I like to think of myself as a great traveller. I think my body is the ultimate travelling machine. I have never missed a flight if the factors were within my control (Chicago traffic, screw you). My stomach senses when a food trolley is near, and wakes me up if I’m sleeping. I don’t know how to pack light but I also don’t know how to pack too much – and if I forget something, I can usually live without it. I’ve never lost a passport. I know when to cry when the situation gets too much to bear (here’s looking at you, Barfelona). And perhaps most important on this list: My bladder can legit tell the difference between how far it is to an acceptable toilet, and act accordingly.
This is vital to a situation when you’re travelling to Karachuonyo, which, when I was younger, was a good 12 hours away, with of course a midday stop at Midlands Hotel for chicken. Also important when going to Kampala on a 12 hour bus ride. I peed before the trip, at home, at about 4 pm, and didn’t pee again until we reached our room in what was not like an actual hotel at about 9 am the next day. I even had breakfast, I believe. I see you decrying my dehydrated bladder but I raise you my attempt to go to the bathroom in Eldoret or Nakuru or somewhere in a dark and dingy turnoff that was covered in beetles the size of my hand and dung (theirs?) that I could smell a mile away. I can do dung. I don’t do beetles. So that was that.
Now, on a plane, this is a bit more difficult. The ONE thing I HATE about flying is the toilets. It’s easy enough when you’re a guy (sans diarrhoea. Once that’s involved, it all goes to – well, dung). You pop in, stand, finish, and bounce. For me? And my lady bits? And how much tissue I use on average? It’s a freaking disaster, constrained in a 2 by 4 hell hole.
First, you get in, and because it is such a miniscule space, your clothing brushes against the toilet seat as you close and latch the door. Then, you look for the tissue. (in KLM, it’s hung the wrong way. Just for the record. There is a wrong and right way to hang tissue.) Then you look for the seat cover. At this point, you’ve brushed the toilet seat enough to be a seat cover yourself. You sit. You do the business. Wipe. Stand. Wipe. Flush. The hissing of the flush sounds like a dog whistle. Wince. All the tissue you (I) use hasn’t gone all the way down. You hit the dog whistle again as you contemplate what the Chinese have against flushing SGR toilets. You wash your hand. It isn’t a tap so you have to wash one at a time. The pressure is low and slow. So you sprinkle some on the ground by mistake. Then as you notice the one on the ground, you splash on yourself because you’re only using one hand at a time. Great. Now it looks like you’ve peed yourself. Then you have to wipe the one on the floor because you’re representing Africa and you will NOT have them saying we pee like we’re in the village. Then they want you to also wipe the washbasin, another thing you don’t understand. You throw the tissue you wiped the basin and the floor with away, and the flap smashes against your middle finger. You see life flash before your eyes as you compose this diatribe. At least your fake pee has dried. You open the latch for the bathroom to leave and notice the guy outside watching you leave. You stroll down the aisle, confident that Mother Africa will not be shamed if he goes in next. Your confidence is shattered when you hit your chin on the seat of the reclining neighbour in front of you.
I hate airplane toilets.