I’m a pretty polite farter. I may let the tiny ones slip out in my cube* or other settings where I think they’ll have no impact on innocent passers-by, but if I feel I have something brewing that might register on the Richter scale, I’ll head to the bathroom or even outside, where I have a more direct chance of making my way into an Al Gore PowerPoint presentation.
*The moment I fart in my cube is usually the moment that every co-worker in the office finds the need to drop by and have me proof something. I usually tell them to come back later when they don’t smell like they just farted.
Of course, all bets are off around my posse. We’re the kinds of rebels who drink beer, wear flannel, play loud music, laugh at children who can’t compute logarithms and fart proudly in front of each other.*
*I don’t have a posse, so none of that stuff is really true. But I do fart in front of the boyfriend. And, for some reason, my brother-in-law and I share a kind of fart-positive symbiosis. We really have a gas together.
I’ve never had a fart so caustic, though, where I felt the need to light a match to burn off its lingering toxicity. In fact, I’d never even heard of the idea until a guy I used to work with (hi, Marc!) came up with the idea of marketing BathrooMatches™ for just such occasions. Marc is still toiling away in the same line of work, though, so I’m assuming BathrooMatches™ never really burned up the fart-masking market. So to speak.
Politeness notwithstanding, there are a few places where even the most epic of farts can rush an entire room without even being noticed: Smoky bars. Funeral homes. Foo-foo stores that sell scented soaps and candles. Long car trips with a dog you can blame. Dance floors where the music is so loud it overwhelms all your other senses. Airplanes with all their whirring engines and fast-circulating dry air and lingering scents of spilled diesel fuel.
And on an airplane—where they specifically tell you that smoking is banned and they remind you that there are smoke detectors in the bathrooms, which they always call “lavatories” because “bathroom” probably offends the delicate sensibilities of people who honestly think that letting gays get married will somehow cause straight people to get divorced even faster—only a complete moron would light a match for any reason.
Which is what makes this story so funny.
You have to admire the woman on that plane for her misguided sense of politeness. She was probably horrified beyond belief that her attempts to hide a fart grounded an entire airplane. But every person she delayed on that flight—and on all subsequent flights domino-delayed by her actions—deserves to give her a blue-water swirly.
I just wouldn’t bend her forward over the toilet to do it.