But a minute before the cabin doors were shut, passenger number 3 arrived. She was a huge woman proportioned much like a sumo wrestler.
Because her seat was positioned at the window, she had to crawl over both my wife and I. My handicap precluded me from standing, so I was unable to rise and allow her an easier route. As she literally rolled over me into her seat, she lost her balance a couple and fell directly into my face, smothering me in all of her soft excess. My face was buried deep into her ample bosom- both of them, as she fought to recover her balance. I awkwardly tried to help but found my hands and arms sinking deeper into the abyss. When she finally rolled into her seat, she struggled to right herself and maneuver her 300+ lb body into a 200 lb space. By this time, she had attracted the attention of many neighboring passengers. Despite her struggles, she was unable to sit normally in her seat. The best she could do was arrange herself in a sort of side saddle position with her hip buried into the stationary arm rest of the seat.
There she sat for over three hours, stuck in what had to be a totally uncomfortable position. My wife in her 125 lb frame sat buried between the woman and me in my comparatively lightweight 200 lb body. The flight attendant sensing her discomfort, provided her with a complimentary bottle of wine in an apparent attempt to soothe her discomfort. What started as a somewhat amusing event resulted in an uncomfortable and painful condition for this extremely overweight woman.
As we reflected on the flight and the grossly overweight woman in our row, we couldn't help taking pity on her. She was bound to a life of ridicule and discomfort.
Sad as it might be, this woman represents the growing number of (excuse the pun) growing women who have succumbed to poor diet choices, overeating and lack of exercise. While we often associate these problems with the poorer, less fortunate and undereducated members of society, our traveling companion appeared to be well off financially, well dressed, well educated, well employed and certainly well fed.
She is not alone in this world. The U.S. finds 40% of its population overweight. A glance at any gathering of people will easily illustrate the increasing number of women, children and men who are not only overweight, but also dangerously obese. Their lives will continue to be full of challenges and medical issues as they struggle with diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and heart disease caused by their excess weight.
It’s time for them to take control of their lives for their own good and time for us to help anyway we can. Easier said than done. All of us need to play a role in the health of our people. Laughing at the problem is certainly not how we fix it.