Qualifying for Pacific Northwestern Citizenship

(This post was originally published on November 27, 2002.)

Now, I know I’m supposed to be talking about the trip and giving details about how beautiful it is in Seattle and all that sort of thing. And I’ll go ahead and do that, I’ll let you know that Seattle is absolutely breathtaking, especially in sunlight. I’ve been here four times and this is the first time I’ve been here that I’ve seen blue sky.

I’ll go ahead and tell you that they have hot pink sunsets here, and that if you didn’t know any better you’d try to reach into the sky at dusk and pluck the cotton candy from the treetops. In the mornings everything is covered in an inch of frost, a gooey coldness that’s just shy of ice, and patches of evergreen trees look like upside down lime popsicles dangling precariously from muddy, grassy knolls.

I’ll also tell you that people here are inexplicably nice, not because they need something from me, which I’m very used to, but because they’re human and that’s what humans do, humans wave hello and give the right of way at stop signs. Humans in Seattle stop me and want to know my dog’s name and why he’s shivering so violently, and they know of a great place over in Bothell that sells very cute puppy sweaters. I seriously just want to squeeze everyone here, and then fold them up and put them in my purse for later.

So I’ve told you these things first so that I could tell you about the thing that happened last night, and what happened last night isn’t necessarily related to our voyage up the coast and sojourn in the Pacific Northwest, but I wanted to talk about it anyway because I couldn’t wait until next week.

And you have to know something first, you have to know that I am very comfortable with bodily functions, and that I grew up in a family that forced me to be comfortable with bodily functions. I can handle farts and poops and toots, and I actually find the act of farting and pooping and tooting moderately funny. Fine. I hear the word poop and I can’t stop giggling like a textbook Freudian 3-yr old boy.

So last night I was in the bathroom at a movie theater in Monroe, Washington, and I’m finishing going #1 in one of the 10 stalls when somone probably four stalls down from mine lets out a fart that almost sends her flying up through the concrete in the ceiling, out the roof of the building. It was a five-syllable fart, a cockadoodledo fart, a fart that shook me and every other person in that bathroom out of our mortal coils.

And like I said, I’m comfortable with that. I fart, you fart, we fart, they fart. People in bathrooms fart. If there’s a place on earth where you should be able to fart, where it’s wholly legal to fart, it’s a bathroom, for crying out loud.

But there, there in Monroe, Washington, perhaps all over the Pacific Northwest, I guess it’s okay to laugh at someone’s bellowing, yodeling fart in a public restroom, because right after she let that stuttering bomb rip, a woman in the stall next to mine started laughing uncontrollably. And I’m not talking about a gentle, muffled laugh, or a laugh that could possibly pass for cough. The woman in the stall next to mine was belly laughing, cackling like a crazed hyena, heehawing at the other woman’s fart.

And I’m trying not to laugh, I’m trying to do the right thing, the proper thing, the snooty LA thing where it’s just too crass to even acknowledge the existence of a bodily function. But this woman in the stall next to mine is laughing so hard she’s snorting, and I’m literally choking on huge, bowling ball-sized giggles.

And when the woman in the stall next to the laughing woman’s stall starts to laugh, when there are two Pacific Northwestern women laughing at another Pacific Northwestern woman’s fart, I totally lose it and erupt in hiccuping, spurting guffaws.

So we laugh and laugh and laugh and we all know that we have to get it out because we can’t exit the stalls still laughing. And we wait until we all know that the woman who farted is so sufficiently traumatized that she won’t leave her stall until next April, and we slowly exit our respective stalls. And we’re all looking at each other in silence like, can you believe the magnitude of that fart, was that not the loudest thing you have ever heard?

And I felt at that moment that these people are my people and that I could totally live here forever.