Friday, June 6, 2008


Last January I had an opportunity to travel to Singapore for work. It was something that just kind of dropped in my lap and loving international travel and new experiences I jumped at the chance.

On the way there my route was something like Grand Rapids to Minneapolis, MN, then to Japan and on to Singapore. The Minneapolis to Japan flight was really really really long. I can't remember how long but it seemed interminable. I prefer to sit in an aisle seat but since the trip was booked kind of last minute I had to settle for a window seat. So I was stuck on the inside. After our flight had been in the air for a long time and I had been dozing off, I realized that I had to go to the bathroom but not wanting to inconvenience and awaken the other 2 passengers to get out of my seat (I'm sometimes too nice to a fault) I thought I could just hold it a little longer.

I dozed off and on and every time I woke up of course the urge to go to the bathroom was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Finally, coming out of a deep sleep, I realized I couldn't wait any longer and so excused myself and squeezed out of my seat into the aisle.

I made a beeline for the bathroom, stumbling down the aisle, bleery eyed and trying to blink some moisture back into my dried out contacts lenses. The bathroom was vacant so I swung in and in one fell swoop locked the door, unzipped by britches and plopped onto the toilet. I had almost wet my pants. After peeing and peeing and peeing and peeing I finally felt relief. I wiped myself, stood up and turned slightly to flush the toilet.

Horror of all horrors. To my disbelief, the previous dumb f* (must have been male) user of the toilet had not put the seat down and I had just sat for two minutes on a rim of piss; everybody elses piss, piss and pubie drippings from how many other hundreds of passengers??!!!! Gross me out the door. I totally freaked. When I came to this realization I hadn't pulled up my pants yet so I instantly and instinctively grabbed a wad of paper towels, doused them with hot water, squirted some soap on them and started scrubbing my big piss laden butt cheeks. Scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing and more paper towels and more hot water and more soap and more scrubbing and two minutes later and who cares who is waiting in line to use the toilet . . I'm having a crisis in there and I'm not leaving until the scrubbing is done. After I was finished scrubbing my butt I washed and washed and rinsed and washed and rewashed my hands. Total grodiness.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. I just can't get over the fact that I sat in all of that yuckiness and the piss drippings of all of those other passengers. But I did. And I survived. And as far as I know I didn't catch any communicable diseases!!!!!

But I got over that little incident quickly, by about the time I stepped out of the lavatory and was on my way back to my seat.

BTW, I had a great time in Singapore. It's a way cool place!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What's he got?

K. was in the cart. She must have been about three years old at the time. We were in a large department store. I was in the hardware section searching for who knows what. I couldn't find whatever it was that I was looking for. I looked up and there coming toward me was a gangly teenage male store employee. He was the epitome of awkward; about seventeen years of age, slumped shoulders, no confidence in his hesitant shuffle, greasy longish dark hair, eyes looking downward .. . . "Excuse me sir, do you know where I can find the xxx?" Before he could even answer, K. sees something she is unfamiliar with . . . . . Out of curiosity she began her inquisition in an innocent, loud, three year oldish voice. "Mom, what's he got all over his face?" No reply from me. I was flabbergasted and embarrassed; for me and for the kid. Since she didn't get an answer her question became more insistent . . . "Mom, what's he got all over his face?" She wouldn't let up. "What's he got all over his face?" "Thank you for your help sir." I turned the cart and began to explain in a normal tone of voice, "Oh, that's a thing called acne . . . .some kids get it when they get to be teenagers . . . . . ."

Does anyone know how I could have / should have responded?? Sometimes that scene replays itself in my head and I still don't know the answer. None of the parenting books I had ever read prepared me for how to handle a situation like that. I felt so darn bad for that kid. I wished I knew how I could have handled it more gracefully.