For the first time in a long time I experienced a blatant display of fat shaming.
It inevitable this holiday season that, if you are travelling, you will be, at some point, squished into a plane, train, or automobile. There will be trip delays, cancellations, and you will probably end up sitting next to someone that smells bad, wants to talk your ear off, or, like me, a bigger plus size person who takes up a majority of my assigned space.
On Sunday, I flew from Vancouver to Kelowna to visit my mom for Christmas. Thanks to the amazing arctic front that has been cuddling with a majority of North America, Vancouver has had the pleasure of experiencing an intimate relationship with snow and freezing temperatures. On Sunday, we got another heaping of the white stuff and the airport had forced cancellations and delays. Thanks to my lucky hat, which I wore ALL DAY, my flight only experienced a 20 minute delay, but because of all the cancellations earlier in the day, I was now on a sold out flight.
I was assigned an emergency exit row window seat. SCORE 2 points for the lucky hat! I was on cloud nine….until a very tall older gentleman sat down in the seat next to me and then a man next to him. I gave my usual polite smile, which was ignored. I thought to myself, no worries, perhaps he has had a long day full of lineups and cancellations, etc. He sits down adjusting himself, that involved a lot of heavy long sighs. Then out came his phone. As the lovely flight attendant was going over the emergency exit demonstration I was distracted by the ferocious typing happening next to me. Now, normally I mind my own business, but it was clear that he has trouble seeing because even with his glasses the text on his screen was quite large. What did I see displayed on his screen….comments about my size, my fat ass, my probable inability to open the door, certainly couldn’t fit through the door and how ugly I was. Further remarks, about my eating habits, how lazy I must be, how clearly I am single because who would want to sleep with me…..I can feel the anger rising again just thinking about it. …you get the picture. Thanks to being on a new plane, equipped with internet this went on a majority of our 40min flight. It even involved a social media update. Yes, I was a nosy parker, it was like a bad train wreck, I couldn’t not look! He was constantly adjusting in his seat, heavy sighs and he would look over and roll his eyes.
At first I was super uncomfortable. Yea, I know I take up the whole seat and surrounding space. I found myself trying to hide, pulling my hat down further, wrapping my hoodie around me, trying to hide my face. Then I thought to myself ” Eff you my friend.” I pulled out my iPod and put on some super angry type music and turned up the volume. I thought to myself, I am going to make his flight even more uncomfortable with some horrible music, because I am certain people AS OLD AS HIM hate that kind of stuff. All it did was make me angrier. I was certain I was going to say something. I came up with some really great one liners, some of them that would surely sting him and others that showed my humor. Yup, as soon as we were getting off the plane I was gonna strike like a snake or a scorpion.
By the time we were told to buckle up, because we would be arriving in Kelowna, I was just sad. It has been a long time since I had experienced something like that, so direct and in my face. As soon as the wheels touched the runway, I knew that I wasn’t going to say anything because there would be no point. Trying to hurt or reason with a person like that is like beating your head against a brick wall. I choose to take the higher ground and put my faith in good ol’ karma….but it still stings a little.
It is Christmas, my absolute favorite time of the year. I should just let this roll off my back, but I don’t understand the direction that humanity is headed in lately. So, I am going to steal Ellen’s tagline “Be kind to one another folks.” We all have destinations that we are trying to get to and missions to accomplish. We can do it with compassion, kindness and understanding. I promise you will have a happier holiday season because of it!