There are a lot of things that I experienced while on a trip in Atlantic City, New Jersey last year. I had a beautiful ocean view room, enjoyed some time on the beach, good conversation with my Aunt, and finally conquered a long-held fear that the book “Jurassic Park” was too scary for me to read. I have a very active imagination, and while in the midst of my eyes devouring a description of a particularly gory scene, I may or may not have entertained a split second conviction that a dinosaur was outside my twelve story hotel window. It wasn’t, but I also may or may not have slept with the light on. I didn’t, but the television may or may not have stayed on while I slept…
Invisible dinosaur notwithstanding, that was not my most exciting experience or the one I’ll remember the most. The thing I will remember, and without prompting, what the other 100 people I traveled with will recall, was the plane ride home.
As in the case of most disasters, the calm before the storm was misleading. Like the tide rushing back to hug the shore, the cause of the quiet snickering in the rear of the plane bubbled forward. I didn’t realize what all the tittering was about until the wave crashed over the 5th row, where my Aunt and I were seated.
Someone, and that person will be blessedly, and forever unknown, ate something that disagreed with them.
Wait–that feels too polite. They ate something that died right before it was ingested and then that something fought back inside their intestines and escaped through their nether regions as steam heat.
It came in seismic waves and permeated the 100 seat cabin. The fresh scent of an amorous skunk spraying the athletes foot infested, smoldering heels of Satan would have perfumed the air like lavender and vanilla in comparison to this olfactory abuse. Naturally, everyone being adults, and most of them over 50, reacted exactly like you would expect.
Then more people started giggling. Arms began thrusting up throughout the cabin, turning on the air, turning off the air, searching for a reprieve. Some people threw their coats over their head to block the radiation of the smell. Desperation quickly set in; one man was spotted trying to smell his own armpit for relief.
There was even brief concern voiced for the culprit. Someone remarked that his or her underwear would obviously have to be thrown away when we landed, possibly even incinerated.
At one point, the Flight Attendant had to make some announcements about our descent. She began, got tickled, tried again, laughed harder, and then finally said, “I am so sorry about the odor. It’s horrible! We only have about 15 minutes left before we land.”
Now that it was finally out in the open, fingers began being pointed here and there, and the point of origin was narrowed down, but still never fully deduced.
This was also not a one time event. The waves came about every five minutes, until finally, even the pilot was aware and asked the Flight Attendant, “What is going on out there? What is happening??” The rancid odor had permeated a bullet-proof door. Bullet-proof.
Mercifully, we landed. The beleaguered Flight Attendant picked up her intercom once again. “Welcome to Louie-ville! And I bet you’ve never been so happy to be home!”
The entire cabin erupted in applause.
I’ve heard that being in the trenches and surviving a traumatic experience brings people together. As everyone stood up en masse to deplane, I think the saying held true. We all did feel a little closer to each other, having survived the Stink Bomb of August 2013.
Or at least we would have, had we not all rushed the exit like basketball fans after a home win.