Forget the glamor. When you spend half your life enclosed in a pressurized tube with complete strangers, you’re going to be exposed to some disturbing behaviors.
There’s no way around it.
Ms. Fabulique Chocolat addresses the middle-aged woman before us.
“What’s the matter, honey?”
“The toilet paper… The toilet paper rolls are all wet.”
Chocolat stands up and dons a pair of rubber gloves as if she’s arriving on a CSI crime scene.
“No problem. We can fix that.”
Chocolat opens a galley compartment and fishes for fresh TP. The woman does not seem comforted. Does in fact, seem to be wringing her hands as she shifts her polyester bulk from side to side.
“How did it get wet?”
Chocolat emerges with a fresh roll in each rubber-gloved hand.
“Well honey, I don’t know. Maybe some water from the sink splashed on it and…”
“But there’s a splash guard over the toilet paper. And I mean, it’s wet. Like, completely wet. And…”
She damn near whispers, “I used it.”
“Used what, honey?”
“The toilet paper. I used it.”
“You used the wet toilet paper?”
“Yes. How do I fix…you know…that?”
“Let me get this straight. You saw the splash guard. You noticed that the toilet paper was wet. And you used it anyway? Now you want to know how you can undo what you did?”
“Yes. Help me fix this.”
“You’re asking us to help you sanitize?”
The woman nods.
Chocolat looks at me but I am hiding behind the newspaper, fascinated by the stock exchange. I can’t look up. I can’t.
I hear her say, “Honey, we’re flight attendants. Not chemists. We don’t sanitize whoo-hoos.”
This woman is not going away.
Chocolat’s eyes are boring holes into me.
I throw an obvious card into the game hoping my lack of creativity will evict me from it.
“Have you tried soap and water?”
Chocolat is fumbling in our flight attendant kit which holds everything from airplane wings to — ta-da! Sanitizing wipes. She hands one to Pink Taco.
It clearly says SANITIZING WIPE on the package. This is pointed out.
“What do I do with it?”
A distinct pause from Ms. Chocolat. The hand finds the hip.
“Honey, are you traveling with anyone?”
Her husband. Genius.
“Go get him. Have him help you.”
This is one time I will gladly turn my back while a couple enters the lavatory together. I will in fact, encourage it.
But Pink Taco’s husband does not suffer the fool. He stands with her outside the lavatory, arms folded across his chest.
“I think you need to give my wife some more options.”
Chocolat and I look at each other. Club soda?
Chocolat pulls out a can, hands it to Pink Taco with an airy gesture.
“This gets out anything. You can use this to, you know, bubble off whatever is on there.”
Pink Taco cracks the door to the lavatory, hubby in tow.
I grab a couple of vodkas from the mini-drawer.
“Alcohol is a sanitizer, right? That should kill…” I flip a hand about, “Whatever.”
“How long? What, you mean to kill it?”
“Well if you want to…soak it? There are feminine products in that pull-out on the wall.”
She nods. “Okay.”
They crowd into the lavatory together with a can of club soda, a couple of minis and our blessing.
Chocolat and I stand at the front of the cabin with Eric, the Captain.
He wipes a tear from his eye, still trying to choke back laughter.
“You’ve got to point her out to me,” he says, nodding and smiling as passengers deplane.
“It won’t be hard,” says Ms. Chocolat. “She’ll be the one walking funny.”