I sit down and…
The airplane drops. It’s sudden. Sickening. Terrifying.
The seatbelt sign flashes on, and I hear passengers crying out and screaming, and then comes the pilot’s voice, calmly but firmly advising us to “return to your seats and fasten your seat belts. Flight attendants, secure the cabin. We just encountered clear air turbulence and we need you to remain seated until we’re past it.”
I remain seated – I have no choice. Somehow, in that terrible drop, I’ve become stuck where I sit:
On the toilet in the airplane bathroom.
This can’t be happening.
I shift from side to side, but I’m still trapped. I brace my hands on the seat, try to push myself up, and fail. My heart is pounding – I haven’t had this much exercise in years.
I look around, hoping for a sign with emergency instructions: How To Extract Yourself From The Toilet. No sign. Why not? They have signs for everything else: No Smoking; Fasten Seat Belt; Dispose Of Hand Towels Here, but nothing useful when I really need it.
The plane continues to bounce and shudder, people continue to cry out and – cry. Yes, I hear someone crying, someone praying – it’s terrible. It’s me. But the noise I’m most aware of is that annoying, nonstop hissing you always hear in airplane bathrooms. Will that be the last sound I hear in this lifetime?
Because I know we’re all going to die. But I’ll be the one what’s-his-name talks about on the CBS Evening News: “Among the victims was a woman, apparently stuck on the toilet in an airplane bathroom. We’ll have more on that tonight on CBS News at 11.”
And there will be my picture, pants down around my ankles, my posterior exposed for posterity.
I try, one more time, to push myself up and at that moment, the plane drops again. And – I’m free. I yank up my clothes, shove the door open, stumble down the aisle, fall into my seat and buckle up.
I am so grateful.
Because now, if we die, at least my bare ass won’t be on the 6 o’clock news.