Thursday, July 5, 2018

Frequent Flyer Cripples

One time before I boarded a plane to fly to Washington D.C., I ate a burrito at the airport food court. And then, as I sat buckled in my seat waiting for takeoff, I said to myself, “Why the hell did you do that?” I’ve never taken a shit one a commercial airliner, but I’m told it’s quite the cramped experience. I’m told that if you’re more than six feet tall and you sit down on the bowl, your knees press against the back of the door. So I wonder what big-time basketball stars do when they’re not flying on private jets with custom–designed bathrooms. Do they shit with the door open? Does everybody in first class see a pair of long, hairy, bare legs protruding from the bathroom, with pants down around the ankles?

I’m in the same boat with those guys. I’ve never been in an airliner bathroom because, first of all, when I fly they take my wheelchair away and toss it in with the luggage down below. So when I fly I have a two-step preparation ritual. I dehydrate myself and pray.

When I ate that burrito, it suddenly occurred to me what might happen if that burrito started barking within me. There might well be a headline that read, “Flight Forced to Make Emergency Landing in Cleveland Because Dumbass Cripple Ate a Burrito.”

Fortunately, I summoned up all my powers of Zen mind and bowel control and we landed in D. C. without incident. But I don’t fly that much. Maybe once or twice a year. And I wondered how the hell cripples who are frequent flyers manage.

So I talked to this paraplegic guy who says he flies somewhere pretty much every week. He catheterizes himself every three hours. So he always tries his damndest to get a window seat because in the crammed coach section of a commercial flight, that’s the closest thing you can get to a private space. And when the three-hour mark rolls around, he discreetly pulls out a blanket, puts it over his head like a kid reading a porn magazine in bed with a flashlight, and he catheterizes himself. Almost every time, he says, there’s someone sitting in the seat right next to him while he does it.

I don’t think I’ll ever become a frequent flyer unless I’m rich enough to always fly premium first class, which means I have the first class section all to myself. Even then, I won't eat a burrito.

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