Isn't it fun to spell "airplanes" like that?
Well, anyway. I'm a big ole fat person but I'm constantly forgetting it, thanks to a combination of size 26 being available around the clock at at (hang head) Wal-Mart and enough self-esteem to make an idiot of myself at concerts or design a five-selection dessert sampler plate at the buffet.
Once in awhile, like whenever I want to go somewhere in a plane, like right now, as spring break looms, I remember that I'm big and will not only be uncomfortable but I might make my seatmates uncomfy, too. In the past I've always been ultra-considerate when flying: keep the elbows in, arms crossed, knees tight together, hug the window if possible and don't get up for any reason... but I think I might be bigger now. I'm not sure. I don't want to find out the hard way. I tell myself that travel should be my incentive to get into shape, but then I find myself planning road trips to southern Utah while carefully ignoring the point value of a whole jar of organic nacho cheese dip.
Hey, by the way, I'm typing this using my new laptop battery - wheee! I have everything at max brightness and I still, allegedly have almost 2.5 hours left. It's only taken me about three years to stop cursing the short lives of the new batteries I bought with the computer and go ahead and get off the AC teat once more, and I'm loving it. Maybe I'll go ahead and get another one. Meanwhile, The wireless stuff should arrive by Monday - oh, the coming bliss!
I have to finally get all this going because I'm just so much more mobile now. That, and it's a lot easier to dump a few gigs of photos onto the hard drive or a CD than it is to keep buying 1 gig CF cards.
So back to those fat people flying around. We live in a cruel society. People treat you differently when you're fat. They assume you're slow and stupid. They're indiscreet with their noises of disgust when traveling in youth-packs. They say, sometimes as a friend because they just feel that close to you, that their human compassion has to stop somewhere, and where better than with people who have two legs and therefore no excuse for being overweight? (And you have to understand that "no excuse" actually means "and is therefore asking for whatever thinner people want to dish out.")
All of that said, it's not fair for people to infringe on the highly limited personal space of fellow air travelers. It doesn't matter if it's because you're fat, because you have a baby, because you're working on a 30-page grant, or because you're just an inconsiderate ass: it's not your seat. Get out. We've had decades of simmering misery over people using more than their slim half of the armrest: do not try to push this further.
If it's truly unavoidable, as people sometimes argue, then do everything you can to let your seatmates know that you feel truly bad about it - you can apologize, you can buy them drinks, you can make a big show of saying, "hi, flight attendant, I'm afraid I'm squishing this poor person here; I don't suppose there's a more comfy seat available for him/her elsewhere on the flight?" But you really shouldn't fly, or at least shouldn't fly in just one seat.
Given that fatness is often one of the last unchecked areas of unreasonable discrimination if not downright open namecalling, I'm surprised that most airlines are taking the more politically correct route of not making people fit the size requirements before boarding, just like they on (say) Space Mountain. I'm sad that otherwise good fat acceptance groups are bullying airlines into letting people take up more than their allowed space. Yes, the airlines need to get a grip with their sardine-tin seating, but to claim some sort of entitlement to making other passengers uncomfortable is just rude. It's not how we'll win the wars against vicious public opinion or morbid obesity.
I know it's not an easy situation. If nothing else, how do you sort out who's too fat before the flight is booked up? Sure, you could have a dummy seat at the airport, and maybe at the travel agent's, but what about buying online? Do you check a little box saying "I acknowledge that if I turn out to be the jiggling majorette of the gunt parade then I'll either buy another seat or be bumped to a flight with empty seats"?
Did you know, while we're at it, that on Southwest those second seats come at a reduced rate, and you'll get your money back if the flight isn't full? Or at least that was the case in 2002.
Believe me, I hate to sound off against my tribe, but it's like people who bring crying babies to restaurants or movies. I SO don't care that bringing the infant is the only way you get to dine out or have an evening away from the sofa. Guess what? You're parents. You got your darling little poopy prize - now stay home and enjoy it where it belongs. (Or at least learn to remove it from the grown-up zone as needed.)
And it's the same with fat people. You can't afford to fly if you have to buy a second seat? Oh well. It's wrong to squish people. Whatever bastards the airlines may or may not be, that poor person whose gut you're elbowing doesn't deserve this.
I feel like a black person using the n-word now. It's okay that I say all of this because I'm fat. If you, skinny person, say it, then you're just demonstrating more of the sad hate we BB people have to deflect daily. Go eat a deep fried twinkie and just be glad I won't be sitting next to you in coach next month. (I really wanted to revisit some Mayan ruins, but did you know they no longer let you climb Uxmal? But that's My Thing!)
29 March 2006 | Permalink