Sitting in an airplane seat for 12 hours, at high altitudes, always seems to slam on the breaks of my metabolism. I found myself really needing to use the bathroom after walking the bit we did to get through customs.
Ryan took Eric to the money exchange in the airport and I tracked down a restroom so I could pass three helpings of airline food. I found one, clearly labeled with a blue man-shaped icon. I went down the seamless wall of stall doors. I couldn’t tell if anyone was inside of them because the cracks between the door hinges and wall panels were so small and built it such a way that I couldn’t slide a playing card through them.
To my luck the last stall was open. To my horror, there was only a hole in the floor with a depiction of how to and not to hover over this crapshoot. I couldn’t fathom how to make a number two possible and greatly doubted my flexibility after sitting for 12 straight hours—hell I can’t even sit cross-legged or touch my toes on most days. I thought I could hear it growling at me, or it was the horrid sounds of it digesting human waste for its demonic nourishment.
“No way,” I thought, “I am going to dodge this experience at any cost.”
I stood in front of the western stalls and waited…and waited… and waited. Now, I’m not sure, but perhaps something about the Japanese anatomy makes it difficult for the Japanese to a take a poop, because I was standing in front of those stalls for 15 minutes, without hearing a sound from any one of the phantom shitters.
Around minute 16 I heard signs of life—a toilet paper pull. As soon as they stepped out, I scurried in. I closed the door and immediately noted a lack of stall literature. Come to think of it, it was the cleanest public rest room I had ever seen. I smiled and turned around. Then I unsmiled. The toilet was imported from the future and in Japanese.
If you saw what I saw, you too, would have apprehension about sitting on a seat that had what looked like an altimeter, turbines, and a suspicious tube aimed upward to where my asshole would be.
I used some anthropological skills and began deciphering the runes and ancient pictographs. “Alright, it’s either a built in bidet, or self-enema station,” I thought, “If I just avoid these switches and buttons I should be able to do my business unscathed.” But who was I kidding? The only thing I could actually interpret was that it was a product of some Nazi company called Toto.
After cargo drop, I stood up and got ready to leave. I waited for the toilet to flush, but nothing happened. This thing was Startrek worthy; I just assumed it had an automatic flusher. But not having one, threw me into a panic. “How do I flush this bastard?”
I started skimming over the alien symbols again. I noticed a new picture. It looked like a ‘T’ with two downward swirls on both sides of the vertical line. “Why the fuck not?” I pressed the button, jumped out of the stall and braced myself behind the slamming door, so as to protect myself from a possible bidet blast, atomic explosion, nuclear launch, black hole, etc…
I immediately relaxed when I heard the sound of a flush from behind the door, and the Japanese men washing their hands stopped staring at me. Mission accomplished.