I’ve seen a bunch of pile-ons on Twitter lately chastising people who use the lav right after boarding. What’s wrong with them??? What were they doing in the terminal for the last hour?!!?!?! DO THEY KNOW HOW STUPID THEY LOOK TO EVERYONE ELSE?!?!!?
Here’s the example I just found on Twitter that prompted me to write this, but it’s certainly not the only one. In fact, boarding-urinators are right up there with people who put their bare feet on stuff and people who refuse to turn off their cell phones as a favorite bugaboo of frequent travelers.
So I’m sure your legs are crossed tightly in burning anticipation of whatever reason I could possibly have to engage in such uncouth behavior. Here it is: like 20-25% of the flying public, I have major anxiety around flying. I haven’t made that a secret on this blog, and at some point I want to write about it in more depth, since I’ve worked harder on getting over it than anything else I’ve ever done in my life. But it’s there, and I have to deal with it if I want to travel by air. Unfortunately, a common symptom of anxiety is frequent urination – like every 15 minutes frequent urination. Check it.
Now, (TMI alert), this isn’t just a few drops either. This is the body in an agitated state evacuating water like it’s putting out a forest fire, and it doesn’t go away until anxiety levels decrease (AKA the plane lands). So it’s not an exaggeration to say that I use the bathroom in the terminal immediately before boarding, and then again immediately after boarding. And, if the flight attendant and the people sitting next to me are lucky, I’ll go again after boarding is complete but before the door is closed. I know, it’s very inconvenient for everyone. But you know what’s more inconvenient? Pissing all over yourself right before a five hour flight, and leaving a piss-soaked seat for the crew to clean up later.
I try to be a good soldier on planes and not get up when the seatbelt sign is on, and the last time I decided to hold it during boarding, the captain kept the seatbelt sign on for 50 minutes, despite it being glass-smooth the entire way. (I’m sure there was a reason for this, like reported turbulence by other pilots or forecasted weather that didn’t materialize.) I’m not criticizing the captain, I’m pointing out that the period during boarding is sometimes the only opportunity to use the bathroom for over an hour. Last time I flew out of JFK, there was a 45-minute ground delay and turbulence for the first hour of the flight. If I hadn’t used the bathroom during boarding, it would have been a hell of a soggy flight in that JetBlue Mint suite.
I don’t know if everyone who’s bothering you by using the bathroom during boarding is doing it for the same reason as I am. Maybe they are just neglectful of their own bladder and decided to wait until they boarded the flight to do their business. Just keep in mind the next time you’re tempted to pile on about this that the person who’s cramming themselves into a tiny piss-box at the front of the plane and and fighting passengers to get to/from their seat probably is as unhappy as you are about the fact that they’re peeing at that moment.