There is a toilet at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport that just might be the most interesting toilet in the world.
I’m guessing that on the off chance that you’re a plumber your heart just skipped a beat.
I’m also guessing that if you’re not a plumber that your desire to keep reading just plummeted.
I’d better skip to the interesting part.
But not before pointing out that the most interesting part of the whole story isn’t that it’s true, it is, but how the toilet ended up being identified as interesting.
I’m guessing that on the off chance that you’re a plumber you don’t really care either way and even as I speak you’re busy forwarding this to all of your plumbing friends. No offense, but not really the demographic I was going for.
But I’ll take it.
Anyway, like all good true stories that are hard to believe it started off as a whisper. Complaints kept trickling in to airport management that people were missing their flights. One person complained that the watch they bought at the airport store didn’t work. Another blamed the ticketing agent. Still another the food court for slipping him a ‘mickey’.
Every story seemed to have a common theme; the passenger had plenty of time to catch their flight and had only slipped into the bathroom quickly before departure, only to arrive at the gate to find the plane long gone.
Most of the time the next flight was already posted with the requisite number of people milling around.
I’m guessing that on the off chance that you’re a plumber you’re probably fidgeting and saying “Get back to the toilet already!” You might even be regretting the decision to forward the story to all of your plumber friends before giving it a complete vetting.
Relax, you and your pipe-fitting brethren are in good hands.
Eventually an intrepid custodian was brought into the meeting to discuss the mysterious phenomena. What had been determined up until that point was that each of these passengers had gone into the same bathroom just before missing flight and each of them had subsequently showed approximately two hours late to their flight.
It defied reason. It defied logic. It defied another word for logic that would cement my unique writing style in your mind.
Eventually the intrepid custodian was sent to examine each stall to make sure there was no funny business going on. He returned to announce that there was nothing unusual to report… to an empty conference room!
“Where did everyone go?” asked the intrepid custodian to himself. Then he looked at his watch. It was two hours later than he expected. The other attendees had long-since left for the day.
The next morning the i. custodian hastily gathered everyone back together to let them know what had occurred. They showed various degrees of disbelief so he hastily herded them to the bathroom to see if he could duplicate the previous day’s efforts.
He went into the first stall, closed the door and flushed.
He went into the second stall, closed the door and flushed.
He went into the third stall, closed the door and flushed.
Nothing happened… or so they thought until one of them glanced down at their watch.
Two hours had passed.
I’m guessing that on the off chance that you’re a plumber you’re thinking this might be the best short story you’ve ever read. It has everything. Suspense. Intrigue. Plumbing. “Everyone at Local 690 has got to read this!”
“How did it affect us on the outside of the stall when it didn’t affect the other people in the bathroom before?” asked one of the stunned occupants of the men’s room.
“Are you familiar with the observer effect? Bell’s Theorem? The idea that by simply observing a situation that you can affect the measured result?” inquired one of the airports brighter individuals.
“No” replied the i. custodian… to nobody’s surprise.
“Gentlemen, we seem to have found the toilet that time forgot” suggested another one of the bespectacled bathroom-inhabitants.
“That comment wasn’t very helpful Dan” said one of the airports brighter individuals.
The group mulled over the situation for awhile.
“If this becomes common knowledge it could have negative repercussions on a global scale” one of the airports brighter individuals finally offered up.
“How so?” asked the i. custodian.
“Imagine a pilot finding out about this bathroom, being aware of it and somehow being transported two hours into the future… in the middle of a one hour flight.”
Everyone in the bathroom drew in a deep breath and nodded respectfully.
Who do I keep referring to the custodian as intrepid? Because this is when he leapt into action and removed the door to the stall. He casually walked in, gave the toilet a flush and nothing happened.
I’m guessing that on the off chance that you’re a plumber that you’re applauding his intrepidness.
Everyone went back to work.
So if you ever find yourself at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport you might want to duck into the men’s room and take a look at the stall without a door.
The most interesting toilet in the world.