Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scatophobe's Nightmare

(Post by Evan)

(My dad once told that there are really only two kinds of people in the world, those who find farts funny and those who don’t. If you don’t fall into the former category, please discontinue reading now.)

I have been a scatophobe for a long time. Perhaps it was all those years being forced to pick up the dog crap in the back yard, but whatever the reasons, I had one of the scariest encounters of my life on a recent flight to Salt Lake City.

Delta Airlines had put us in a bad mood with some extremely poor customer service at the onset of our flight. Liz and I ended up traveling separately, with me taking the two older kids on one flight while she took Luke (plus all the baggage) on another. We were separately angry and annoyed at the situation and were already on edge. Please join me now as I’m about 2 hours into the flight:

Wesley is tired and falls asleep on my lap. The captain turns on the fasten seat belt light for turbulence. I check the security of his seatbelt and continue reading my magazine. About 20 minutes later he wakes up moaning, in a daze. I immediately recognize his cry as "I have to pee, but I'm not awake enough to do anything about it." The turbulence had subsided and the crew is up front serving drinks, so I decide it is safe to make a run to the lavatory.

Wesley drops his pants to begin his business, and immediately the turbulence comes back with a vengeance. Part of me feels bad for the boy. Another part finds it mildly comical to see someone in a dazed state trying to maintain balance with an unstable floor beneath him. I snap back to reality with his desperate cry of frustration, since he is unable to find relief. I watch him strain to perform the task and then look down with disbelief as a huge log emerges from his backside. I can only stare with a sense of revulsion as I watch it fall end over end, first colliding with the waistband of his pants, then falling squarely between my feet.

When I finally realize what has happened, Wesley is now awake enough to be full-on crying. Still stunned, I attempt to pick him up and sit him on the toilet. The only problem is now the turbulence is so strong that it makes it nearly impossible set him down. And to complicate matters the turd on the floor is now on the move, and I am doing a macabre dance trying to avoid contact with my shoes.

With a bawling Wesley situated on the commode, I realize I have the task of poop disposal. My whole body shudders. Due to the cramped quarters of the lavatory, I am unable to bend over to perform the necessary service. So I am forced to open the door, back out into the aisle, and get down on my hands and knees to wrangle the offensive deposit. I reach up for some toilet paper and find myself at the end of the roll with just a couple of squares, enough to take care of the task at hand, but not enough to finish up the whole ordeal.

I have one of those surreal feelings, almost like I am on a hidden camera show, as I’m down on all fours being buffeted by the bouncing plane trying to pin down a rolling bundle of fecal matter that is leaving “skid marks” all over the lavatory floor every time it skitters from one side to the other. I ultimately corner my quarry and grab it oh-so-carefully. My stomach does a couple of 360s while delivering it to the toilet.

Wesley is holding on for dear life as the plane shakes. I grab the last of the paper towels to clean the residue from the floor. It’s all I can do to keep from decorating the floor with the contents of my own stomach. After completing that task and being compelled to do a maintenance hand wash, I attend to my half-asleep frightened, confused son. But where to start?

I survey the situation and it’s worse than I thought. Wesley’s underwear is caked with poop. Wesley needs to be wiped. There is no toilet paper, no Kleenex, and no paper towels left. There is now a flight attendant banging on the door asking me to return to our seats. I spy the toilet seat liners and begin to use them clean the underwear. It’s hopeless, though. I figure removal is the only option. Luckily the pants themselves are poop free so at least I won’t have to haul him out naked through the aisle.

I realize Wesley has no shoes on. Standing on the floor won’t be an option. After cleaning his bum with a couple more seat liners I pick him up with one arm and try to remove his pants with the other. Remember the plane is still shaking violently, so this is not an easy task, especially in the confines of an airplane lavatory. I finally manage to get the pants off and have him stand on the sink with his arm around my neck for stability. After extricating the unusable underwear I wrap them in a few more seat liners and then pull his pants back on.

A sense of relief hits me and I prepare to go back. A thorough cleansing of my hands is definitely in order. When I look down at my hands, a huge feeling of dread and fresh wave of nausea hits me as I discover that my hands and sleeve have a good coating of poop. I know it’s just poop, but remember I have an irrational fear of it! With Wesley still hanging on to my neck I exhaust the bottle of liquid soap and do my best impression of a pre-surgical scrub. Shaking off the water and rolling up my sleeve, I grab a fresh seat liner and make a sling for the previously-wrapped underwear. I take that package with my right hand and pick up Wesley in my left arm begin the journey back to my seat. I only have to go about 5 rows forward, but it’s a very delicate dance carrying a 40-lb child and dangling a toxic waste package with my free hand while navigating a narrow aisle that’s in the throes of pitching, yawing and rolling.

When I arrive at my row I temporarily stash the package in the seatback pocket and get Wesley situated. I wipe away his tears and buckle him in. He puts head in my lap and I stroke his head until he falls asleep. I finally take a relaxed breath. I try to purge the recent events from my mind. The shuddering feeling dissipates. I fall asleep, exhausted.

As we’re landing I stop and recount the incident to myself. With the trauma behind me I actually realize that this could have been a scene straight out of a slapstick comedy movie. I muster a smile thinking about how funny it would have looked from the outside. As we’re walking on the jetway into the airport I realize that I left a certain “surprise” in the seatback pocket. I feel bad for the employee who will find it, but remembering how Delta had treated us earlier, the feeling quickly goes away.


Misty said...

What a crappy flight (my apologies for the pun). Something to look forward to when we start potty training, I guess. I'm surprised you didn't just chuck the underwear in the garbage given the smell they were probably giving off in cabin. But it would seem that's the way to stick it to Delta.

Laura B. said...

Evan, this is hysterical. I haven't laughed this hard in a long time! Awful for you...hysterical for us!

tenacious d said...

Oh, you poor things! (said as I wipe away tears of laughter).

Chris and Annalee Waddell said...

Airborne poop and cars-of-flame, when will the script be ready?

Grandma Linda said...

Congrats for taking my advice and publishing this masterpiece. I still laughed out loud the second time I read it. And it brought back memories of a driveway on Knollhaven.

Ben said...

Hard to finish reading this through tears of laughter!

Anonymous said...

How the heck did our parents survive this too? Flying with kids is always a challenge, but this takes the cake. FYI I would change the kids name to protect the guilty until he has his own kids, when he will appreciate the humor of this absurd situation. PS do you remember to carry off your smelly package, or did some poor unsuspecting airline employee find it? I can only imagine some of the things they have encountered in seat back pockets......

Rhonda said...

Hey, I learned a new word today and had the laugh of a lifetime! Not shabby. Oh, and at least the specimin wasn't too MOIST. :)

LuAnn said...

Even after hearing this story when you got to our house, I am hysterically laughing on the floor while my children are staring at me. It really gets better the more I read it. I am sorry but you did bring a much needed round of laughter to my life!
Thanks Evan!

fcpninja said...

There's really only one thing to say:

"¡Santa Mierda!"


Cynthia said...

I'm pretty sure I'm going to hell now because I laughed- not figuratively but full-on belly laughing out loud. I guess I'm always good for a horrible poop story and yours is one of the worst I've ever heard.

I love this post- the drama, the suspense, the 'thank the Lord it wasn't us' feeling it generates. Liz must have been so glad to have missed that event. Poor Wesley- he'll never live this one down.

Greg would have puked everywhere. Seriously.

BallroomKim said...

Wow - love this story! It's one of those "sorry for the moment..but great story for posterity!" I guess I fall into the "farts are funny" category. At one of my husbands' work christmas parties a local comedian (really really great comedian!) proceeded to do a half hour joke-session on farts. I was rolling in the aisles, pulled a muscle in my side laughing so hard, humiliating my husband (who admits to laughing too).

Wendy/Blue Lily said...

awesome retelling of a horrifying moment. I laughed out loud! just hilarious, Evan! There is nothing better than a real, dramatic telling of a poop story.