I’ve lost 200 pounds, I’ve written a book about coping with change, and I’m on tour with the surgeon who helped me change my life! I should be on top of the world. As pure proof that old habits die hard – for weeks now there have small waves of anxiety washing over me all because of one little piece of fabric. The airplane seatbelt.
Anyone of a certain size knows the awkward social dance fat people go through when flying. From start to finish it’s a pretty painful experience. There is a look you can see on the face of everyone sitting by their gate waiting to board. It’s a prayer really. A prayer for comfort.
“Dear Lord please let this flight be safe and please don’t sit me by a colicky baby, a talkative toddler, or a fat person.”
The worst part was I understood it. I never blamed them for that look. Everything on an airplane is tiny. Tiny cups. Tiny snacks. Tiny little trays. Tiny little packages of kleenex. Tiny washrooms. Tiny. Tiny. Tiny! And then BOOM! There’s a fat guy in the middle of it all. No one is happy with the situation. There’s nothing like spending hundreds of dollars to be humiliated from start to finish. I understand that it’s just as frustrating to spends hundreds of dollars and then have someone’s rolls spill out of their seat and in to yours. I get it.
Getting seated on the plane and ready for flight can be a pretty soul-killing experience for a fat guy. You jam yourself in between the small arm rests. As you cram yourself in all the fat readjusts until your ass, lap, and thighs just square off in to the shape of the seat, but bubbled up on top, spilling over the sides like a loaf of bread in a pan. You’re so damn tight that nothing is going to budge you out of that seat, but apparently the sheer physics of round-peg / square-hole aren’t enough to guard against some turbulence. You must wear your seatbelt.
Airplanes are filled with technology and innovation. They have found a way to basically get a bus in the sky and propel itself from city to city. They have come up with air-regulation systems that make sure we don’t pass out every time the altitude changes. They’ve developed an auto-pilot system so the plane literally flies itself once you get it in the air. They have a found a way to get movies, telephone, and the internet all added to these magical missiles in the sky! The seat belts though? Oh, those are basically the same as very first one put in to the ’59 Volvo.
So the seatbelt that the attendant uses to show everyone how to buckle up? Yeah, fat people have to ask for that to use as an extender to make the belt reach around them. It’s a rather mortifying experience the first time. After that, you get smart and ask when you’re boarding instead of having to flag someone down later.
All of that is to say I’m getting on a plane today for the first time since I’ve started losing weight . . . and I honestly don’t know if I need an extender or not. I kind of think I still do. But we’ll see.
UPDATE: Seatbelt on and locked. . . no extender required. 🙂