(Though having nothing to do with the story, I thought this urinal deserved recognition for it’s incredible hanging height. That’s practically sink level. I had to use my tippytoes for Christ’s sake.)
The other night I was reading in bed while Brooke was in the bathroom, when suddenly I heard her start giggling. So when she walked back into the bedroom, I asked, “Did you make a funny fart?” and she replied, very confusedly, so confused that the look on her face bordered on concern that perhaps I had had a stroke and the lack of oxygen to my brain was causing me to speak gibberish, “Did I what?”
I explained that I heard her chuckling in the bathroom, meaning she must have farted and then laughed about it. No, she informed me a little more sternly than necessary, she was in fact brushing her teeth and laughed when she thought of something funny to write for a story she was working on. Then this: “Do you really make yourself giggle from farting loudly on the toilet?” to which I replied, “Well, not just on the toilet . . .” which I don’t think was the answer she was looking for.
It turns out Brooke and I have very differing opinions on (I’ll use the Native American term) passing wind. We both agree on some basic tenets, like there should be no carte blanche. For example, I once dated a girl who refused to sneeze in front of me because she had a deep seeded fear that I would never want to have sex with her again if I saw her “expelling mucus” face. After one of the longer, more tedious and scientifically indubitable conversations of my life, I convinced her that unless she blew snot ON my face, I was cool with her sneezing. Ironically, I subsequently lost all interest in her (sexual and otherwise) when I inadvertently caught her making her orgasm face, the memory of which haunts me to this day.
So no carte blanche. No laissez fart. No rip ‘em if you got ‘em. Like my grandmother always said, there is a time and a place for everything, and just like you should never tip a bell hop before he checks your toilet, so to should you never pass gas in mixed company. Fine.
But, I argue, there is the disturbing truth that farting is inherently funny. Farting is the Ricky Gervais of bodily functions. Situation aside, the mere act of it making noise is a cause for hilarity. Even Freud thinks so, and he’s a pervert.
Case and point (about farting, not Freud): The other night, Brooke and I are making our rounds at a few local events. The first is a party for the opening of a spa, the second is a party for art, and the third and final destination was a Diesel launch party. It’s not like they were launching something cool like a rocket – just a line of perfumes, yet clearly this perfume was of the utmost importance. The event was large, held in a three-story warehouse-style building with custom art on every wall, and bartenders on every floor. It was the typical
Brooke and I decide not to stay, but I insist on using the bathroom before leaving. After winding through a maze of backroom corridors, I find the men’s room. I approach the only available urinal, which is the short one. The one made for kids, which must be some sort of mandatory municipal code because as far as I can tell whatever this building is zoned for, it’s definitely not for kids. So I’m kind of bending down, a little bit hunched at the waist just to make sure that my downward trajectory still achieves enough forward arc. To my right is the only other urinal, a normal sized one. Standing at it is a man dressed like the American version of a British author: jeans, black sports coat, striped
Just then, though, I am distracted by the noises coming from the stall to the right of American British author. It’s one of those deluxe-sized stalls (handicapped, I think they’re called) with it’s very own sink and everything. I know this because when I first entered the bathroom, the door to the stall was slightly ajar and I saw a man pulling down his pants, either unaware that the door was open or unaware that some three hundred or so years ago crapping became a private activity.
The first noise isn’t much – some shifting and shimmying, followed by a deep exhale, an audible ahh; like in a comedy movie when someone driving a car narrowly avoids a calamitous crash, lets out a simple sigh, and immediately drives into something much funnier like a pile of manure or an unexpected gang war. But no sooner does everything go quiet, American British author next to me still texting away, me relenting and beginning my process, than something suddenly goes terribly wrong. First a noise. Gas, most likely, but not normal gas. Not a release; an explosion. BAM. “Oh my.” He seems concerned. I am as well, and consider saying something, but really – what to say? Then another: BAM, BLOOM. “Ugh . . . no. No, this – Ohh.” The utterances now are less of concern, more of confusion – the sounds an infant might make if one had the physiological development and psychosocial wherewithal to try to wrap their head around the process of shitting for the very first time.
Then this: “Brother.” Just that word, said with so much disbelief and resignation that I feel in my heart of hearts that I am ear witnessing an existential bowel movement. A flurry of noise and action (“Christ!” “Oh what?” Why…”), but the mood has lightened to such a degree that I can’t help but chuckle a bit – the only problem being that I’m at the kiddie urinal. My margin for error? Small. My errors? Wide. If Grissom from C.S.I. had surveyed the scene, seeing the unfortunate moisture collected atop the urinal, he would have concluded that “something funny happened here.” Meanwhile, American British writer finished up on his Blackberry finished up without ever acknowledging the situation, despite the fact that for a solid 15 seconds this room had reached Rescue 9-1-1 proportions.
I washed up and left before the guy from the stall ever came out, but as I left I did (I had to) look back through the slightly open door. I didn’t see much, but I did see a big ass smile on the guy’s face.
SO . . .