Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's Automatic...

Are you one of those people who are always prepared?  You know what I mean:  Big bag o'snacks for even the tiniest road trip, never leave home without an umbrella, always travel with extra underwear.  Well, are you?  I am.


On a related note, I was never one perplexed by the folks aboard the S.S. Minnow.  Who on earth would have all that stuff with them for a three hour tour – who?  Me, that's who.


I always pack a crazy big bag of snacks and goodies for every trip.  I nearly brought an entire deli on board my last trip to South Carolina – talk about your in-flight cafĂ©!


I always keep an umbrella in my car – and I live in the desert.  Old habits die hard, I guess.


I always travel with extra underwear.  I don't know why, really; there was never an episode that launched this pattern of behavior.  Well, there was one incident back in kindergarten, but that's a different story – and I was five.  Nevertheless, even for an overnight stay, I always have extra panties packed safely away in a Ziploc bag. 


You may be wondering, why the Ziploc? But you're only wondering that if you are someone who is not always prepared.  See, the… let's call it the… emergency pair or EP if you will, the EP is always kept in the carry-on.  This way, if your luggage gets lost, you'll have, at the very least, some clean underwear for the next day.  On a normal trip the carry-on is usually filled with the aforementioned snacks, books, magazines, newspapers and miscellaneous electronic devices; not to mention travel documents, itinerary papers and, occasionally, a map – although Garmin is making this item unnecessary.  Anyway, who wants their EP floating around with all this stuff, unprotected?  Seems unsanitary – hence the Ziploc.  See, always prepared.


Now, for an overnight stay, one may travel with just a carry-on so, in addition to all of the above, now the bag also includes clothing and toiletries (only 3 oz. bottles, please).  This does not matter – the same rule applies: EP in a Ziploc.  Hey, you can't really call it a disorder unless you're obsessive and compulsive about it. 


Well, my behavior has not only been validated but, I'll go as far as to say, vindicated, as well.  See, over the years, even though the snacks are always eaten, and I have had occasion to pull out the umbrella, I've never really needed my EP – never, not once – until recently, that is.


I was traveling back from a hop-skip to California when I noticed there was a flight set to depart for Phoenix much earlier than the one I was scheduled on.  Could I make it – hmmm?  That's the thing about Southwest – they're so accommodating. I was rebooked – hooray!


I rushed down to the gate to see passengers already lining up.  Did I have time to go to the Ladies Room?  I really had to, so I made the mad dash.


I entered the narrow stall and put my pocket book and carry-on on the hook.  I haven't shared this with you before but, I'm not a sitter in a public restroom.  I squat.  Honestly, between this and my hiking, I could probably crack walnuts with my thighs!  Anyway, I pulled down my pants to find that I'd been greeted – unexpectedly, and prematurely – by my perimenopausal (mid 40s), irregular friend.  "Oh, you've got to be kidding me," I thought, when all of a sudden, it hit me, at long last, I could finally use the EP!


So picture this now.  I was standing between the bowl (gross, didn't want to touch it) and my bulky bags bulging off the door hook.  You've been in these stalls – I had a full 11 inches of space in which to make the change.  Time was a-wasting… I went for it!


First, I stepped out of my right sneaker, shimmied off my right pant leg, and stepped my right toe back into the open Ked.  Still on the ball of my right foot, I used that heel to remove the back of my left sneaker.  I then removed the left pant leg and stepped my left foot back into its open Ked.  I held my jeans under my chin while retrieving my EP from the carry-on that was nearly hitting me in the forehead, by the way.  With the Ziploc in hand, I crammed the jeans through the carry-on strap.  Now, while standing on the balls of my feet, I – one leg at a time – stepped out of the soiled panties, and hung on to them with my left pinkie.  I used my right hand, with an assist by my teeth, to open the Ziploc.  I then moved the Ziploc to my left hand and extracted the EP with my right pinkie.  Switching the bag back to my right hand, I dropped the soiled panties into the Ziploc and sealed.  I then shoved the Ziploc under my jeans and back into the carry-on.  Next, I slipped on the nice, clean, sanitary EP – one leg at a time, of course.  This was quickly followed by my jeans, which I pulled off the door and stepped into – also, one leg at a time.  I re-stepped, almost simultaneously – and with a bit of a shuffle – completely, and flat-footed, into my sneakers.  Raising one foot at a time, I did a balancing act while tying each shoe.


All the while the toilet's been flushing.  Pwish! Pwish! Pwish!  One flush right after the other. Pwish! Pwish! Pwish!  Splashing water continuously. Pwish! Pwish! Pwish!  My guess is it flushed 27 times before I hoisted my carry-on onto my shoulder and whipped my pocket book off the hook. 


And you thought this was a story about being prepared.  Those automatic flushers are a huge waste of water – they never work correctly.  I'll spare you the story of how I had to Hand-Jive just to make the sink work!  Thankfully, the paper towel dispenser was manual.  I pulled out a sheet, dried my hands and hustled back to the gate just in time to board.  I exhaled deeply as I took my seat.


I had been prepared.  You know, when something's been years in the making, the satisfaction you get when it finally pays off is automatic.  


Pleased as punch,

 ~ M.