On the 6,076th day

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‘’Billy, get up, go in the shower, and put your clothes on. Mom says we need to get to the airport two hours early. Hurry your skinny butt up.’’
‘’Shut up booger’’, I shouted on the top of my lungs.
Fear of airplane bathrooms is something real. You may not think so, but trust me it is. I am terrified of them. I can’t give you a perfect answer as for why, but I can tell you the many reasons they scare the living crap out of me. First of all, just look at them. How could you not tell me they don’t look scary? They are so small and compact. I feel like I can’t move an inch in either direction. The sound of the toilet flushing makes me feel like I’m going to be sucked in and drop 35,000 ft. The way the door opens and closes makes me feel trapped. The sliding motion of the lock assures me that it’s bound to get jammed. I don’t want to get stuck in this rectangular box. Some say this is the craziest thing they have ever heard in their lives, but I respond, ‘’Your crazy for going in them.’’
16 years 7 months and 25 days I have not put one fourth of my body towards an airplane bathroom. I have done everything in my power to not go into one. Everyone has their own coping methods with their set of fears, but I have limitations on mine. After all, there’s no clear cut solution one can do for being afraid to use a bathroom on an airplane. My plan is simple; I hold everything in until the plane lands. When the need arises, I twitch and can’t sit still. I know I’m in the danger zone because I feel my heart about to pop out of my chest. Sweat slowly trickles down the sides of my forehead. Goosebumps begin to erupt and my stomach feels like a sumo wrestler is resting on top of it. From here, my last resort is repeating the word ‘’goosefabaa.’’ That usually does the trick but it could only go so far.

My life changed on the 6,076th day. I knew it would. Going to the bathroom on an airplane is just something I could only avoid for so long. It was time to meet it face to face. During the school year, my family planned a 2-week long trip to Tanzania. I didn’t want to go. I got on knees and pleaded to my mother to let me stay with my grandma. She said, ‘’You think anyone cares if your scared to go the bathroom on an airplane, grow up Billy.’’ I then whispered to myself, ‘’Obviously she doesn’t understand how scary they are.’’ So the 6,076th day arrived and my alarm clock sounded off. It was four hours before departure and the first thought that came to my mind was ‘’I’m not going.’’ I began to imagine how the situation would play out and predict how many times I would have to go to the bathroom. For time’s sake, we’ll skip the paranoia and pick up the story when I was on the plane.
The plane took off and I was hopeless. It felt like my mind was in jail. There were no ways to escape, not one idea to keep my streak of avoidance from airplane bathrooms continuing. I sat in the isle seat, five seats up from the back of the plane thinking how no one understands my fear. They think it is a joke. They, those dare devil airplane bathroom goers, have no sense of compassion for a fear like this one. Once the captain turned off the fasten seat-belt sign, one by one I saw people make their way to the bathrooms. I studied carefully as they walked in and out. Finally, a sudden surge of readiness filled my body and I slowly got up. I pushed myself up from the chair and marched to the back of the plane where I was met by two middle age flight attendants discussing their marriages. The bathroom on the left opened first and a nine-year old kid appeared. At that moment, I felt like a complete idiot and kept repeating to myself ‘’C’mon Bill you could do it.’’ I went in and out in a matter of seconds. I probably set a record for the least amount of time spent in an airplane bathroom. I came out and thought I should be given a crown. My legs were shaking, but I had conquered a fear that had paralyzed me for too long. Tears streamed down my face for making it out.
We landed in Tanzania at 4:32 p.m. All of us were sluggish from the long flight, but I couldn’t have been happier. We got our luggage and waited for a bus to take us to Kunato Resort. Once on the bus, I slept. About an hour later I woke up, rubbed my eyes, and had a tingling sensation in my body. I had to use the restroom. I turned over my right shoulder and saw a bathroom stationed at the back of the bus. Instead, I walked up to the front and said, ‘’Sir, can we please pull over for a couple of minutes?’’ So, five minutes later the bus stopped on a dirt road. I walked about 25 yards east from where the bus was parked. I pulled down my pants and looked into the distance until I… ‘’Billy watch out’’, mom screamed. A lion darted out of the blue and pounced on Billy. Jonah, Billy’s younger brother, turned to his weeping mother and said, ‘’He had never been afraid of lions.’’





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sarahdelphine said...
Jan. 19, 2010 at 10:43 pm
Hilarious turn of events at the end. Tragic, but funny.
Well done.
 
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