Sun Ra - Column for 7/23

Slash Fiction

I recently flew from London to Los Angeles, the long leg of a trip back from Spain. It was, as you are doubtless aware, a very long flight, and although I am a man of great bladder control, several hours into the flight I found myself needing to use the lavatory (and there's a pretentious way to say toilet, eh?). As I mentioned, my control is legendary (Just an expression. I mean, that's not the thing one would want to go down in history for, is it?), so I waited until the drinks cart had just passed, thereby having it run interference for me, and snuck unopposed into one of the little WCs.

At this point, I really had to go, and the first thing I noticed within the restroom is that, in keeping with modern airplane design philosophy, the toilet had obviously been built for beings much, much smaller than humans. Had I been wearing shin guards, they might have gotten hung up on the lip of the bowl. Inasmuch as the plane was encountering turbulence (another hoity-toity airline word. "Turbulence". You never encounter "turbulence" in any other form of transportation. I guess "air bumps" was too frightening, or maybe too silly. I think they should just say "well, folks, looks like the sky is going to fuck around with us for a bit, so I have lit the fasten seat belt light, and recommend that those of you near the drink cart choose something alcoholic. I know I have.") Where was I. Ah - as we were encountering some pretty sizable air bumps, I was a bit leery of urinating across a distance where relativistic effects would come into play. By the time my urine crossed the vast gulf from my willy to the bowl, the bowl would have moved relative to my willy, and the urine could quite feasibly wind up on, say, my trousers. Which would have left me in the same state I would have been in had I not gotten up to visit the head in the first place.

Then I notice that the sink, on the other hand, is placed merely inches below said willy. Much safer.

However, I opted for the less risky but more considerate route of using the actual urine recepticle, and the airplane did not hit any bumps as I did so, so everything worked out fine. And here's a thing about airline toilets. They fill. Regular toilets do to some extent, but generally the internal workings tend to level off the in-bowl volume. Airplane toilets, which do not have regular-style plumbing, don't level off - they just fill up. For a minute, the level inside the bowl stays about the same, but then it begins to rise. And as I mentioned, I was in serious need of a slash, and by the time I had finished, there was a serious amount of fluid in that bowl. Frankly, I wasn't sure where it had all come from. Surely my bladder, mighty as it is, hadn't held all that. I was impressed. Unfortunately, that's not the sort of thing one can really show off to the general public (something we all discover as two year-olds), so I contented myself with a "Day-amn!", then flushed, washed my hands, and was on my way.

It's interesting, isn't it, how one's need to pee is really only roughly in proportion to the amount one pees? Sometimes, one's back teeth are floating (and if you don't know that feeling, you've never really needed to pee. It's not just a weird metaphor. Your molars start to ache.) and one finally rushes into a restroom, only to have a very normal peeing experience. But sometimes, you walk into the john, disengage "flow control", and pee for hours.

Which is usually rather odd. There is a certain length of time, more or less, that you expect to spend peeing. During one of these instances, you are standing there (well, if you are a guy), and you reach the end of that period, only to find that you're still going strong. And going. And going. Pretty soon it starts to taper, but not in the usual "okay, done - now sprinkle" way, but rather in a long, drawn-out slowing down. Of course, now you are into it, so you just wait, wondering what sort of personal record you may have just set, until finally you hit the dribbles, and you can finish off.

If you are lucky, it was a public restroom, and there were a few other folks around, allowing you that warm "that's right. When I do business, I do business" feeling as you wash up.

But you can never tell ahead of time. And, let's face it, if you bring a stopwatch (or god forbid some sort of beaker) each time you go, you are a freak. So don't try and hold it or anything, or even thing about it too much. Just enjoy those odd moments when you find yourself willying up to the urinal and shaming a racehorse. Don't nod, don't smile, just know that the guy who walked in while you were peeing, peed, washed his hands, and left while you were still peeing is impressed.