The Dutchman is yet to acknowledge me, but I know he’s Dutch. And I know he knows I’m talking to him because we’re the only two in our row on the plane. And I know he knows I know he speaks English because I heard him ask for the ‘Chicken Rice’ dish when the waitress with the heavy eye make-up came past. I know he knows about pissing on planes too, because, just before the meal cart came around, he climbed over me and went to the toilet. I watched as the cubicle turned to ‘engaged’, and timed him. And I know it only took him two minutes to do whatever he was doing in there. So either he was vomiting (didn’t smell like it when he came back), or he was urinating. So he has urinated on a plane. I know that, so I continue:
'I mean, with shitting, you have the issue of a dirty toilet, a toilet too close to the kitchen of the girl you're sleeping with, the toilet without ventilation, the toilet without toilet paper. And don't get me started on shitting outdoors. My girlfriend once showed me a YouTube clip where a... Anyhow, all I'm saying is, urine is like Superman, and turbulence is its kryptonite. Poo, on the other hand, is like a normal human. Susceptible to many evils. Do you get it?'
I nudge him and he pauses his movie, puts down a spoon full of Chicken Rice and removes a headphone.
'Shit, piss, urine, crap! You get it?'
'You ever noticed Tom Cruise wears a lot of ¾ length pants in Mission Impossible? Like, a lot...?'
‘Where are you from?'
He puts back on his headphones.
I know he’s Dutch.
I stand and stalk the aisle, searching for a spare seat next to a new human. I sit next to a boy of roughly the same age, reading Bonjour Tristesse. I try and dissect his story like the most annoying human beings in the world do:
- Duty Free bag cradled between his feet
- Reading a French love story with photobooth shots of a pretty young girl as a bookmark
- En route to London by himself.
Ok - he’s on his way to meet a sweetheart. Bonjour Tristesse is the book she recommended he read on the flight over. The story of a romance between two persons of roughly the same age. Young adult sex on pine needles. Bottles of wine. Fast cars and France. The photobooth shots sent to him via snail mail. Something handwritten on the back. Used as a bookmark; a casual reminder. The Duty Free bag at his feet containing her favourite perfume. The scent he’s missed for six months, re-ignited when walking through the cosmetics aisles while in transit.
A smile comes across my face as the plane falls and then catches itself again. And I know that someone else now knows that turbulence is urine’s greatest enemy.