Weighty Matters

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In the Middle Seat

on November 10, 2014

I almost titled this post “To Boldly Go Where I’ve Never Gone Before”.  Well, at least where I haven’t gone very often and not in a long, long, lonnnnggggg time.

Last Thursday, I left on a business trip to California for a conference.  On the way home, for some reason the travel agent had not been able to select a seat for me even though I was confirmed on the flight.  I tried several times to select a seat before the day of the flight and each time the system refused.

This caused no small amount of anxiety all because I stressed on the great what if.  What if the only seats available weren’t aisle or window seats?  What if, (insert choked, fretful, gasp) the only seat available was In. The. Middle??  (Cue the doomsday organ chords.)

I was the first person in line at the gate when the attendant arrived to assign seats.  It didn’t help the anxiety when she announced on the microphone that they “might” have an oversold situation and were looking for three volunteers willing to give up their seats for a free flight and other perks.  Actually, the thought of not getting on the flight at all suddenly struck me as ever so much more worrisome since I would then miss the connecting flight, subsequently miss the shuttle van home, and be stuck in Miami for Lord knows how long.

However, even though I was reassured when she confirmed me for a seat, I couldn’t stop the queasy dread when I saw that the situation I so feared had come true.

I was seated in the middle of a row.

All of the dread was a throwback to my days of Super Obesity when I could barely fit in any airline seat but could at least manage to just barely squeeze myself in between the arm rests and use a seat belt extender to buckle up.  Even one one end or the other, I made sure to lean as far as I could away from the person in the middle so that I wouldn’t crowd them more than absolutely necessary.  I always hated it when I’d see the expression on their faces when they realized that they were stuck sitting next to the really heavy woman.  Needless to say, I always avoided middle seats – for my own sake as well as any other travelers.

I’m truly surprised that no flight attendant ever flagged me and said that I’d have to buy a second seat to accommodate my bulk.

Anyway, even though I know I fit in normal seats, I couldn’t shake the sick feeling while I boarded the flight and slowly made my way to my appointed row.  I gingerly slid into the row and oh-so-carefully took my seat.

Without any problem.  I sat down in the seat and realized that not only did I fit, I had a little room to spare on either side.  The arm rests weren’t cutting into me, nor were they trying to automatically flip up, pushed there by any overly thick part of my body.

I fit.  Comfortably.  Comfortably for me and for the people seated on either side.  I was so relieved that I closed my eyes, sent up a quick gratitude prayer, and breathed out the air I’d sort of been holding along with my apprehension.  I relaxed and enjoyed a very pleasant conversation with my row companion to the right.  It felt good.  It felt, Lord help me, normal.

Another hurdle jumped.  Another NSV realized.  Booyah!


As part of my long weekend away, I went on a Whale Watching trip in Southern California.  Here are a some of the photos because, no matter what the topic, there’s always a place for cute animal pictures.



Leaping Dolphins

Humpback Flukes 1

Northern Fur Seal

SL on Buoy-1

One response to “In the Middle Seat

  1. hoperoth says:

    Way to go, Mary!!! Booyah!!!!

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