Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Peeing for Alaska

It began with a flight to the end of the world, where earth ruptured and land melted into a seaside ruin-scape that stretched into a large swath of foreign oblivion that claimed Americana but might as well be Mars.

About to land in Anchorage, AK

But first I had to stop in Seattle.

I was off to yet another gig in Alaska, but as this one was the genesis in a long series of world travels, my mother informed me it might behoove me to record my journeys in a way we could all agree was not only narcissistic but also the zeitgeist: blogging.

As my original blog had landed me multiple jobs at a series of online periodicals, I decided I could bite the bullet and paint my own picture of Dorian Gray.

So after a long line of liturgics that every modern air traveller must bear, I found myself far from New York on a plane, probably having just flown over my very mother who had encouraged this bilious free thought of bohemian Hajj.

Sitting thousands of feet above the earth with nothing but my Zen-caffeinated mind to brew, (Delta charges $6 for in-flight movies, the assholes), I had some time to sit and digest a multitude of scruples as I awaited touchdown at my Pacific pit stop where a less monitored bathroom awaited me and my bladder.

Did I mention I had been drinking coffee?

Four cups of the stuff.

Drinking that much coffee had seemed like a good idea at the moment, as I had wanted to be awake for the majority of my westward flight since Alaska is four hours behind New York, which is just enough to mess with mind, body, and soul.

But for someone with a constitutionally weak bladder, I found myself humiliated at the predicament I now found myself in.

Because every time I stood up, there were eyes that met mine. The first time was fine, even the second was acceptable, but by my fifth come-uppance, I found myself nicknaming myself in all those peoples’ heads: That Guy Who Pees A Lot.

My third time in the airplane bathroom in an hour

On every flight there’s somebody I nickname. On last month’s flight to Alaska I had the absolute pleasure of sitting next to That German Woman Who Doesn’t Wear Deodorant. Prior characters cast in my mental dramaturgies include That Man Who’s Not a Terrorist But Looks Like One, But Stop Being Racist, Sam it’s 2014 and That Family of Joads Who Should Stop Reproducing—How Did They Afford That Many Plane Tickets?! among many others… and now me.

I was now cast as an airline misfit instead as a part of the exclusive clique I had made my life goal to fit into: jet set. And not only jet set, but New York jet set.

But now here I was squeezing my legs together in 41C and glancing back at the bathroom longingly, like the bathroom was a hot girl I had spotted while boarding the plane but had to be coy about because not only was she mad hot but she also happened to be an amputee with a prosthetic leg and I didn’t want her to think I was looking at her deformity rather than her beauty.

That’s what the bathroom was to me, a beautiful, peg-legged girl—so distant yet easily attainable if I just sucked it up and ignored my spinning world.

Eventually I landed in Seattle and waited an excruciatingly long period to deplane with a burning bladder as two more characters wrote themselves into my transcontinental flight memoir by blocking the exit directly in front of me, Double-Checker Mom and Possibly Autistic Spectrum Teenage Boy. The conversation went as follows:

DOUBLE-CHECKER MOM: Do you have you sweatshirt?


DOUBLE-CHECKER MOM: Do you have your laptop?


DOUBLE-CHECKER MOM: Do you have your headphones?


Had everyone lost their goddamn minds?!

My disposition always sat somewhere between Midwest nice and New York asshole, and it was a particularly painful fence post to straddle when your urethra felt like a dynamite wick and your bladder a tank of gasoline.

I was about to say something when finally Carmen Sandiego and Waldo had concluded that they had found everything in the Magic Eye and could exit the plane to annoy someone else.

I made it to the bathroom and peed.

It was glory.

And after that, I was in a much better mood.

I had about an hour layover in Seattle before boarding the plane to Anchorage, and as I sat and pondered on Alaska, this is what I wrote:
Alaska sunrise on MS Amsterdam near Homer, AK

My life goal is to be indefatigable, to not sweat or scorn at what the sunlight may bring but to revel in my own light far after that gaseous globe had set, then wake up the next morning before it arose, rested in soul but not necessarily in body, but knowing that exhaustion came from mere earth and not heady heaven.