One time many years ago I had to fly into Philadelphia for a meeting. It was going to be a late arriving flight, as are pretty much all flights that start at the West Coast and end at the East Coast.
This one was particularly late. I’d long since learned to always fly non-stop on business trips if at all possible. However, this was a last minute trip, so I ended up getting routed through Indianapolis. There were severe plane issues in Indianapolis. It’s not a very large airport and there were hundreds of people waiting for connecting flights that were all late.
I don’t remember the reason now. I do remember that I got so late into Indianapolis that there was no food available, so I was absolutely ravenous. I think that somehow I managed to snag a bag of Skittles from a vending machine, which served as my dinner.
Finally, I got on the connecting flight and ended up getting to my hotel in Philly at about 2 in the morning.
I was hungry, tired, and worn out. I had an early morning meeting, so I knew that I had to get up in about 4 hours. I thought that I was the saddest person in Philly. However, this was not the case. In the room next to me, someone was playing the porn channel at full volume. What kind of person has the porn channel cranked up in a hotel at 2 in the morning? At least I was able to console myself that I wasn’t the biggest loser in the hotel that night.
I, who have trouble under the best of circumstances sleeping in strange beds, maybe managed an hour to ninety minutes of sleep before the alarm went off. I took a long hot shower hoping that that would turn me into a semblance of a human being. I was still pretty much completely wiped.
I did manage to make it to the plant in Philadelphia. This was my first time there, so someone took me on a tour. They were showing me where the coffee was, the refreshments, and then he stopped in front of a restroom and then pointed with his hand down the hall and said the men’s restroom is down there. My brain, in its somewhat befuddled state, only partially transcribed the message.
A couple of hours later, now even more exhausted and needing to answer the call of nature, I went off to the men’s room.
The first thing that I thought was, well, that’s odd, they only have stalls in Philadelphia. I wondered if that was some odd city ordinance (which wouldn’t be really all that odd because the city of Philadelphia is the only city that I’ve ever been to where you can only buy beer by the case. You cannot buy a half rack or even a six pack. It’s a law passed by the apparently surprisingly powerful pro drunk driver lobby).
Anyway, I entered one of the stalls and proceeded to do my business. Next to the toilet was a little metal container designed to store things. I’m now even more confused. I’d never seen that before. Perhaps this was an artifact from the days when smoking was allowed and it was some weird ash tray?
Be that as it may, I finished up, walked out of the stall and washed my hands. I looked over to my right and I saw a condom dispenser. Now I’m even more shocked. This is a Boeing facility. Why would there be a condom dispenser in the bathroom? Has the union here negotiated rights that its brother organizations have not even dreamed of yet?
I step closer. It’s not a condom dispenser. It’s a tampon dispenser. Even at that point, yes even then, my addled brain was trying to understand what a tampon dispenser was doing in the men’s room.
And then, the 100 watt light bulb finally went off in my head. Thankfully it was empty. I pretty much ran out of the bathroom and wildly checked the hallways for witnesses. I was clear.
However, I couldn’t control myself and I did tell a couple of my Philly friends, who then had extensive and repeated fun at my expense. To this day, every time that I enter a restroom, I always double and quite often triple check the bathroom sign to validate that I am in fact, entering the correct one.