After a 10-year drought of flying the friendly skies, my daughter and I are preparing for takeoff.

She was almost 5 the last time we flew. We went to Disney World and back. It was a simpler time, then. Flight crews didn’t have to argue quite so much with passengers about turning off phones, putting on masks and whether trays were in the locked and upright position. As I recall, the airline announced the rules and we all just followed them.

In the weeks leading up to this week’s flight, I’ve been seeing news stories and videos about passengers who refuse to follow basic rules and instructions. The resulting altercations often seem to end only after the pilot threatens to “turn this plane around,” and eventually makes an emergency landing so the offender can be forcibly removed.

I don’t get it. If I live to be 100, I still will not understand it. Sure, I’ve met my fair share of people with oppositional defiance disorder. We all know people who like to argue just for the sake of arguing. But it seems like a bad idea at 30,000 feet.

Even though I know I should stop watching these videos, I can’t. Often I will zoom through the confrontation to get to the end, because that’s the best part: the walk of shame. As soon as air marshals board the plane and “escort” an unruly passenger down the aisle, I wait for the crowd’s reaction. The sound of the long-suffering fellow passengers cheering and applauding is music to my ears.

“Bye-ee,” they sometimes say, recording the moment for posterity. Meanwhile, the rabid rebel is frothing and cursing as he or she is carted away, often in handcuffs.

These videos used to be mindless entertainment because I wasn’t going anywhere. But now I wonder if it’s about to get real. What might my teen and I witness? Naturally, my imagination has been running wild.

I’m hoping our short flight will be uneventful. The last thing I want is excitement while getting from Point A to Point B. I’ve always felt getting there is not half the fun. If I had my way, I’d don headphones and a sleep mask, pull down the window shade and snooze my way through every flight.

That’s never been an option, because my husband is a nervous flyer and I am his emotional support animal.

That means as soon as his knee starts to bounce and he looks around shiftily or licks his lips, I know I have to lend a hand. In the past, I’ve offered him a snack, movie, magazine or Dramamine. Usually, he’ll have none of it. He wants to be on high alert in case something goes wrong and he needs to spring into action.

My Tim spends most of the flight looking out the window and saying things like, “We’ve been in the clouds a long time. I think it’s been too long.” I assure him the pilot knows what they’re doing, and that he should relax and let them fly the plane.

The one time I did get him to take a Dramamine, it didn’t end very well. We were coming back from Europe and were exhausted. I argued we had a good six hours to sleep and should take advantage of it.

So we each took a pill, and soon I was out cold with my head against the window. At one point, I heard some in-flight announcements through the haze of delicious sleep. It was something about connecting flights, cutting it close, blah blah blah. I paid no attention. Tim also was sound asleep.

Once we landed, everyone around us seemed to be in a big hurry to deplane. The air stewards were announcing gate assignments for connections and telling us which flights were being held for us. Yes, they actually were delaying the departure of some of our connections, knowing we were running late. I was stunned.

We grabbed our bags and raced through the airport to our connection. When we arrived at the gate, the crew was closing the door. I held out our boarding passes and we were whisked through in record time. I was jubilant.

“That was awesome!” I grinned as we descended the ramp. “Can you believe it?”

My husband looked grim. He already had his eye on the tarmac where a busload of furious passengers were waiting. The little transport vehicle was hot, airless and crowded as we climbed aboard. We immediately were met with open hostility from the others.

“Glad you could make it,” someone said sarcastically. I was taken aback.

“It’s about time,” another snapped. We ignored it.

My eyes met Tim’s and he looked away. “We didn’t ask them to hold the flight,” I grumbled, loud enough for them to hear. I wanted to add, “But I’m glad they did,” but decided not to start a riot.

“About time,” someone said.

“That’s a repeat,” I said to my husband. “Unoriginal.”

Tim cleared his throat, as if to make an announcement. But instead, he stepped on my toe to quiet me. Typical.

“I feel faint…” said an old woman standing in the back.

“Here, take my seat,” one person insisted, while another offered her a bottle of water.

Great, now we were on “Survivor.” We felt awful. The dirty looks and whispers eventually gave way to awkward silence as we rattled across the tarmac and finally boarded the plane. After what felt like an eternity, I dropped into my seat, stowed my carry-on bag and sank as low as I could go.

Tim slid into the seat next to me and fastened his seat belt.

“Just keep a low profile,” he advised, ducking his head.

“That’s them,” a man said, nodding in our direction. “They’re the ones.”

I’d never felt like such a pariah in my life. Here we were, just returning to American soil and so happy to be home, and this is how we were treated?

At that moment, a miracle happened. About six rows ahead of us a baby started to wail, and every head turned from us to the fussy newborn. We were officially off the hook.

And the beat goes on.

Kris Ferrazza is a former reporter, assistant editor, copy editor and columnist with the Courier newspapers. She lives in Waldoboro.