A troubled young man relates a recent unpleasant experience to Salon agony aunt Cary Tennis. The poor fellow was stranded on the tarmac after his flight was canceled when a trauma occurred.
The flight crew said we could stand in the aisles, which several people did. A 60-ish man across the aisle from me stood up, but he violated an unwritten rule of airplane-aisle etiquette: Always face fore or aft when standing and, if possible, stand alongside a seat back so you don't crowd the personal space of a still-seated person. No, this guy stood with his butt inches from my face. Within moments, I smelled something awful. Could it be?
Oh yes, it could.
I had my iPod headphones on, so I hadn't heard anything. I pulled them off, and within seconds heard a faint fart coming from the backside that was all but in my face. Then came the smell again. And then he farted again! I couldn't believe it. I turned my air nozzle on full and pointed it at his butt, but it did little good. He farted probably five times in the course of a minute and showed no inclination to apologize or even make his way to the lavatory.
Cary's response, boiled down to the relevant sentence, by the way: "Are we not sitting idly by every day as powerful people fart in our faces with impunity? "
Are we? Err, not? Are we not?
We encourage you to send stories to Cary along the lines of "I was stuck on a crowded downtown 6 train when an a cappella group took a shit on me." Make sure to toss in a question about what you should have done; it increases the likelihood of the thing getting printed for Cary's self-reflections.