I’m retired, so I don’t have to fly as much as I used to. But when I finally get on to an airplane nowadays, it is as though I am on my way to work out in a gym.
I stood behind a man with a long, braided beard, a ponytail, flip-flops, Laker basketball shorts, a tank top and a child in a rucksack on his back. He also had several ounces of beer settled right behind his belly button. His wife had crew-cut blond hair, and was carrying enough stuff to send their kid to summer camp for three years.
I had requested my usual seat by an exit to have room to stretch my legs. On the other side of the exit was a bathroom. In front of it were two people slowly mopping up water that was rapidly seeping out from under the door.
In very poor English, one of the cleaning ladies who was trying to mop up the water kept saying, “it is coming out faster than I can mop it up.”
After five minutes of this her partner said, “Let’s get a vacuum and suck it up. It can’t leak out faster than that.”
Five minutes of vacuuming, it was still pouring out when the co-pilot came back and very wisely said, “let’s get a repairman and fix it before we take off.”
I assumed it was a leaking toilet because whenever a stewardess walked down the aisle the water that squished up around her shoes was blue.
Finally a mechanic showed up with his microphone on his shoulder, his radio on his belt, an earphone in his right ear and 43 different screwdrivers and pliers sticking out of a king-sized tool belt that weighed so much it had to be held up with a pair of double-wide suspenders.
He stared at the wet floor and then said, “This is a cinch to fix.” Turning to the head flight attendant he said, “Anyone got a pencil and paper and a little Scotch tape? I’ll have this fixed in a moment.” When the pencil, paper, and Scotch tape arrived he wrote, ‘OUT OF ORDER,’ and Scotch-taped the note to the bathroom door.
This prompted me to ask the flight attendant, “What happens when the plane takes off? Won’t all of that blue water drip down through the floor where some rivets just might be loose and get my luggage all blue and wet?”
“Our floors don’t leak” the stewardess informed me. “Besides this plane has to make connections in our Denver hub.”
My response was to gather up my gear and try and get off of the plane. It turned out that it is a federal offense to try and get off of a commercial airplane while it is in motion. My heart was in my mouth when we started down the runway and began to climb.
I had put two pillows down on the floor to divert the eventual flow of blue water that would come gushing out of the bathroom. Very soon there was enough blue water flowing down the aisle to flow clear to the back of the plane.
The stewardess wanted my name so she could report me for damaging the two pillows with the blue water. I was just about to say what I thought about the blue flood when Captain Courageous showed up. He wore a white shirt, with just the right number of stripes on his shoulders, the right hat with the gold braid on it and the seven ID badges hanging from his shirt pocket.
I considered a flooded cabin an emergency, but apparently he didn’t. He was very upset because the center of gravity of the airplane had shifted on takeoff when 73 gallons of blue toilet flush flowed toward the tail. Seventy-three gallons, times eight pounds to the gallon, times 85 feet, is more than 4,000-foot pounds of weight making the tail of the plane sag just a little bit.
When I got off of the plane in Denver I had to stop in the men’s room where I felt a little silly standing at the wash basin in my stockings washing the blue toilet water off of my brand new pair of white Nikes.
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