Saturday, 18 March 2017

Please take a seat ...

Who would have thought that taking a seat is so difficult but trust me ... for fat people, taking a seat comes with a WHOLE lot of headaches! Just yesterday I was reminded of this very fact ... going for a simple coffee with a friend of mine, we opted to sit at a table which was essentially a booth seat (round table) and thankfully, there were two (2) separate chairs available on the one side of the table because I have almost developed a phobia for booth type seating ... why? Because, quite frankly, I feel that I might not fit between the table and the chair space and I don't want to make an idiot of myself trying to squeeze myself in that space even if the seat is more comfortable on my bum!!! It is made worse of course when the table is fixed to the ground and does not move so there's no room for making the booth seat space a bit bigger to accommodate fat people! I actually experienced this when I was pregnant too so quite frankly, people who own restaurants should think about this perhaps! It's such a hassle and it also means that fat people never get to really enjoy the booth seating ever!!!

Seating for fat people can be a real challenge ... I've not really wanted to disclose the "ugly" side of being fat but I also feel that it is important to be truthful about my experiences and it was something that really impacted me ... I've flown to Sydney and the Gold Coast and to Kalgoorlie in the past 4 years and how awful was that experience ... well let me fill you in ... not only was I squashed up next to the person next to me and feeling highly embarrassed that I'm practically overflowing into their limited space but in addition, I actually had to request an "extension" seat belt to be able to comfortably be seated through the 5hrs or more that it took to get to my destinations. Now I'm not a wallflower and I am not easily intimidated, however, having to ask for an extension belt was hard enough and I always did it as I walked on to the plane so that the air stewards could bring it to me without too much fuss or so I thought! In reality, they usually forgot my request within a few seconds and then I would have to push the bell for their attention which, as you know in those preparation stages of a flight are busy enough and then I would have to remind them of my request and then, and this is the embarrassing part, they would come over and at the top of their voices but in the most polite way say "Here you go Madam, here's your extension seatbelt" ... really ... was that so necessary? By this time, I'm surrounded by upwards of 50 or more people defeating the point of getting on early to settle myself in before everyone else arrived and really, I didn't need half the plane to know that I required an extension belt just to be able to do my seat belt up in the first place ... talk about wanting a black hole to appear and swallow me up at that very moment! And it happened time and time again ... nothing like starting a long plane ride in that frame of mind ... depressive thoughts were immediately present and there was nothing that I could do about it there and then! Of course, then when meal or snack times come along, or the person in front of you wants to recline their chair, thus diminishing the already highly limited space between my stomach and the back of their chair ... there were often times when I couldn't get the tray table out because it also couldn't fit or lie flat ... more embarrassment follows! Oh, it's such a nightmare all these things to consider and manage, all the while trying to enjoy your dinner which you feel you shouldn't be eating because that might contribute to another few kilos being piled on!

Restaurants are often no better!! Have you ever tried to squeeze yourself between other diners who have pushed their chairs out leaving room for stick figures only and then having to be seated by the hostess and all the time bumping into people with your stomach ... and/or having to push their chairs just to get through or trying to automatically find an alternative route to your table and chairs without causing a scene? I know this sounds like I'm whinging and some of you might think - well it's your own fault and you shouldn't complain but seriously people - if you know how hard it was, you would happily either get up and/or pull your chair forward for someone who was struggling at a restaurant or even stand up at the the cinema or concert hall to let someone through - it's not hard and it may be that this person has spent all their effort in just getting there in the first place because they know that this is one of the events in their evening that they are going to have to contend with when in reality, you may never have even thought about this at all because it's not an issue for you!

Chairs are not always designed with large/fat/big people in mind - take the bucket type seats at cafes ... it's uncomfortable and darn right painful when you have to fit your oversized butt into a bucket chair with arms that envelope themselves around you leaving you no room to move ... and sometimes there are delicate chairs that are so fragile you're afraid to even put one butt cheek on for fear they will not hold you! There are also the soft, comfy armchairs or lounge suites that seem to swallow you up when you sit down and you literally can't get out of them and when you do make it out, the indentation is obvious!

All of this stuff is really just one additional stress for overweight people to negotiate when they think about going out in public and so again, I would like to encourage you to think about your larger friends and ensure that when you invite them out to a cafe, restaurant or dinner somewhere that you may just be mindful of the layout and seating that these places offer in order to ensure the true comfort and joy for everyone at the table!

Take a seat ... it's not as easy as you think!

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