Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pigs on a Plane

Well, make that singular. That would be ME on a plane, actually. I leave next Monday for a trip to Chicago where I have to do a number of things that really stress me out: Fly, speak in front of a group of 400 peers--several times, fly, help keep a huge four-day event I co-chaired running smoothly, and fly. Did I mention I hate to fly?

It isn't a fear the plane will crash, though I surely hope it doesn't. It's the old fat-person's fear and loathing of squishing into an airplane seat. Should I get the window, where I can press into the side of the plane, or the aisle, where I can hang out in the middle? Will someone be sitting in the center seat and be horrified/angered/obnoxious about having to sit next to someone who's overweight? Will my seatbelt fasten? Will someone complain? Will I have to buy an extra seat?

Granted, I have lost 65 pounds (yea!) since I last flew but, what a nightmare that was. It was a couple of years ago, actually, on a short jaunt from New Orleans to Houston, via Southwest. I got there ridiculously early so I could get the bulkhead seat, but there were continuing passengers that already had them, so I picked a window seat. On the way over I squeezed as close to the window as I could and began reading "The Purpose Driven Life," which my church was doing a study of at the time. A man sat on the aisle seat, and the middle seat was thankfully empty. But then the man struck up a conversation. We chatted a few minutes about the book I was reading, and then he said: "I hope you don't think this is too personal a question to ask, but have you ever considered weight-loss surgery?"

Well, thank you Mr. Complete Stranger. That is WAY too personal a question to ask. But I covered well and told him that, yes, I had considered it but my insurance wouldn't pay for it. So then he told me about his wife, who had had the surgery, and it ended up not being as awkward a conversation as it could have, but still. Sheesh.

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