Flying over I-95 N. Sometimes, you gotta go.


We are lifting off on flight #2395 heading back north.

I sneak a last peak at my smartphone, a text message from home:

It’s windy (very) here.  Expect a bumpy descent into NY. 

Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers comes to mind. Help! Thanks! Wow!  Thank YOU for the soothing send-off. My fingers are on the keys to fire back a rocket. I decide against it. What incredible restraint you have shown. And yet, so unlike you. I sit and ponder whether I’ve finally matured in Middle Age. Shake my head. An aberration from the mean. I’ll get the final word when I get home.

And, it’s choppy.

The beverage cart is rolled cautiously down the aisle. It is now a “beverage” cart. There are no longer any complimentary snacks on two and half hour flights. It is noted that the seats still recline, and they are complimentary as part of the ticket purchase.

I ask for a Diet Coke. It will dissolve a nail and here you are fueling your tank. She offers me the entire can. Just drink half.  Do it.  I slug it back, all of it, like a thirsty sailor. There are no napkins, those cost extra, so I wipe the spillage with my shirt sleeve. Class.

And, it’s choppy.

As the plane lurches up and down and left and right, the soda sloshes around. The Oxidation process is well under way, my intestines groan.  In my youth, my bowels could swell up like a dirigible and I would feel no discomfort – a light balloon drifting in a summer breeze. No longer. A whiff of dew and he’s a boogie-eyed meerkat on look out for the toilet.

And, it’s choppy.

Expect a bumpy descent into NY. We’re still one and half hours away.

There are core foundational principles with air travel. On the top of this list: “Avoid the Lavatory.” Unless you are ready to explode, don’t do it. Why do they call it a lavatory? Lavatory. It sounds like Def: A location where medical research is being conducted. But it is def: A room with a toilet and sink. AND LAYERS OF JUMPIN’ BACTERIA. The best outcome here is avoidance. Period. There is no close second.

And, it’s choppy.

Avoidance is now not an option. I stand in the galley area of the plane waiting my turn. I look up the long aisle way and watch and feel the plane tilt to and fro. Vertigo.  I reach for the handrail in the galley. And I wait. And I wait.

And, it’s choppy.

A teenager exits. (Note that it’s Spring Break.) I reach for the door handle, and pull instead of push.  I re-grip to find that the door handle is wet. It’s water. Yes. Water. Please.

I step inside. And take a quick inventory.

The toilet seat is up – and dripping wet. The sink – wet. The floor – glistening.  Yet, your optionality is limited.  Other options are bad options. Thankfully men have vertical options. I grab handfuls of towels to clean-up. There is no chance the person behind me is going to think I left this mess. I hit the flush button, and stand way back. Whoosh! The suction is so strong I’m worried it might pull me through the toilet and blow me out into the atmosphere.  I exit, relieved.

I walk back down the aisle to my seat. I look down. The soles of my shoes are sticking to the industrial grade carpeting. I note that my pant cuffs are too long.  Those two were sopping up matter in the Lavatory.  I take my seat. And sigh. An empty bladder, but needing a hot shower.

And, it’s choppy.

My seat mate at the window, is quiet, and bookish. He gets up to go to the Lavatory.

He returns.

I stand to let him pass.

As I let him pass, the plane hits an air pocket, sending him tumbling into me. I grab his arm to stabilize him.

So sorry.

No problem.

I take my seat.

I buckle up.

I look down at the front of my shirt.

A dark shadow, a wet hand and finger prints.

As for Vonnegut and for me:

And so it goes.



  1. Laughing, cringing, smiling. Eeeewing. I’m so glad that men comprehend their anointing as they take the vertical position. Safe travels, buddy – thanks for taking almost 9000 of us with you to the airplane lav with you. LOL!!! Love it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Don’t leave home without your Purell!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read with interest your comment, “There is no chance the person behind me is going to think I left this mess” and smile with recognition and understanding. Why do I seek approval of nameless, faceless strangers? Why do I feel the need to have the explanatory conversation in my head that goes something like, “I found it this way; I would never do this”?

    Another brilliant, thought provoking post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. mhuckabee1 says:

    Always remember that we are nothing but bags of water and bacteria. At the lowest level, the highest magnification, we are not pretty. The war wages at all times between the microbes that make us ourselves and those that would undo us for their own ends. As Nietzsche so elegantly said “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” (but I still avoid airplane bathrooms).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have become an expert with my feet and elbows. I feel like it’s the death walk when I have to use lav. Totally disgusting.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Flying back from the West Coast today and acutely reminded of all there is to anticipate…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Something was just determined to mess you up that day! Odd how we get days like that, where a related thing occurs several times – leaves you wondering! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hmm…I’m left wondering if you were adequately appreciative of having the vertical option. Btw, Diet Coke has been my preferred drink on short flights, but I’m considering a radical change to water…I can do with the belly fat I have. Oh, did I say, I loved your post?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve previously mentioned, that I am not well traveled. I understand that when I was ten days old I flew on a jet plane (so I don’t think it counts, never embarked on a flight ) – that must have been a trial for my Mom, traveling with four of her then five children. While my father and oldest brother drove with our worldly belongings.So I will take your word on air travel. I love your, honest, humorous, descriptive writing.& the reality of business travel . “AND LAYERS OF JUMPIN’ BACTERIA” (spr17) is correct don’t fly without some hand sanitizer. PRICELESS, DK Quotes “There are core foundational principles with air travel. On the top of this list: “Avoid the Lavatory.” …Avoidance is now not an option” “The soles of my shoes are sticking to the industrial grade carpeting” .And, it’s choppy….I hope that you experience Much Joy in the remainder of your day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Christie. I’m confident that when you were 10 days old, the flying experience was entirely different and more enjoyable than what we have today. I’m highly confident.


  10. Now that I’m over the fit of giggling this post elicited, I’m in full sympathy mode, pal. On our recent flight home from vacation, I realized “waiting it out”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Was not an option, and honest to God, I felt like I’d entered some sort of toxic waste zone. Sad…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. P.S. GREAT post, vintage DK…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “As the plane lurches up and down and left and right, the soda sloshes around. The Oxidation process is well under way,” so true about the oxidation process…I like to read/research about the mitochondria, cell signaling, cell death, what might retard the oxidation process, etc..

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My skin is crawling. A nice disinfectant hosing-down is in order.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “Was it choppy?” ha Somedays we are just better off staying in bed. Great writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Such a pungent reminder of the worst, the skin-crawling, skin-shrinking WORST of flying! mmm bucket loads of sanitizer.. All of which serves only to make the bacteria immune…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Christie says:

    I find my self coming back to this post. Today, I almost spit out my water as I was laughing so hard 🙂 Many a times I have exited a bathroom, an outhouse in total disgust with out having used those facilities – just couldn’t. // At an audition, recently after using a mic, I brought out the pocket size hand sanitizer just as a friend was glancing over, to my surprise he declined the offer. We have an inside joke running about pocket sized hand sanitizer. .// Technically, it did happen, I have flown but at 10 days old I do not count it as so. Oh, the self denial. 😉 I’ve heard that in the past, there was a slogan “Fly the Friendly Skies of United”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I was to be on a flight heading east next week, and for so many reasons I am eternally grateful I cancelled the trip. Your brilliant, and hilarious. and sooo real post serves as the icing on the cake DK! Fantastically done and it’s truly as if we were flying the friendly skies right along with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. “A whiff of dew and he’s a boogie-eyed meerkat on look out for the toilet.” – Lol!!!! It’s all really funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. random olio says:

    Oh how that has happened to me before. Ugh. And the bathrooms are so dang small, you barely have space to drop your pants.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Painfully funny. I totally get it. Public loos often feature in my nightmares. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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