Thursday, March 22, 2018

Urinating On a CRJ700*

[This originally appeared on March 21, 2005. Over time it proved to be the most popular post of the twenty thousand that I published on the weblog.]

Canada has given humankind, in all its history, only one gift. No, Shania Twain doesn't count. Had she stuck with country music, she'd qualify, but she decided to go off into popular music and soft porn videos. And we can't include the Toronto Maple Leafs because they have sucked since before I was born (and what does it say about a country that can't get the plural of the word "leaf" right?). Maple syrup might measure up but it's my understanding the Canucks stole the idea (and secret processing plan) from Vermont

No. The only thing good ever to come out of Canada is the Bombardier CRJ700 Canadair Regional Jet Airliner. I have some considerable familiarity with commercial aircraft and I can attest to the fact that the Canadair jet is the smoothest, quietest aircraft in its size range in use today. There are a few Saabs that come close but no other plane compares to the CRJ700.

Yeah, it was built for midgets. When walking down the aisleway, one has to stoop. No, make that crawl. And when you're seated, your knees are smashed against the seat in front of you (and that's in "first class"). And there is only enough overhead luggage space on the plane for one carry-on, the size of which cannot exceed a shoebox. But other than that, the CRJ700 is a traveler's dream.

Oh, then there's the bathroom. Or lavatory, as they prefer to call it (why I don't know; it must be one of those arcane FAA regulations).

I'm at cruising altitude. 29,000 feet. I have to use the john ... er, lavatory. I stoop/crawl to the back of my Bombardier CRJ700 Canadair Regional Jet Airliner, where a flight attendant is stationed to ... pick her distressed passengers up from the floor when they finally claw their way to her, and to hand out the in-flight meal consisting of six miniature pretzels and three ounces of water - and to kick open the bi-fold door to the lavatory. Which she did for me, with an admonition to watch my head as I entered (she saw me stooped over as I made my way down the aisle so her warning was an indication to me that her other job was at Chicago's famed Second City comedy club).

I ducked my head and entered the lav (as us flyers have come to affectionately call the crapper). I was immediately met with a rather serious dilemma. In order to begin the process of relieving myself, I thought it proper to close the door behind me. Makes sense, right? 

Well, the Canadian who designed this aircraft was either a very tiny person or he/she also moonlighted at Chicago's famous 2nd City comedy club because there was no way that bi-fold door was going to close with my butt still protruding into the aisleway. This lav was so small, I would have had to stand on the tiny toilet seat - which is a subject in itself - in order to get the door closed behind me. You've heard of the Mile High Club, the membership of which consists of really odd people who have found it somehow enjoyable to have sex on a plane while in flight? Well, they need to have a Six Cubic Feet Club for people who can do the same in a space the size of the back of your Honda Civic.

Anyway I somehow managed, with herculean effort, to close the door. Now it's at this point that I'm going to lose you women reading this. You're not faced with the task of aiming. At 29,000 feet. In moderate turbulence. At a toilet bowl opening no larger than that of a 2 litre bottle of Coke. I often brag at how adept I am at hitting my target (I attribute it to my many years of practice). And even on most planes, I've become pretty darn good at avoiding peeing on the walls of the lav - with only the occasional mishap (I usually blame it on wind shear). But as good as I may be - on target all the time - there ain't nobody on God's earth can hit the tiny toilet - standing up in a stooped position - on the CRJ700.

The thought struck me - since I'm about to embarrass myself (and probably violate some FAA/TSA/HSA regulation) I'm going to sit down and do this the way you women (who we all know are smarter; this is just another example of that) would have approached this problem in the first place.

Great plan.

But in order to sit down, I had to turn around and drop my drawers. In this Bombardier CRJ700 Canadair Regional Jet Airliner lavatory. Obviously the Canadians have perfected some physical manipulation of the human body with which we Americans are unfamiliar. There was no way I could make a turn in that half-phone booth sized bathroom.

I therefore decided to do it the old-fashioned way, and throw caution to the wind ... so to speak.

I'll bring this saga to a close with a word of warning. Next time you find yourself on a Bombardier CRJ700 Canadair Regional Jet Airliner and find yourself crawling into the lav, don't look too closely at the walls and mirror. Some things are better left unnoticed.

And sit back and enjoy your flight. It's still the greatest plane in the air today.

* Grammatically speaking, I've never peed on a plane. I have, however, peed into toilets in lavs on planes.