Subourbon Mom

Maximum Security — Airplane Restrooms

images-4The day President Obama announced he was officially asking Congress for permission to actively combat ISIS, I was flying home from a work conference. The plane during the flight from Charlotte to home was one of those old, outsourced planes from Canada, or maybe some company called Metal-Tube-in-the-Sky Airline. There were two rows of seats (and those felt like the old plastic covered couches in Grandma’s house) with a very narrow aisle.

About halfway through the flight, the flight attendant came on the loud speaker and said, “Please do not form a line by the bathrooms. It is a security breach.”

A few of us glanced at each other and shrugged. There was some rustling, and I assumed people were returning to their seats. A couple of minutes later, the flight attendant spoke again, this time more urgently:

“It is a breach of security for passengers to congregate by the bathrooms. Please wait until there is no one in line before you come back to use the restrooms.”

Incredulous looks passed around the cabin. Security breach? At the bathrooms?

Here are a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind while I tried to decide how long I should wait before heading back there:

First of all, I’m pretty sure folks weren’t “congregating” around the airplane bathroom, just chatting each other up—after all, it’s not a bar.

images-1Second, what happened to make someone think congregating by the plane’s bathroom could create a security situation so dire it must be forbidden? Have the FAA and Homeland Security folks ever used the bathroom on a modern plane? There’s barely room to get your pants down, much less withdraw a weapon; and, even if you did manage to extract some kind of weapon in the bathroom, having a line of people waiting outside would only hinder what you were trying to do.

If I were to have some kind of concealed weapon, I wouldn’t be getting it ready it at the back of the plane, far away from the two most important people on the plane, the pilot and co-pilot. There’s not much sense in drawing a gun, knife or explosive device and then having to charge down the aisle, tripping over someone’s feet the whole way.

images-5If we follow the logic of the danger of congregating outside crowded bathroom areas to its logical conclusion, we would have to question every line at every sports and concert event ever. Good luck dispersing the six-pack-in throng around the port-a-pods at a Jimmy Buffet concert.

Perhaps someone at the FAA has gone back to the basics of physics—maybe they are worried that if you have enough people standing at the back of the plane, it could simply fall out of the sky. If you’ve ever flown on a tiny plane, you’ve been made aware of weight distribution. They put the luggage in the back, and people in the front and middle. Too much in any direction, and the plane is in danger of not taking off, or tumbling to the ground–like those GI Joe’s with the plastic parachutes we threw from 2nd-floor windows as a kid.

Really, a bathroom security breach sounds more like a blow-out after eating some highly-questionable tuna salad from the airport snack stand. So, to the FAA and Homeland Security, I salute your efforts to keep us safe in the skies—clearly there are dangers we haven’t even conceived of. Keep up the good work.

Air Travel: Ear Rape and Flip Flops
April 11, 2013, 11:40 am
Filed under: Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This past weekend I took a trip to Chicago to see an old friend.  On the way, I spent a bit of time in airports, and decided that I will never completely leave the southern, small-town girl behind. No matter what airport I’m in, I always expect to see someone I know, even though that would have the same odds as me liking Skinny Girl drinks—ain’t gonna happen. It’s all I can do to not wave to people and say “Hi y’all!” when I get to my gate.

As I was waiting for a flight, I found an empty seat between two women, one of whom was a Soccer Mom talking into her earpiece. (Really? An ear piece? We know you’re not on business because you’re in your Mom Jeans and have a backpack. You’re not fooling anyone.) I soon discovered why there was an empty seat—for half an hour I listened to Soccer Mom recycle the same conversation to six different people. I know more about her new, red marble countertops and the creepy stain in the pod she rented then anyone should. I also know that she didn’t want to move but her husband said they had too, and she didn’t know how she was going to survive—after all the house was just “a horror!”


It was secondary ear rape (my apologies to anyone who has been actually ear raped—it should never be joked about). Like secondary smoke, I got all the pollution but none of the buzz.

So, I put in my own headphones and turned up the tunes and started people-watching. I miss people dressing up when they travel. High school girls schlepped around in flip flops, cut-off Daisy Dukes and sweatshirts, looking hung over. Everyone else wore dark jeans or pants, black jackets or navy t-shirts—not a bright color in sight. I also didn’t realize that most men seem to have stopped shaving every day—even business travelers. I’m guessing they’re trying to achieve that scruffy, laid-back lumberjack look, but I hate to tell you guys, it doesn’t work if you don’t trim it around your jaw. When you just let it grow, you look homeless.  There were even women waddling down the aisles in huge t-shirts and leggings.

C’mon, people, it’s not Wal-mart. Put in a little effort.

But the best thing I realized was that taking off in a plane is my favorite part of flying. Soaring into the air, watching the lights get smaller and the cars turn into fireflies in the distance–it makes you realize life’s everyday worries and fears are equally small, at least for the duration of your flight.

So the next time you fly, tune out the noise, put away the Xanax, and look out the window—and just maybe, you might decide to give in to that southern urge and say “Bye, y’all,” when you exit the plane.

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