Of Airplane Toilets and Flying S#its
Airplane toilets – always a mystery but quite an amusing thing. Yes, you read it right. In this blog, we are going to venture into the dark secrets of airplane lavatories. Yes, I like to touch the sensitive or gross topics once in a while with my blog. So continue reading at your own risks. Put a clipper on your nose if the smell is too hard for you.
I like airplane rides. I like the part specially when we are in the air and the plane no longer tries to achieve altitude, a place when you are totally in the air defying gravity and showing your middle finger to Newton. And then the beautiful air-hostess passes by, smiles at you and hands you a beer, you feel like Caligula! And then the movie screen goes on and you start watching it. And then after sometime, having had all the beers, you feel to pee. You go to the airplane toilet and do your thing. And then when you push the flush button, all you hear is a ‘Swooooosh’. Amazing, isn’t it? I mean there is no water [maybe there is a little bit], but it’s mainly air; suction at its best.
Given my thirst and quest for knowledge, I look down the hole and asked “Wow, how did you do that?” But the toilet is not going to answer that, right? So I look down deep to find nothing but darkness. So I flushed once more, just for fun. And I am not proud of it, but I actually took a flight home once instead of the train just to push the flight flush button, play with the tissues and see one of technologies greatest miracles. The first time I did that I thought that the airplane toilet actually flushes everything out right into the sky and the shit gets lost somewhere among the clouds. And then I started thinking more. Have you ever felt like a tiny drop fall on your face when you are walking on the streets on a bright sunny day? There you go – I thought I found answer to one of nature’s mysteries.
Turns out, I was wrong. Damn Google and Wikipedia! Did you know that there is a complete page on Wikipedia about Airplane Lavatory? I didn’t want to know that the wastes are collected, separated and treated in a specially devised tank system. I would rather prefer believing that they get lost somewhere among the clouds and once in a while a tiny drop gets away and lands on someone’s face; one of life’s unpredictable uncertainties.
But if you want to know, here is how it works. When you flush, it opens a valve in the sewer line and the vacuum in the line sucks the content out of the bowl and into the tank. The flush actually works in two stages, first a small quantity of water is released and then a powerful vacuum is activated for around three seconds. There is no visible result, only a scary vacuum noise and then, everything is still. But come to think of it, this tank where everything goes in must be an amazing thing. I mean there is a lot of air going in there and it should be smart enough so as not to let anything out, isn’t it? Man, the pressure on this thing is huge, more than the pressure I am getting from my parents to get married.
And did you know that the early toilets in the airplanes were simple buckets? I tried Googling, but I couldn’t find how they worked with that and I didn’t want to explore more because I didn’t want to end up in links which gives graphical evidences. A man’s got to eat sometime you know. But it must be freaking funny using buckets. Oh God, I don’t even want to imagine how the situation would be like. What if the passengers had to bring their own buckets? Imagine one guy forgets to bring one and he asks his co-passenger, “Bro, can I borrow your bucket? I need to make number two.” And the other guy replies, “Sure bro, here, take it. But never return it back. Ever.”
Oh man, this is why I love the stone age.
But as much as I like it, I still have this apprehension when it comes to flying. You might think it is stupid, but I think it is quite logical. Well, it’s nothing too serious, but sometimes I feel what would happen if the plane ran out of fuel. I know that they fill the tank before the flight but hypothetically what would happen if the plane actually ran out of fuel? It would stop in mid air and would fall like you see in the cartoon right? How would it be if you were sitting on the airplane toilet at that time? Whoops!
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