Is there anything more horrifying than having to urinate on an airplane and having no access to the lavatories?
Not to us. Dudes in the News has a bladder the size of a pea (holding our… pee?). We empathize, then, with recent urination-related troubles suffered by news-making airline passengers.
The first is a man named Gerard Depardieu. He is closely related to the exalted French actor Gerard Depardieu. This is because he is, in fact, the exalted French actor Gerard Depardieu.
Monsieur Depardieu, 62, was aboard CityJet Flight AF5010 departing from Paris (pop. 2,18,949) to Dublin (pop. 525,383) on August 16 when he was overcome with the need to wee-wee.
“Je veux pisser, je veux pisser!” (pron. pee-SAY) he cried, according to an August 19 post on the BBC-News website. (The stiff-upper-lip news organization provided helpful parenthetical translation: “(English: I want to pee.)”)
Because the plane was taxiing to the runway, flight attendants asked M. Depardieu to remain seated. Frantic, M. Depardieu allegedly relieved himself into a bottle given him by his traveling companion, the French actor Edouard Baer. Alas, the bottle overflowed, causing something of a mess.
For their part, passengers exhibited notable sang-froid. “No one said anything” while M. Depardieu micturated, a witness told Europe 1 Radio, the Sunday Times (of London) reported August 17. The witness added, “It all happened with courtesy.”
This reaction is, of course, typically French. Americans, a noisome bunch, would do well to take note.
The witness further noted that M. Depardieu appeared inebriated.
But a few days later, M. Baer issued a statement to the French press on M. Depardieu’s behalf. It said that the exalted French actor has “prostate problems” and that the incident was “very humiliating for him.”
It also said M. Depardieu “was also stone-cold sober at the time.”
There are lessons to be learned here, and we will name them as soon as we get past the fact that “French press” doubles as a description for the Gallic media and for a coffee-filtering system.
Coffee is a diuretic. Thus it causes the human body to need to wee. This need strikes fear in the heart of he who is denied access to proper facilities.
M. Depardiu is French, and therefore likely enjoys coffee. Evidently he also has “prostate problems.” In effect, then, the French press reported on a Frenchman’s pressing need to, as M. Depardieu so eloquently put it, “pisser.”
This is absolutely delightful, and explains why, though they likely will never win a war, the French are so much more je ne sais q’uoi (trans.: ill-bathed) than we.
At least M. Depardieu relieved himself into a bottle, if his friend M. Baer is to be believed.
Such was not the case, evidently, with championship U.S. skier Robert “Sandy” Vietze, of South Warren, Vermont (pop. 1,729) during an August 11 overnight flight from Portland, Oregon (pop. 566,141) to New York City (pop. 8,175,133).
Mr. Vietze, 18, allegedly urinated into the plane’s aisle and onto a seat, according to a next-day New York Post dispatch.
Our general empathy for those who suffer from bursting bladders withers somewhat in Mr. Vietze’s case given two facts: 1.) authorities said he had consumed “eight alcoholic beverages”; and 2.) he allegedly urinated on a sleeping 11-year-old girl.
Being tanked is no reason to urinate on a child, especially a snoozing one. Imagine her dreams. Did she picture being chased by a monster wielding a garden hose? Or, worse, was she dancing joyfully in a meadow under a light rain, only to wake to find…. But one cannot go on.
We would like to point out that jet airplanes, at least the many we’ve ridden on, come equipped with bathrooms. These are located in the back of the plane and, on some flights, in the middle and at the front as well.
Once a plane is airborne, the lavatories are available to one and all, including those deep in their cups. So there really is neither call nor excuse for taking a leak into aisles and/or upon unsuspecting children of either gender. In the end, then, doing so just seems churlish.
Why did Mr. Vietze act thus? He told authorities he “did not realize I was pissing on [the girl’s] leg.”
Mr. Vietze, a one-time hopeful for the 2014 Olympics skiing competition now dismissed from the U.S. team for his antics, might as well have added that he did not realize he also was pissing on his athletic career.
Is there an epidemic of inebriated airline passengers peeing in the middle of planes?
One is hard pressed (French pressed?) not to draw such conclusion after adding to the case of Robert Vietze that of Michael Aitken, of New Zealand.
Halfway through an 11-hour JetStar flight from Auckland (pop. roughly 1.3M) to Singapore (pop. 4,409,184) on June 27, Mr. Aitken, 20, allegedly tinkled in the aisle, making him and Mr. Vietze blood—or at least bodily-fluids—brothers.
Happily, Mr. Aitken managed to steer clear of children. Sadly, he sprayed a man’s leg and soaked a woman’s scarf, according to a June 29 story in the New Zealand Herald written by a reporter with the charmingly alliterative name of Hayley Hannan.
“Everyone was yelling at him, and he slowly became aware that he was being uncouth,” passenger Amos Chapple told the Herald. He added that Mr. Aitken “and his mate were sitting there and mixing [whiskey] in Burger King cups. Six hours later they were catatonic.”
At the airport in Singapore, Mr. Chapple, who had sat next to the piddle puddle for the flight’s latter five hours, confronted Mr. Aitken.
“I told him that he had pissed everywhere and he looked quite shocked,” Mr. Chapple said.
In other words, Mr. Aitken appears to have drunk himself into a blackout.
As are so many who emerge from that condition, Mr. Aitken later was deeply contrite, according to a July 12 Herald story scripted by the self-same Ms. Hannan.
“My behavior was just disgusting,” Mr. Aitken said. “It was inappropriate and I’m going to do everything I can to make it right.”
He added that the last thing he remembered thinking was “I have had a bit to drink.” And then he fell asleep—only to have his blackout Doppelganger take a leak into the plane’s aisle, drawing international attention to Mr. Aitken.
This suggests that the horrors of being unable to access proper bathroom facilities, not to mention being blotto beyond compare, are transatlantic in scope. We suggest that the world’s airlines convene a summit meeting to address these pressing issues.
If they do, we further suggest tight security and a media (but not drunken) blackout.
After all, they wouldn’t want any leaks.
Dave Ford is a San Francisco writer whose work has appeared in Spin, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SF Weekly, The Advocate, and a host of other periodicals. He writes the blog Dave Ford, and is a certified yoga instructor who teaches at various venues in his home city.
Illustration by Bion Harrigan. Bion Harrigan keeps his head firmly planted in the clouds and has done so since the earliest days of a youth misspent idly daydreaming, reading Mad magazine, and drawing scary monsters and super creeps. He continues to spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming and drawing at his home in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Other dudes, who, previously, have been “in the news”