In the next few days, I am going to embark upon something that no parent in the history of parenthood has looked forward to doing with their children. I will be taking my children on a plane for six hours. Fellow parents, I will give you a moment to give me the Katniss-in-The-Hunger-Games salute and I shall accept your silent support gratefully as I gird my loins for whatever happens. I think many, if not most, adults view children on planes, in one way or another, as punishment on par with something you would find in Dante's Inferno; probably somewhere between the writhing whirlwind of souls and the suicide forest. For those of us responsible for the wee ones on an aircraft, however, it's mostly torturous because of the millions of people who feel children don't belong on airplanes and will openly or passive-aggressively share their obnoxious opinion with you, making the trip even less pleasant than it already was(n't).
And herein lies the tragic comedy of the situation: A child has little to no control over their crying or emotional state (at the very least, they have less impulse control than an adult), whereas the obnoxious adult is actually making a choice to make someone else's life unpleasant.
These adults will talk about how they paid good money to fly and shouldn't have to put up with other people acting "entitled," all while ignoring how ridiculously entitled it is to expect a child-free environment in a public space.
All this is to say that even though we have special punishments set aside for children who disrupt social protocols, I just as often encounter adults acting like... well... children. Or jerks. Or jerky children. So my question is this: What can we do about these people? I propose we do what I do with my preschooler: We put them in time out. Here are some worthy offenses for which all adults not only deserve but need to be put in a time out.
Standing In The Middle Of An Escalator
Sure, maybe you think I'm an idiot for wanting to walk up the escalator. That's fine. I can bear the weight of your judging eyes as I ascend the moving stairs. What I cannot bear is you standing right in the middle so that no one can get past you. If you move to the left or right, literally everyone is happy. You don't have to move, I don't have to pointlessly wait around. Win-win. And this is obvious. So obvious that flouting this simply rule of practicality and courtesy earns you a time out.
Not the delightful drunken hijinks that happen before a football game. I mean following too closely to the car in front of you. OMG either pass or do the speed limit. You're creating a potentially dangerous situation that is going to screw you over more than anyone else, since you will probably be liable for the car you hit, but it's going to majorly inconvenience everyone. Three second rule, people! Am I the only one who remembered this from driver's ed? Time out!
Trying To Get Onto The Subway Before Everyone Has Had A Chance To Get Off
You might actually be the Devil. What are you even trying to do? And then you swear at other people like they're being rude? No. Stop. Get off the train and go right in time out.
(Yes, I realize this is a very New York-centric complaint, but it's that awful, and I'm also sure it happens to people in other cities with public transit.)
Posting Misogynistic/Racist Crap To Social Media
Either you are ignorant and don't realize what you're doing is hurtful and awful and you need a time out to be schooled on what you've done wrong, or you're a bigoted jerk who needs a time out because I can't even with you anymore.
When my 4-year-old gets pissy and tells me what I "have" to do, my eyes flash and I inform him that he is not the boss. If he continues his rude, mouthy behavior, he goes in time out. So you telling me to smile, me telling you to piss off, and you saying, "Whoa, beautiful! I was just being friendly. Hey! What's going on? Let's get to know each other," shouldn't end in the same result. Time out, one minute per year of age. Think about what you've done, jackass.
"I'm Just Telling It Like It Is..."
No. You're being an haughty S.O.B. and gaslighting me into thinking that if I counter what you're saying, I'm in denial. Time out. Maybe forever.
Trying To Sell You Something From Their Multi-Level Marketing Company When You've Already Told Them You're Not Interested
Like I said the first 12 times you messaged me after 5 years of radio-silence, I'm delighted that you've found financial independence and a life-changing product through your work with YoungJamWayRo or whatever, but I. am. not. interested. I am so uninterested that I am not going to sit you on the "naughty step" where you are not allowed to speak until I come over, explain what you've done wrong, and you apologize.
Not Offering A Pregnant Person Their Seat
I don't care what kind of day you've had. If you are an able-bodied human person, you give your seat to a preggo and march yourself to time out, where you will not be allowed to sit down, by the way. You will stand because you basically deserve a double punishment.
Take Two Donuts From The Break Room Before Everyone Else Got One
Those donuts are for everyone, JoAnn. There's no sign that says "Donuts for JoAnn." You are not the queen of the donuts, JoAnn. No one is. JoAnn, I need you to go in time out. Leave your donuts on the break room table. If you're lucky they'll be there when you get back. If not, let that be a lesson to you.
"It's about their health!" you whine. "I'm worried about them." No. You're not, and if you are, then you're not helping. You're running your mouth when it need not be run and you need to learn that this behavior is absolutely unacceptable. Go to the naughty step. DON'T TALK BACK TO ME, NAUGHTY STEP, NOW!
Touching Someone Without Permission
Whether you're rubbing a pregnant woman's belly or grabbing fistfuls of a black person's hair or patting a little person on the head, what you're doing is offensive, rubbish behavior and you need to be banished somewhere where you are forced to keep your hands to yourself.
When it comes to men condescending, patronizing, and often gaslighting women in order to make their point (the definition of mansplaining), there's not always a lot you can do to end the behavior, but at least in time out, you don't have to listen to them prattle on about Chuck Palahniuk.
Being Donald Trump
Less time out, really, and more "put in a space capsule launched into the far reaches of the galaxy, never to return."