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"Chronicle Groupie"
Hyperion May 8, 2006

The Hyperion Chronicles
“Next time I’ll just use the air-sick bag”

#388 Mr. Buffalo

Part 1: To Pee or Not to Pee

As previously mentioned here in these pages, last weekend I was in Ottawa. I was there at the request of the government. It was all hush-hush, due to the political ramifications and the fact that I am up here in secret, in the Witness Protection Program. Because of that, I can’t tell you much about my trip. However, some of the details—the ones not classified for national security purposes—are just too juicy to pass up.

To start with I had to fly to Ottawa, which many of you know is a concern for me. (I’ve written about this before, in the Worstest/Bestest Birthday Ever.) The plane was full, but due to my official visit I managed to get the seat next to me empty. Small mercies, but when you are as large as I am, you take what you can get.

The first leg of the journey was somewhat uneventful, other than two dogs in the cabin, both yipping at each other for all they were worth. The flight attendant had a sense of humor, and when he did the part about breathing into the mask that descends (in the event we’re all going to die), he made a Darth Vader sound into the microphone. (It’s impossible to recreate that particular onomatopoeia, but you all know it: think of a phlegmy Hoh-Pah, Hoh-Pah.) Then when he re-spoke all the directions in French and got to Darth, he went “ Le Hoh-Pah.” I don’t know what was funnier: his impression, or the idea that Darth Vader could ever be French.

There was a brief stopover before the second leg of the journey. I figured this was the best time to use the airplane restroom. We were in a Boeing 737-800, which has some of the smallest bathrooms imaginable. They curve into the side of the plane, meaning that even normal-sized people have to duck.

When I got back there I realized that I literally—and I’m using this word correctly—could not walk straight into the lavatory. After some consternation I inched in sideways. Just getting the door shut was murder.

(you see this picture? That's the actual size)

Try to picture this: I was bent down about two feet just to avoid the ceiling, and the toilet was to my right. In golf terminology, I was going to have to employ a 90 degree slice just to get anywhere near the hole. A more daunting task you could not ask for, and I stood there for a minute trying to figure out the logistics, wind resistance, etc.

It was at this moment that a female flight attendant decided to check the trash for cabin services, as they were hurrying so the new passengers could get on. Why she thought the door would somehow close and lock on its own I don’t know, but she opened the door to see me in what even I have to admit was a somewhat absurd position.

We’ve all accidentally walked in on people in the bathroom, and most of us immediately shut the door again, red-facedly shouting apologies. I guess the flight attendant was so shocked to find a person in the restroom, and standing in such an odd manor, that she didn’t close the door.

She just stood there, staring at me.

(while pretty, sadly the flight attendant didn't look like this, or it might have been a completely different trip)

I’m not sure how long this went on, but it was at least 15 seconds. Finally, just to break the ice, in my best Rowan Atkinson impression, I said, “Can I help?”

With that the door mercifully shut and I was (eventually, after promising my guys down below that they really could work in privacy) able to get the job done. When next I felt nature’s call, I just gave up, sidled in the complete opposite direction, and peed in the sink.

(my advice: do not use this sink. Just wait 'til you land)

Go on to Part 2, and learn the origins of "Mr. Buffalo"

Go to the Hyperion Institute Home Page, where there be Dragons


Lady P said...

I would give my eyeteeth (whatever those are) for a video clip of the bathroom scene!

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