The big joke when you fly and are from or have been to Seattle is 'how can you tell the flight going to Seattle' - the punch line is something along the lines of 'it's got the big pile of people who likely haven't groomed since they left Seattle a week ago'.
It's mostly true.
I think that many Seattleites look to the painting of the Last Supper for their grooming and fashion guidance. Lots of fleece, wool, sandal/sock combo combined with a smattering of piercings (that generally look as if they said 'just pierce my face somewhere') and beards - this includes both men and women.
I was in Seattle for 3 days and am now headed home. I for a moment felt like the joke was now applying to my flight - sandals, scruffy looks and some long hair - but there's a guy in row 24, Seat B who takes the cake for the 'look' to envy. It's a Ecko something warm up jacket, matching basketball shorts, short white running/tennis socks and black suede penny loafers. He's white and maybe 30. The shoes took it to a new level. Black suede penny loafers and white socks.
I'm now learning a lesson - why no one sits in the last row by personal choice.
I'm in Seat 27 D - the 2nd smelliest and least pleasant place to be on a plane - only losing out by alphabetical sort order to Seat 27 C. D as in dump, C as in crappy.
That's right - the toilets are right behind me. Like less than a foot.
The flight took off nicely - until we pass maybe 3,000 feet and a lady comes flying down the aisle and stands at the bathroom door. The flight attendants aren't even out of their jump seats. The bathroom door is locked and the lady demands in. It's explained to her that it's a bad idea but she can go in but only at her own peril. I think the plane it tipping up around 15% - I consider doing hill repeats right now up the steep slope to first class and back.
Well, this lady out of her seat opens the proverbial floodgates for what the tolerance is for allowing the other eager beavers on board their turn on the 400mph commode.
Now stands an older, like 300 BC old, Chinese lady in full Chinese costume. She's maybe 5' tall and had her feet bound in silk - cute as could be and apparently fan of the bean buns in her neighborhood. It's ok, she'll probably outlive me.
So she has to go but doesn't apparently understand a lick of the English warning she's getting about the fasten seatbelt being on and that she can't use the lavatory.
Note: if you have to go, just pretend you don't understand English and they'll give up pretty quickly.
Now comes her companion, a near mirror image of the first. Just different footwear. She's the start of the lav line.
We still haven't crossed 10,000 feet at this point.
A few minutes later....
We pass through 10,000 - the first lady, the one with the just-past-take-off emergency loo run - peeks her head out and tells the 2nd Chinese lady who doesn't seem to be understanding English and says 'you might not want to go in here'. This alarms the flight attendant.
She's over-pooped the system and the toilet won't flush and they have the door open and decide to throw water on it. Meanwhile, I'm expecting the oxygen masks to fly down at any second.
There's a beehive of activity trying to get 'it down'. This I assume to be a massive poo. I'm a dad and with a kid just out of diapers I'm familiar with the effervescence that is now killing me rather rapidly.
It won't and it's not. The super plane toilet cannot digest the mythical creature.
They give up and decide to declare the lavatory broken for the rest of the flight.
The lady sprints back to her seat, no joke, she ran. I will try and shove her as we deplane later. Assuming I'm physically able to walk.
I wonder why on a flight that is 1.5 hours long, why can't people just address these things prior to the flight?
Now right before this work party concludes and with the 2nd panda-sized Chinese lady sort of wedged into the aisle, another lady comes roaring down the aisle with a giant glass jar - like a washed out jelly jar. She keeps saying 'excuse me, excuse me' - it's got to be important because she's jamming her boob on my ear trying to get around panda #2. Apparently she needs the giant glass jar filled up right now with warm or hot water.
Note: 10,000 feet is when you can turn on your iPOD, not get warm or hot water in a jar. Taking a Jurassic poo has to be somewhere around 33,000 feet or never.
The fasten seatbelt sign is still on, I'm losing years off my life breathing Beijing quality air and the aisle has about 5 people in it, one with her mid-west sized bottom on my shoulder. It's real soft. I consider using it as a pillow.
I'm in peril but hey, I've got an empty seat next to me.
A few minutes later after all of this activity has cleared and gone, a guy who has been waiting for a lav door to open lets the flight attendant that he things that someone is in trouble in the lavatory because no one has come out for 10 minutes. "No" she assures him, "it's out of order" but if it's job was to cut short the life of passengers in row 27, it's working just fine.
It still stinks as we approach 33,000 feet and I'll never pick this row again even if it does have the only open seat next to it on the whole plane. I'd rather sit next to Abel than die this secondhand smoke-like death.
Another thing. Just because you're waiting in line to get into the lavatory it's not ok to float one. Don't. No farts until you're behind the locked door please. Even though our seat numbers are in the 20's does not mean we're not going to totally smell the air biscuit that just fired off 4 inches from our heads.
I hope that if I don't make it, someone finds this post and hits publish.
PS: In case you were wondering what any of this has to do with triathlons, well - I ran today. Z2. But it doesn't matter because I think I'm going into the light....