No–this is not a post where I pick on "passengers of size." I do have my fair share of XXL seatmate stories, but they are not nearly as funny as this self-deprecating travelogue by NY Times columnist Rob Goldstone. Here’s a few excerpts:
Discreetly, I point toward my stomach, offer a half-smile and wait for a nod. Once I’m in my seat, I prepare for the “handoff.” Without making eye contact, the flight attendant approaches, and, like a player in a secret drug deal, quickly slips a small package into my palm: a seat belt extender…
Yet for large travelers like me, the issues persist long after we have figured out whether to buy one seat or two. Going through airport security, for example, I could set off the metal detector not because I’m smuggling a box cutter or pistol, but because my girth comes too close to the sides of the machine, prompting it to beep. (After years of trial and error, I have a technique to eliminate this embarrassing possibility: I extend my arms forward, lower them with my palms out and twist my torso slightly to one side.)…
How many kilos you weigh?” asked a customs officer at Ho Chi Minh Airport when I visited Vietnam a few years ago.
“Is that a question on the form?” I responded, slightly unnerved.
Smiling, she told me no. She was apparently just curious.
After giving me the once-over, she giggled and advised me to avoid riding in the local hand-pulled rickshaws, as my size could force them to tip over. “Welcome to Vietnam,” she offered cheerily, as I skulked away muttering….
In China, traveling while fat turned farcical. I had been in Beijing less than 48 hours when I started to notice small children running up to me and touching my stomach before scurrying away in fits of laughter. Day and night they continued to approach me, poking and prodding at my belly.
On a walk through the Forbidden City, a local guide explained to me what was happening. “The kids think you are Buddha,” he said, “and they are rubbing your belly for good luck.
If you’re in to this sort of humor, check out the entire article at the link above. I sure got a kick out of it and appreciate that Mr. Goldstone is secure enough with his weight to joke about it. It makes for good reading.