Several years ago, I wrote about the perils of toilets when combined with marathon runners. Today, I’m going to tell you about the horrors of another combination: passengers on commercial aircraft, and toilets.
When I fly on planes, particularly on long haul flights between Asia and Europe, or Asia and Europe, my legs and feet swell up like a couple of disgusting sausages. My ankles vanish in these elephantine trunks of flesh. To reduce this symptom, I wear compression socks and take my shoes off. But though this makes my feet swell up less, it has no effect on the rate at which my bladder fills. At some point in an eight hour flight, I’ll have to go to the lavatory.
In my bare feet. Because having taken off my shoes, I’m not going to clasp them tightly in my lap, and during the flight, they’re bound to migrate around under my seat until it’s dreadfully hard to find them.
And with great reliability, somebody has peed on the floor.
I don’t think anyone does this intentionally. I doubt there’s a travelling mob of scatophiles who love ruining every airplane toilet, or who are stalking me, intent on making my feet wet and sticky. It’s just carelessness, or pride, or utter ignorance. Some men (and realistically, it’s only the male of the species) has such undue faith in their aim that they don’t realise by standing up to pee into the toilet, they’re going to get drips on the floor.
But again, they’re inside a metal tube travelling at hundreds of miles through the air – don’t they realise there’s turbulence? Doesn’t the thought that this might make a bit of a mess ever cross their minds? Clearly not.
Not that this is limited to airplane toilets. Go into any gentleman’s public lavatory and look at the floor – nobody has a 100 percent hit rate – there’s always some spatter on the floor. The bigger the pools of piss, the further back you’ll stand from the urinal to avoid standing in them, which accentuates the problem.
The thing is, although standing up to pee is pretty much the exclusive ability of the male of the species, ability and right are not the same thing. And (hopefully) nobody is watching you in the airplane toilet. Your masculinity will not be endangered if, for those few solitary moments in that tiny cubicle, you deign to sit down and put all your productivity into the receptacle, rather than splashing some of it across the floor.
So, out of consideration for your fellow traveller, please sit down on the toilet.
Unless you’re up in Business class. Since I’m in Economy pretty much always, I never get to access your toilets. You can pee on the floor and nowhere else and it won’t affect me (and I assume Business class toilets are magically self-cleaning and smell solely of vanilla and happiness).
Apologies if anyone read this thinking they were going to find out about people peeing on planes. I’m not the kind of person who fetishises micturating all over transportation equipment.