Tag Archives: mean old men

The Mile High Snub

27 May

Planes, elevators and port-a-potties probably top the list of what get my neurotic juices flowing.  My husband, who loves to laugh at me, enjoys flying with me because the face I make during turbulence trumps all my other idiosyncrasies. He even has a name for it: ‘the monkey face.’  Oh, and it comes with complimentary monkey noises too.  Very attractive.  The antidote for the monkey syndrome came when our daughter was born.  Babies know when you’re faking it, so when she was four months old and we took our first flight as mommy and baby, I had to replace ‘monkey face’ with ‘game face.’

My in-laws flew me up while my husband was away at work, and being alone with our baby girl Phoebe meant I would have no back-up in the event “the monkey” made an inadvertent appearance.  Thankfully, flying with a little one who is still nursing brings a set of challenges that completely distracted me from my usual preoccupation with falling out of the sky in a ball of fire.  Fear was quickly replaced by an apologetic air while Phoebe screamed, and then an even more apologetic air while I stuck her head under my shirt so she would stop.  I lay a blanket over my shirt to shield the spectacle and relaxed while she enjoyed a snack that would fill her tummy and pop her ears.

To say the man in the seat next to me was “visibly uncomfortable” is the understatement of the century.  He had eyed me earlier as I made my way down the aisle toward his row with all the joy of someone anticipating root canal.   He recoiled from my aisle seat and hunched so far into the fuselage wall and window that I thought he might actually have a parachute strapped to his back.

Just in case I wasn’t picking up the vibe, he proceeded to ring the flight attendant bell and ask if there were any free seats, “… any at all anywhere else on the plane.”

“I’m sorry,” the female attendant said without sympathy, “It’s a full flight today.”

When the attendant was out of sight, I addressed the man who was now unsuccessfully feigning sleep with a scowl on his face.

“Listen, I’m not going to apologize for feeding my daughter.  You either deal with the most natural thing in the world or deal with a baby screaming in your ear.”

And then the turbulence hit.  I could feel the monkey coming on.  The monkey who was stopped dead in his tracks by the sound of my precious baby farting and crapping so loudly it could be heard over the steady roar of a 737.

Ah the sweet sounds and smells of comic relief.  I didn’t even care that the plane was being tossed about like one of my daughter’s toys.  After about fifteen minutes of baby grunts, and the unmistakable sound of a diaper filling up, Mr. Uncomfortable felt compelled to actually speak to me.

“You should take care of that.” He eyed my daughter like she was a Hefty bag that needed to be taken to the curb.  The new mother in me resisted the urge to slap the hostile look right off his face.

But he had a point. She stank.

The thought of changing her diaper at 37,000 feet in a cramped space the size of a genie’s bottle that doubled as an international germ factory was bringing on a round of anxiety that threatened to dash my calm veneer.  I had been so good.  No monkey noises.  Phoebe wasn’t picking up on my fear because I’d kept it in check.  Taking her to that closet with a vacuum that posed as a toilet just wasn’t an option.

And then I took a deep breath in an attempt to shore myself up for the task, but inhaling just shored up my gag reflex.  At a mere four months, my daughter had managed to produce a stench that could rival the dumps on Staten Island. (FYI for the non-New Yorkers- those suckers can be seen from space.)  Sour milk and garbage.  This is what she had created.  My urge to hurl subsided considerably and my baby was content in the way one can only be after a great meal and a spectacular shit.  I held her in my lap and debated whether stripping her down in an airplane toilet while the plane was still bucking against a headwind was the best option.

As Mr. Uncomfortable had no emotional attachment to the source, he couldn’t suppress his gag reflex and he retched several times before issuing a reminder.

“Take care of that.  Now.”

I usually play well with others.  I swear.  But this was war.

“Sure thing,” I said, syrupy sweet.

Cradling my daughter in the arm nearest the aisle, I reached into the diaper bag to pull out a diaper and baby wipes, then began unbuttoning my daughter’s pajamas.

“You aren’t going to change her right here are you?” Mr. Uncomfortable’s eyes were enormous.

“It’s not safe to get up during this kind of turbulence with a baby.  And we’ve already started our descent into LaGuardia.”

He studied me to see if I was bluffing.  I wasn’t.  I had changed this kid on my lap, on sidewalks, on backseats.  I gave him my best “try me” look and finished unbuttoning Phoebe’s pajamas.  Without that extra barrier of clothing the shit was intense.  Mr. Uncomfortable gagged while I smiled and handed him an air sickness bag which he snatched from my hand.

“Should I just wait until we land?”  I offered.

He nodded.

The captain came over the cabin speakers.

“There’s a little bit of a backup at LaGuardia tonight due to high winds.  We’re going to have to circle around for awhile until we get clearance for landing.  We’ll have you on the ground in about thirty minutes.”

For thirty minutes I bounced Phoebe in my lap and sang to her while she smiled and continued to reek of sour milk and garbage.

Mr. Uncomfortable just clung to his air sickness bag, staring at the back of the seat in front of him and enduring the longest thirty minutes of his life.

Ah……Karma.

It’s a Crappy Job, but…

19 Oct



I take my daughter to a beautiful children’s garden in Columbia, South Carolina. It is an idyllic piece of land on a hilltop overlooking a lake. Butterflies flit about, bumblebees buzz from flower to flower, birds sing from pine trees and swoop from feeder to feeder. We love everything about the garden, except the facilities. There are two port-a-potties. Those are the facilities. The garden’s proximity to a major shopping district makes it the perfect place for my two-year-old to blow off steam after a morning of errands. The downside is that after a morning of errands and a lunch at Moe’s Tex-Mex, the toddler pipes are usually ready to dispatch something that for some reason couldn’t manifest itself in the immaculate restrooms of Target just thirty minutes before.

I’ve been frequenting the children’s garden since I was pregnant. Never in those three years have I seen the honey pot service that empties the port-a-potties. Until last week. My daughter, Phoebe, had just informed me that she had to pee and she couldn’t hold it much longer.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart. You can go in the port-a-potty here at the garden.”

As soon as I uttered, “garden,” a noisy truck rounded the bend behind us and cut across the grass to where the port-a-potties stand sentinel near some large shrubs.

“What is that Mommy?” asked Phoebe.

“Oh, no! That’s the truck that sucks the poopy and pee pee out of the toilets. If we hurry we can get to the potty and ask the nice man if we can go pee pee before he cleans it.”

Why I assumed that a man whose sole employment consists of toting around an enormous vacuum cleaner for strangers’ shit would be nice, I can’t tell you. What I can tell you is that he seemed intensely bitter about his lot in life. Phoebe and I were dashing towards the port-a-potties when his glare stopped up in our tracks.

“ ’scuse me, I need to pee pee,” my daughter offered meekly, doing the proverbial ‘gotta-go’ dance.

“Sir, we would really appreciate it if we could use the bathroom before you clean it. She’s two and, well you know how that is. I don’t know how long she can hold it.”

He looked right at me, hard lines around his eyes squinting with disapproval. The man was only three feet from us. He had to have heard us. He looked at my dancing toddler who was holding her crotch; he looked at me. He made a decision. He turned his back to us and grabbed the crap-encrusted nozzle of the shit sucker and thrust it into the first port-a-potty and planted himself between the first and second port-a-potty so no one could access either ‘facility.’

“Mommy, I really have to go.”

“I know sweetheart. Maybe it won’t take too long. Excuse me, sir? How long before we could use the toilet?” His reply was to take the hose out of one shit pot and plug it into the other, stare at me menacingly, then turn his back again to grab a bucket of chemicals from the truck which he proceeded to chuck into the first port-a-potty, presumably to disinfect its floor.

“He’s not listening to us,” Phoebe pleaded.

“No, Phoebe,” I said loudly for his benefit. “He’s not. So, you know what?” You can go right here.” I yanked her pants down while returning the glare of the disgruntled honey pot dumper. She squatted while I supported her, making a wide puddle of piss that trailed off in a winding yellow river that stopped just short of the angry man’s boot.

“Ahhhh,” said Phoebe, relieved. “You know Mommy sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Not everyone is nice.”

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