Friday, June 10, 2005

WTF with the WC on the 747?

Right now I am on a flight to LAX for business. I just returned to my seat after making my post-beverage-cart trip to the lavatory (whereupon I remind you that tampering with or disabling smoke alarms is against federal regulations). One of the lavs was out of order, which left only one functioning. I was waiting behind a thirtysomething guy who offered to let me go first, which I found on its face to be quite lovely. However, the person who was currently occupying the lavatory was quickly approaching that time duration that creates discomfort among those waiting. You know what I mean: it’s like that 30-45 seconds beyond what a basic pee—even a long one—should take. It’s the extra time that tells you that the person is either ill or simply taking a very large dump in a very small toilet. Meaning that in either scenario, you just don’t want to be next in line.

So I said just that to the lovely guy: “Oh you are so sweet, but I’ve got to tell you that I’m not so sure I want to be the next one in since it’s taking so long.” The guy started laughing and said that he was thinking the same thing, which is why he offered me the option of preceding him in lavatory matters. I told him “nothin’ doin, Mr. Chivalrous.” And, don’t you know that even as we were having this discussion, Man #1 (or should we say #2?!!) was STILL in the lav. Gross!

As the line moved and I navigated the emanating effluence, I finally got to return to my seat as I wondered: who are the people who wait till they are on a plane to poop? We’ve only been in the air about an hour! Surely you felt it brewing while we were in the airport! Why not go then? Why wait till you are in a 2x2 water closet hurtling through the atmosphere at 500 miles an hour to relieve yourself? Why not get yourself the latest US Weekly and head for the furthermost stall at Dulles and take your sweet time? For heaven’s sake!

Maybe it’s a guy thing. I don’t know any of my female friends who view a poop as an opportunity to read Foreign Affairs or back issues of Architectural Digest. Mostly, we see is as a human function to be dispensed with as necessary. The men in my life, conversely, seem to view it in one—or more—of several ways: an act of life affirmation--“man! That was awesome!,” a confirmation that their health is good—“that was a colon cleanser!,” perhaps a brief oasis of quiet in an otherwise overbooked day—“I’ll help you as soon as I finish in the bathroom,” or perhaps, truly, a chance to catch up on reading. All of these are valid and wonderful reasons to Love The Poop. But WHY would you want to experience them in an airplane lavatory?

Perhaps the mechanics of pooping are different for men and women, i.e, I can pretty much tell when I have to go. I doesn’t surprise me or sneak up on me (barring illness of course), and I am perfectly adroit at having them have minimal impact on my life schedule. For men, I’m not so sure. In high school, all three of us drove in my brother’s car to school (a ’76 Caddie, baby! We was Big Pimpin!). Unfortunately, I was late more times than I care to remember simply because my brother would all of a sudden have to go to the bathroom 5 minutes before we had to leave to make it on time. What’s more, he took total delight in coming up with some new weekly nomenclature for what was about to occur: “I gotta go lay some cable,” “I gotta cut off a tail..” dear lord I could go on and on but it will only encourage him if he reads this. All of the men in my life are the same. How do they all of a sudden have to poop with seemingly no prior warning? Can’t men sense the signs of poopal percolation before ending up late for work/dinner/class?

If anyone has any insight (gentlemen!), I’d love to hear it.

In the meantime I am avoiding all further refreshments and beverages in order to forestall a round trip visit to The Lone Lav in Service for One Hundred Passengers. Bleeaaah!


kingoftherabbits said...

It's not just men; young females (like my 9-year-old daughter) don't seem to feel it coming on either. She manages to need to go right as we're going to be late for school. Although there's clearly some psychology involved here, I can understand her preference -- who wants to poop at school, especially since they still give you those teeny squares of nonabsorbent paper that come out of the little metal box, obviously put there to dissuade America's youth from having to go during class. Still, a girl's gotta go when she's gotta go. And when she doesn't, and Mom has to, if she's cute (which mine is), she's the entry into any restaurant's bathroom in NYC. Oh, and she may as well go to while she's there.

This also reminds me of a bathroom story on the flight to Egypt earlier this spring, but my comment is already too long.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those guys who gets a lot of satisfaction from my bowel movements. I don't think it would matter where I was, be it on a plane or train or greyhound bus. When you've got to go, you've got to go.

Reverend Raheen M. Shabbazz said...

Ah, yes, the "Emergency Poop". Also known as "The Purge". It one of life's finer moments.

I find that it happens to me after eating; especially fast food. This is one of the many reasons why I don't eat fast food any more ("fast food" being burger joints -- deli shops like Subway don't tear me up nearly as badly).

I'm not so sure if it's a "guy thing" or if it's strictly a matter of diet. My money is on the latter.

It doesn't matter where you are -- when it hits, you've got to go. NOW!

Anonymous said...

I've gotta agree with the Rev on this one. I am a 36 year old female and have spent most of my life being surprised by the urge until fairly recently. Decreasing meat and increasing fiber in my diet has led to a REAL surprise for me: regular bowel movements! Hallelujah!

Watch what you eat people. :)