Rarely do I ever feel as vulnerable as when I’m using the toilet on an airplane, and I think it has everything to do with someone trying to figure out how to talk about where they found my body if the plane should crash. Like, I’d rather be the one they found still in her seat with the cell phone pressed to her ear having just called her daughter to say her last goodbye. Not the one sitting on the commode with her pants around her ankles, a wad of toilet paper in her right hand because the plane hit the ground before she could finish her business.
I had to think about this six times yesterday on the flight back from New York, every time I waddled to that tiny compartment to offer relief to a bladder that would not shut up. For those of you who have never been inside a bathroom stall on an airplane, just imagine someone closing the lid to your coffin. And that panic? The feeling that you’re going to suffocate as they lower you into the ground? Yeah, you’ve got to ignore that part because three or four other passengers are standing outside your coffin waiting for their turn. So hurry up, and if your baby is crowding your bladder like mine was all day yesterday, sorry, but there’s no room to contort your body into a position to free up your pipeline. Not unless you can stick your foot behind your head. And if you’re one of those people who can, by god, you better hope the plane doesn’t go down right that instant. WOMAN FOUND PANTSLESS, CONTORTED INTO A PRETZEL.
On the way to the airport Sunday afternoon I remembered that I hadn’t talked to my father yet, so I called him and let him know that I was going to be on the TODAY show the following morning. He said that if he had to, he’d make the sacrifice to get up early to see my appearance, and that’s when I reminded him what year it is. That some people? They have bathrooms INSIDE THEIR HOMES. There are things called DISHWASHERS and ANSWERING MACHINES and get this! They even make these little boxes THAT CAN RECORD LIVE TELEVISION. That’s when he reminded me how much my brother was going to enjoy ALL THAT MONEY left to him in the will.
The flight to New York was fine, but we didn’t get into the city until 12:30AM and then didn’t get into bed until 2AM. Then we were up at 5:30AM getting ready, over to the studio by 7AM, done with taping at 8:30AM, then back to check out of the hotel. The flight home was just a total nightmare, five and a half hours of someone tugging on the back of my seat, the seat in front of me reclined into my six-months-pregnant belly, and a frustrated baby inside taking out her anger on my bladder. Last night when the cabbie dropped us off at the house, a foot of snow blanketing the driveway, my body starting screaming at me: I HATE YOU. I HATE YOU. I HATE YOU. And I was all, I KNOW. I HATE ME, TOO.
Not two minutes inside the door, and my father calls to tell me he watched the segment! Great job, he said. And also! Looks like his youngest daughter has put on some weight! In fact, that’s what he turned to tell my step-mother when Meredith Vieira introduced me. Look! Heather’s fat!
If that wasn’t EXACTLY what I wanted to hear right after getting off that plane.
I sternly corrected him, let him know the proper term was GLOWING, not FAT, and then I went and ate a spoonful of whipped cream cheese cake frosting.
For those of you who didn’t catch it yesterday, here’s the segment from the TODAY show. Maybe I should say that the camera adds ten pounds, but who cares. I don’t plan on being pregnant ever again, so I’m going to embrace these pounds with glee. It probably doesn’t help the scale of things that the other participant, the lovely Laura Fortner, weighs about 60 pounds soaking wet, and that she’s obviously terrified that the enormous pregnant lady sitting next to her is going to reach over and eat her at any given moment. Because come on, it looks like I’ve swallowed Matt Lauer: