When You Gotta Go

Dec. 26, 2017
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This edition of “Totally Boggus” is just that, Totally Boggus. Oh, and by the way, Boggus, as pronounced by me is Bogus. Don’t ask me why; it’s something to do with a family feud some zillion of years ago in a galaxy far, far, away. So, if you’ve been reading this and not really clued into the awesomeness on this play on words, well it’s Bogus, not Bogg-us, and if I’m having to tell you that, then this article, probably isn’t really for you.

Unlike the typical, serious, hard-hitting exposes you’ve come to expect, this article will be some of my personal traveling musings. This is due to a sudden and recent hiring of the entire IBT (Institute of Boggus Talk) team to assist in the discovery of MH370. Yes, the task for the IBT in this search will be to locate MH370 via dowsing or witching, (look it up). While this old-school technology is certainly not new, and to many not known, newer technology has not turned up the aircraft. Sometimes it is better to go back to the beginning. More on this in future editions.
Don’t you just love the watching “restroom roulette” game on aircraft? It seems to happen in three distinct stages.

Stage 1: These are the people that didn’t “go before you go” routine. They get on the plane, find their seats, obscure the aisle while wrestling their bags into the overhead bin and then, apologetically, swim upstream (much the same as Salmon), against enplaning passengers to visit the Loo. I call this process “Drop and Go” (DAG). In terms of the upstream swimmers during boarding, these passengers can be recognized by the urgent and pained look in their eyes that are more easily distinguished from the resigned and deflated look of passengers who must heft their carry-on baggage from the rear of the plane to the L1 door due to lack of overhead bin space.

Stage 2: Like the start bell of a horse race, the “ding” indicating that seatbelts can be unfastened, signals the start of Stage 2, or as I like to call it the Dunny Express. As soon as the bell tolls (and it tolls for you…sorry couldn’t help that) there is mass movement toward any nearby lavatory as people jockey for position in queues at each water closet facility. I often wonder why they do not let people into the privy based on airline status similar to boarding policies. Then I remember how well that works and the “every man for themselves” mantra seems to be the way to go.

Of course, Stage 2 is also the most opportune time to inflict maximum impact, in the “main cabin” as flight attendants attempt to manhandle hundred pound carts down the aisle to provide more ammunition to passengers that will seed the next round of the latrine Olympics, known as Stage 3. For those that adhere to the rules of not blocking the aisle while the seeding is going on, and not congregating around the flight deck john, it becomes an exercise in finding the precise time, when the carts are no longer in the aisle, the queues outside the jacks is no more, and before Stage 3 takes place. You can always recognize those in this phase of the Stage 2.5 process. I know you’ve seen them and probably have sat next to one, if you are not one yourself. First there is the stowing of the seat-back tray, unplugging the headphones and putting away any electronic device you may have been working on. Then there is the sitting upright and twisting your head to visually access the queue conditions of the bog. This is followed, immediately by a pause as if to ascertain if you are aware of the need to exit the row, assuming you are between the potty participant and the aisle. This is then followed by some low-level mumbling of an apology and the need to get out. If you are like me, you will wait until the blowing point, like the Hindenburg, before you will ask someone to get up and let you out. Even when it becomes difficult to see, due to fluid retention, you will pray that the person will need to go themselves and thereby leave you an easy out to follow. I don’t know, I just refuse to ask and be “that person.”

Stage 3: Of course we all know stage 3. This immediately follows the captain’s announcement to the flight attendants to prepare for landing. It is during this 15-minute window that roughly one-third of the aircraft inhabitants decide it is time for a final visit to the head. I’m not sure if this is only a result of being served during stage 2, a “go before you go” routine, or something to do with Pavlov’s learning of an involuntary reflex rule, but inevitably there is always someone in the box on approach. I’ve even seen one person not come out until after landing. I thought of applauding but then thought better of it. I wasn’t sure if washing hands was more appropriate than needing a shower for this participant.

The next time you fly, instead of watching a movie, reading a book, or doing something silly like working (and who can really work on a plane?), try looking out for the three stages of Restroom Roulette. It’s far cheaper than buying wi-fi and a lot more fun.

Gotta go?

Roddy is the Buildings Service Group Leader for the Aviation Practice at RS&H. A 30-year aviation professional, he is an architect with a Bachelors’ of Design from Texas Tech University. Roddy is the 2017 Board Chair of the Airport Consultants Council (ACC) and sits on the Board of Directors for the International Partnering Institute (IPI) as well as the International Association of Airport Executives (IAAE).

About the Author

Roddy Boggus | Vice President of Aviation

Roddy Boggus, AIA, NCARB, is a senior vice president of aviation at RS&H. A 30-year aviation professional, he excels in both airline- and airport-based practices as well as alternative delivery methods. Roddy is a facilities expert who has helped many large and medium hub airports streamline and provide exceptional service stakeholders through passenger flow, queuing, and operational efficiencies. He is a former Board Chair for the Airport Consultants Council (ACC) and Airports Council International (ACI) and has also served the International Association of Airport Executives (IAAE). He can be reached at [email protected].