Our flight back from Hawaii was the mirror image of our flight in, First Class on Alaska, direct to San Diego. This flight was in the evening though, which clearly catered to a different set of travelers. We were younger than everyone else in our cabin by at least two-thirds, including the flight attendant.
They passed out “digiplayers” – little video players – to the passengers, and most accepted. I passed on one since I had aspirations of getting some work done on the flight.
Colonel Sanders and George Costanza’s mom were sitting across the aisle from us. The Colonel was very softspoken, and Mrs. Costanza was extremely hard of hearing, and now she had noise-cancelling headphones on. These two were quite a pair.
Mrs. Costanza: “DO YOU REMEMBER THAT MOVIE, PSYCHO?”
The Colonel: “stop shouting. do you realize you’re shouting?”
Mrs. Costanza: “WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU”
The Colonel: “you don’t need to shout, we can all hear you just fine”
Unlike our flight out, they waited to serve dinner until about an hour after takeoff. I wrote for a while, until the flight attendant started bringing out trays with dinner salads. I had to put my laptop away hastily as she brought my tray. Dang, I thought. I wish I’d used the lavatory. Oh well, dinner won’t take long.
Famous last words.
I have trouble critiquing airplane food, because in coach it’s nonexistent, and in first class, it’s so much better than what they serve in coach, that really it’s all great. Truthfully, it wasn’t, but for eating in a hundred-foot-long aluminum tube at 500mph and 35,000 feet, it was amazing.
The second course shuffled out of the galley while I strained to will the attendant to go faster.
“WILL YOU TELL HER I CHANGED MY MIND? I WOULD RATHER HAVE THE CHICKEN”
“you’re shouting. you don’t need to shout.”
The dessert course practically osmosed its way to my tray. I was dying. The flight attendant was taking so much time, blocking the aisle with the cart, so I just bode my time. Eventually an opportunity would open and I would strike.
The flight attendant began clearing trays from the front. I thought okay, here comes my opportu— oh crap. The man in the first row got up and headed to the lavatory. Minutes passed. He came back out, and began to flirt with the flight attendant, blocking the aisle.
For what seemed like the entire history of the universe he chatted with the attendant, his wife’s nose buried in a book. Finally, he made his way back to his seat, but not before the other man in the front row got up.
He stopped to flirt before he went in, and after he came back out.
Okay, here’s my chance I thought
“CAN I GET OUT? I NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM”
“honey, you’re shouting.”
I couldn’t bring myself to cut off Mrs. Costanza, so I waited. She had a hard time getting out of her seat, and had to hold on to seats and walls as she slowly made her way forward.
After a very long time, she came out and made her way back. The Colonel got up to help her back in to her seat.
“DO YOU NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM? YOU SHOULD GO USE THE BATHROOM.”
“absolutely. just don’t shout so much, we can all hear you just fine.”
The Colonel was already standing in the aisle, blocking my way even if I wanted to cut in front of him. I let him go on, while I took shallow breaths and shifted uncomfortably in my seat, trying not to be cranky.
When the Colonel came out, he also stopped to flirt with the flight attendant, but I was ready. With ninja-like reflexes, I flicked open my seatbelt buckle and jumped out of my seat. Two other folks behind me had the same idea, but they hesitated and missed their opportunity. I scooted between the Colonel and the flight attendant and ducked into the lavatory. I closed the door (which turned on the light) and turned around.
The lid was up, the seat was up, and somebody had had terrible aim.
I cursed aloud as I thought Ugh! Who stands up on an airplane?!?!?
So please, if you ever find yourself on a flight full of octogenarians coming back from Hawaii, remember that the men will all pee standing up and waste precious time flirting. Plan your lavatory trips accordingly!