s a last minute thing their prices are a snippet of the likes of BA and SAS, and what we paid for this trip including parking and car hire was an absolute bargain. And you get idiots on standard airlines too, it’s just that on Ryan Air it seems that it’s the preferred mode of transport for Fuckwits Extraordinaire.

Not us though, we’re obviously perfect – the exception that proves the rule.

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