Monday, March 02, 2009

Lavatory Leasing

I love the word "lavatory," the least-used bathroom euphemism (with the exception of "comfort station"). In modern life, "lavatory" is used in exactly two places: on an airplane, and in an elementary school. If the Irish cheapo airline RyanAir has its way, that may be reduced to one, as it considers charging fliers to use the lavatory while in flight.

Personally, I already try to avoid the airplane bathroom, because it is not built for tall, large men like me. The curvature of the plane makes standing up difficult, the seat is only slightly larger than the one my daughter used when we potty-trained her as a three-year-old, and then there's that little light that says "return to your seat." I think it's there as a flight crew joke, since it inevitably comes on just as you're starting your business and can't go anywhere. It also implies that you're loitering in the lavatory, as if you want to spend any more time in that cramped space than absolutely necessary.

I can't imagine how anyone has ever used an airplane bathroom to join the Mile High Club -- how did two people even fit in there, let alone do anything physical? If there's a less erotic place, I don't know it. Where did they lose their virginity, the town dump?

The good news for RyanAir flight attendants -- who already suffer, with their seats right next to the lavatory and its accompanying aroma -- is that they won't have to conduct beverage service any more, since passengers will do everything they can to avoid having to take a leak. On the other hand, the attendants might have to start wearing those coin-dispensing machines to assist passengers who can't resist nature's call.

Flying across Ireland can't be that long a trip, so simply holding it for a couple of hours won't be that much of a hardship, but there will certainly be a line at the bathrooms at the terminal, both for passengers about to board, and those who have just landed.

RyanAir's new slogan will become the same one your mother always intoned before you left the house: "Go before you go." Or it'll cost you.