Airport essentials


AGMA is crazy.

More crazy than usual that is.  Perish the thought…

And no matter how crazy I said I was in the past, this is way worse. I’m still in that season of incredibly busyness that I wrote about a few months ago. Only it’s gotten busier.

For reasons that will slowly unfold like the delicate petals of a miniature rose (such a pedestrian image, I know…) over my next several blog posts, AGMA will not be stationary for most of the month of November.

What’s up with that?

Long story that I won’t bore you with now. But you just know that it’s coming…

Travel. Lots of travel. Not a bad thing at all.  Just a busy thing.

Which leads me into a topic that I have touched on earlier in several posts. “Touched down on”, may be the more accurate phrase.

The wonderful invention of John Harrington in 1596, brought to the masses by Thomas Crapper in the 1860’s…

The remarkable, incredible indoor toilet.

One of the fascinating aspects of travel, both domestically and internationally, is the large variety of toilets you come in contact with. Literally. And some you regret coming in contact with…

AGMA’s been known to carry a small packet of toilet seat covers in my travel purse to prevent any buyers remorse.

Men don’t really have the same appreciation for the vast depth and breadth of toilet types as women . Or the mystery involved. Much of men’s ‘business’ is conducted at the porcelain pseudo-potty – the urinal – out in the open for the world to see. They really don’t enter into the adventure that is ‘the stall’ unless they need to get serious about things.

And if other men are anything like Hubs, they will do as much as possible to prevent the stall ‘experience’ in public bathrooms. Hubs likes to have his library close by to wile away the hours… When we’re on the road, he’s been known to physically elbow me out of the way when we get back to our hotel room after a day of sightseeing and makes a beeline for the throne room. I guess he leaves his scent there or something.

AGMA could get quite poetic about all of the different toilets she’s adorned, but I’m not sure any of your are quite ready for that.

So today, we’ll confine our examination to toilets found in airport bathrooms.

I’d be willing to bet that 99.9% of people who fly either use an airport bathroom before taking off or after landing. Especially after landing. I know this for a fact from the huge lines outside of the ladies restrooms after any flight I’ve ever been on lands.

AGMA’s a double dipper – I gotta go both ways. That might be TMI…

Since Atlanta is my home, I’m not particularly proud of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport women’s toilets. It’s a mixed bag. Sometimes they will be really clean, but other times, you have to survey a couple of stalls before you find one that’s acceptable.

Slightly embarrassing since the Hartsfield-Jackson is the busiest airport in the world for passenger volume. Yes, I said the WORLD.


I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that millions and millions of people from all over the world are using my airport’s toilets. Many are coming to the U.S.A. for the first time from countries with spotless airport restrooms and toilets. It’s saddens AGMA that their first impression of the U.S. could be an empty toilet paper holder and a non-working flusher.

Oh, the humanity.

AGMA’s favorite airport toilets are at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (pictured above). Simple, clean and easy to use. They have those magic built-in toilet seat covers.  With a wave of my hand, I have a fresh parking pad.  It’s exhilarating.

I’ve never been to a Japanese airport. But I hear the toilets in Japan are amazing. Very high tech with all kinds of fancy options. Each one has a master control panel that gives you a curated, personalized ‘elimination’ experience second to none. From heated seats to jets of water for ‘personal cleansing‘ to automatic sanitizing and deodorizing, they are supposed to be the ultimate in bathroom comfort.

Plus I think they might even bake cookies for you to enjoy afterward.

Over the next month, I’m going to have the opportunity to try out many different toilets in both domestic and international airports. Stay tuned for the further adventures of “AGMA on the Road.”

But I’ll probably pass on any cookies…

πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει


I know, right…it’s all Greek to you.

FYI, the above phrase translates to “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” According to Plato in his dialogue titled Cratylus, this was written by Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (535 BC – 475 BC)

AGMA is aware that this is pretty heady stuff. Thank you Wikiquote.

I was going for “Nothing is constant except change.” but there seems to be some dispute as to who really said that. AGMA tries to avoid conflict at all costs.

Aside from having a name that 14 year old boys would love to make randy comments about, Heraclitus was a very wise man.

He was all about change.

And it’s more of a constant in our lives now than ever before in human history.

Just when you think you’ve mastered how to take advantage of the “smart” in your smart phone – or at least the 10% that you actually know about – an updated operating system downloads and boogers everything up.

“Rizzle frazzle what the hell sh*t frack damn now what??”, as heard in AGMA’s house after such an update.

Or SmartPhone V108.5 comes out. Now you have to go back to the very beginning and learn  the new 10% of the new phone that doesn’t operate at all like your old one.  Yet again.

Some of us have children or grandchildren who can help us. The lucky ones have children or grandchildren who actually do help us. There’s a difference.

AGMA’s still waiting for her younger son to reprogram our universal remote because we changed from cable to satellite. Over a year ago. In the meantime, our coffee table is once again littered with remotes of various shapes and sizes that don’t get along with each other at all.

Kind of like Congress.

There are dozens, nay, hundreds, of other examples of the constant changes in technology, meant to make our lives easier, that actually screw it up. At least in the short term.

Please don’t think AGMA is a “Make America Great Again” type who wants a general store/soda fountain on every corner, a black and white television with rabbit ears in every living room, and telephones connected to walls. With cords.

On the contrary, she has been known to be an “semi”-early adopter.

We bought our first PC in 1984 and had an email account shortly afterwards. We also had a Betamax back in the 80’s. I know, AGMA was young and foolish about the Beta thing…

I bought my first Prius in 2006 and got the first Google smart phone, the G1, when it came out in 2008. Both went better than the Betamax debacle.

AGMA also uses cloud storage for her pictures/videos. I just need to remember where they are – Dropbox, Amazon Photos or Google Drive.

I’m hoping the dementia onset will be delayed until I can figure it all out.

But there are times when AGMA takes great comfort in the unchanging nature of some things. Familiar things.  Things that I grew up with and have basically stayed the same my whole life.

The flush toilet for example. Invented by John Harington in 1596, but bought into common use in the late 1800’s by Thomas Crapper (14 year old boy alert!), the flush toilet is brilliant piece of engineering. Other than the occasional need for a plunger, it’s the execution of a near perfect concept in public sanitation that has withstood the test of time. And Hub’s occasional splurge of pork and beans.

And the iron. While the design has changed a bit over the years, it’s still basically a water chamber and a metal plate that gets hot, and is used to get wrinkles out of fabric. And, if too hot, as AGMA learned the hard way, melts synthetic fibers together into a disgusting lump that has an alarming smell. And sets off the smoke detector.

But that’s another post…

Other than setting the correct temperature (see above), there aren’t many tricks to the iron. You fill the water chamber (if you want to generate steam that can burn off your face), plug it in, and press it down on the wrinkled fabric strategically positioned on an ironing board.  The ironing board – yet another comfortingly unchanged household item.

AGMA is, of course, assuming that the iron hasn’t changed over the last 10 years or so. It has been that long since she has actually used one, but she’s pretty sure they’re still the same. She believes that if God had intended for her to continue to use an iron, God wouldn’t have put the $1.99 dry cleaner so close to her house.

And then there’s the toaster. Again, simplicity that’s hard to improve on. Bread, a heating element and time = toast. Pretty damn basic. And comforting.

Just make sure you unplug it before you stick a fork in to pry the toast out that got stuck.

So the next time your head starts feeling like it’s going to explode learning yet another “indispensable” app, or programming your new Nest, or figuring out the difference between Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and 10 other social media sites AGMA doesn’t even know about yet, go back to basics.

Think of the simple, familiar, unchanging, comforting toilet, iron and toaster.

You’re welcome.