We were seated in first class on our flight from Atlanta to Newark on our way to Portugal. The boys were ecstatic and I took (undeserved) credit for the situation because I had spent a lot of time chatting up the Delta agent as we both tried to make sure that our family and our bags would end up in Lisbon.
From then on the boys were convinced that all it would take to escape the confines of coach class was a smile and a wink from me, and when we checked in at the Lisbon airport yesterday they hollered, “Get us seats in first class, Mom! We want to sit in first class!”
I just might have been able to do it, too. The Portuguese loved the boys’ light hair, and the whole family was reasonably clean, or at least we weren’t smelling overtly like clams. Finn’s snarl had temporarily disappeared, I’d put on a swipe of lipstick and Bill was his usual hot self. Drew and Porter happened to be wearing matching pants, and were walking through the airport and reading at the same time, looking like studious little princes. I imagined that someone could have mistaken us for a cultured European family returning to London after a Lisbon sojourn. I smiled with pride as I presented our passports at the airline counter.
The ticketing and check-in process was lengthy, and I had a number of documents to keep track of. As I looked for a missing ticket, the agent began to frown and look at the baggage scales where our suitcases were. The twins were standing on top of the suitcases engaged in what I can only describe as redneck repartee:
Drew: Guess what?
Drew: Chicken butt!
I looked behind me; Finn was staring into space with his mouth hanging open, listening to his iPod. Bill was leaning against a column surrounded by all the boys’ backpacks, reading 1776, oblivious to his offspring’s antics. (This should be interpreted as unequivocal praise for the book. Bill has little patience for long books or poultry jokes.)
Meanwhile, the guys continued.
Porter: Okay, now my turn. Guess who.
Porter: Chicken poo!
Drew laughed so hard his face got red and he started coughing.
“I’m sorry,” I said to the agent. “Perdao,” I said, while I swatted the twins off the baggage and sent them back to Bill.
We sat at the very back of the plane.