Trip back

I arrived at the Tucson airport at around 3:30 pm, in plenty time to attempt to catch an earlier flight out. Whereas most airlines will let you on if there’s space, Delta insists on a secret handshake bestowed upon their elite SkyMiles members. While the miles I have pooled on Alaska Airlines will let me cross into the sixth circle later this year, permitting me to use the First Class bathroom when the beverage cart blocks access aft, this means nothing to Delta. There, I am among the unclean masses. No Early Flight For You!

Tucson’s airport is like Long Beach’s, but without the original 1970s decor: it was designed for humans.  There were places to sit. There were electrical outlets. There was free wireless. The mandatory inane, repetitive announcement reminding clueless people not to accept packages from strangers was at a volume permitting normal conversation. TSA was polite. The roast beef and cheddar sandwich I ate had actual cheddar cheese.

With several hours of cramped seating and stale, humid air upcoming, I thought I’d change out of my business attire into something more Brian Johnson. Since this would necessitate exposing underpants, the only acceptable place to accomplish this would be the men’s restroom, inside a stall.

This presents a logistics challenge. Except for the occupied, coveted ADA-compliant stall, men’s room stalls are the size of the ones on airplanes, but without the sloping roof to bang one’s head on. The door even opens inward.

Furthermore, as I’m unwilling to leave my laptop outside, luggage comes inside.  With a choice between by the toilet or in front of the closed door, it goes by the door.  Logistically, there’s more maneuverability. Shoes came off first.  The, I realize the limited yoga I’ve done has paid off: I can contort to avoid contact with the floor. Slacks off, folded and in the suitcase. Shorts on. Shirt unbuttoned, folded, in the suitcase. Undershirt off. Bike event T-shirt on. Just when I thought I was done, I notice the green, matching dress socks look tres dorky with the rest of my ensemble. They go.

As I’m pawing through the bag to find the white sock’s mate, some dude goes into the adjacent stall.  As if sensing the opportunity, my boarding pass wafts out, sliding under the partition. For total avoidance of doubt, I issue a prompt, profane Battlestar Galactican expletive followed by “Dude, can you kick that back under?”

There were no further incidents or accidents, hints or allegations.


My connection in Salt Lake City was delayed > 2 hours. I holed up in a quiet corner, paid The Man for wireless, and caught up on work mail. Around boarding time, the pilot (!) clearly explained what the gate crew could not: the incoming flight had detoured to Graceland to avoid a line of thunderstorms. He offered to let people vent to him or ask questions. (No one did.) Honesty and culpability had an amazing calming effect on the disgruntled crowd. Airlines should try that more often.We landed well-after midnight, greeted with 49°F and rain. Ah, home!

1 thought on “Trip back”

  1. Great story! It cracks me up how much more stressful bathroom etiquette is if you’re male. Nicely navigated. 🙂

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