Friday, July 23, 2010

Diarrhea on a Plane

Those who read my articles know my most documented phobias involve ants, lip hair, having my vast-supply of flesh exposed, and plane rides.  I spent two days churning away from home, convinced that my stomach flu would board the plane back with me to Wisconsin...without a ticket!

How do you actually manage diarrhea on a plane?  I was pretty miserable waiting at the gate, thinking the safest seat for me was one with a deep hole beneath it.  I wore loose, drawstring-type shorts, tried popping anti-cramping medication, and went to my “happy place.”

I boarded the plane and sat next to a window.  It wasn’t 20 minutes into the flight before I crawled over the squirmy man next to me, clutching my purse to my chest and shut the metal door of the restroom.

I pictured a line of cross-legged passengers stretching all the way back to the cockpit, complaining and dancing around.  Maybe the First Class facilities would need to go “public.”  Were there BAGS like they have for astronauts so at least the MALE passengers could “go”?

The flight attendant knocked on the door:

“Are you o.k.? 
“Yes.”
“There are people waiting.”
“I know.”
“If you don’t come out soon, the pilot will jettison you.”
“Go ahead, at this point, I welcome death!”
“You’ll have to pay a fine.”
“Fine?  I’ll be right out.”

O.k., I added the jettison and fine comments for dramatic effect

I exited the bathroom clammy and sweaty.  The two impatient men in line behind me went WHITE and staggered back from the yellow cloud I’d unintentionally left for them.  I hoped the odor wouldn’t cause the oxygen masks to drop.

What would they do if I hadn’t gotten out of the bathroom?  They couldn’t MAKE me leave...could they?  Back in my seat, delirium taking control of my mind I imagined...

Over the loud speaker:  “Captain Ray, we have a situation.”  

Fearful nuns would cross themselves.  Passengers would twist their heads around to see what was happening and mouth, “What’s going on?” to one another, some of them assuming I’m a newlywed COUPLE in there earning “Mile-High” wings.  A stewardess would retrieve the “Jaws of Life” and, while I’m still in the restroom, hunched over, cut a hole in the door.

“You can’t make me get out—I’m sick.” I would scream.
“We know.”

Reaching in with a gloved hand and she would push a button, plunging me down a level to the “Pet Area” into a lion-sized litter box.

Snapping awake, I realized the “Pet Cargo Area” isn’t a bad place for you if you have diarrhea on a plane.  You can take your time, lay down and afterwards you’ll likely get a shower (albeit with a hose).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Does My Webcam Make Me Look Fat?

(I’m typing this eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s “Coffee Heath Bar Crunch.”  I hope this thing’s not turned on)

“Do I have a snaggle tooth?”  I asked my husband last night, lifting my upper lip like Mr. Ed.  I was testing my webcam software, seeing myself for the first time on my 14” computer monitor, realizing that on-screen it looks like I’m either missing a tooth, or have a darkened, mangled one.  I’m absolutely amazed by the technology that transports images of my loved ones to a screen right in front of my nose, but I’m not yet used to seeing myself online.

While patting the computer keys is usually a task I do anonymously, I have found the new need to pay attention to the way I look at my home office workstation.  A SKYPE call came in this morning while I was typing, wearing my husband’s holey t-shirt, hair was twisted up like a suma wrestler’s and a gum stimulator in my mouth.  I hit the IGNORE button, ashamed.

I also need to pay attention to the background.  I accidentally made a call testing my microphone functionality last night and when I got no answer forgot to hang up.  On their screen, my friends saw a darkened room and an empty chair.  They reported feeling voyeuristic, laughing and imaging something naughty was about to happen.  I have no idea how long they stayed online waiting for something risqué to occur.

I had a dream last night that my webcam became activated by an outside source (which sounds completely feasible to me), and scanned the expanse of our bedroom.  It found me shutting the door and photographed me disrobing from behind and immediately flash-transported the footage to You Tube as part of a “Video Most Likely to Make You Vomit” contest.  I was getting hits by the millions.

Having a webcam is a probably a good tool to see how you really appear to the outside world.  I’m not exactly a “Hang Out in Front of the Mirror” girl, so seeing me sitting there is new. What’s happened is that NOW, I am finally forced to acknowledge that one of my breasts REALLY is bigger than the other, I hunch like “No Neck” from Rocky Horror Picture Show and the mole I THOUGHT I had removed 20 years ago is back, with a vengeance, and looks as big as a bowling ball finger hole.  The image also magnifies age spots.  When I’m laughing, with my now obvious snaggle tooth, I really DO look like a spotted hyena.

Because I’m so distracted by my own appearance, I feel the need to make up for it--be more animated, move around.  I caught myself swaying like Stevie Wonder, gesturing like Snoop Dog and “peacing out” like Richard Nixon.  This has already gone beyond obsession and I’ve only had it one day.

I thought of putting a paper bag over my head with two holes cut out so I can see the other person, but the grocery bag won’t cover my body.  Bagless--I HAVE to wear a bra and will likely cover my teeth with my lips like an orangutan.   

If you SKYPE me, it’s best to wear sunglasses.