As many of you may know obesity is a real problem for the modern American. Roughly 25% (and it might be higher than that) of our nation's adult population is obese (with obesity being defined as having a BMI greater than 30)... and sadly, that is a number that is growing.
The growing number of obese citizens in our nation means that there is a greater likelihood of running into these people during the course of one's day. Today I had such a run-in and feel that from my experience we can all learn a little something...
For my day job, I am a vending machine operator. Today I had to make a delivery into a tightly packed government office. My machine is located in the waiting area of the office, tucked away in a corner fortified by rows of grey government office chairs. It is not uncommon for there to be quite a few people packed in here and because of that I have gotten pretty good at maneuvering around the mass of humanity (many of whom would as soon spit at you than do anything in the slightest to facilitate your life).
But today my obstacle was not an unmonitored three year old having his run of the joint or some barely conscious wino hiding out from the unrelenting Florida heat. Nay- today my obstacle was a lady. A five hundred pound beast of a lady dressed in a red t-shirt and purple stretchy pants.
As I tried to walk past her the first time, I noticed that this woman was taking up two chairs with her massive ass. And even with the awe inspiring seating arrangement, her gelatin like thigh was still managing to spill out into the aisle.
I begin to inch my cart past her, excusing myself as I do. But as my cart begins to cross by her leg, I notice that one of my trays (which are stacked on my cart) were getting caught on her tights. I tried to draw her attention to the matter, only to find a complete disinterest in the matter- her doughy eyes fixated on whatever Maury was talking about.
I get past the enormous gate keeper and go about my business filling the machine, at no point thinking I should find a way to get out of this place that did not have me trying to navigate myself past that fat pig. I complete my task in fairly short order and begin to head out, once again crossing paths with this beastly woman. I again excuse myself, hoping that she would realize on her own that some of her leg had oozed into the aisle and I needed her to reposition or something in order to get by without catching her overworked tights again.
This time the woman acknowledged me, giving me a look that I could best guess meant "Well, what are you waitin' for?", so I begin to move past her. Once again as my cart passes by her it starts getting caught on her tights, only this time it must have caught it with a sharp edge or something because it caused the already stretched thin fabric to give, tearing a little.
Fat Woman - "What the fuck..."
Me - "Oh, I am sorry ma'am..."
FW - "You need to watch where yer goin' wit' that thing..."
Me - "Again ma'am I am sorry..."
FW - "You should be. I'm sitting right here..."
Now I kind of have an issue with that whole "Inner Monologue" thing, and from time to time I say things aloud that might have been better kept inside my head.
Me - (said under my breathe) "Yea, but your thigh is oozing into the aisle..."
FW - "What did you say???"
Me - "Um... your leg is kind of sticking out in the aisle. I tried excuse myself by you and you did not move."
She stared at me rater indignant. But I guess I would be rather indignant too if someone ripped a hole in my pants and proceeded to tell me that it was my fault for being too fat.
Me - "Again ma'am, I am sorry. I assure you it was not intentional nor from a lack of care. Would you like a cake or something for your trouble?"
I asked her that with the best of intentions... I swear I did. But from the look on my five hundred pound friend's face, you would have thought I had just called her the "C" word or something.
FW - "A cake? Why would I want a fucking cake?"
Again, the whole inner monologue thing rears its ugly head...
Me - "I dunno... maybe you need a sugar hug or something."
With that I walked away from the woman, her pasty white skin beginning to pour out of the hole in her stretchy pants as a lonely tear rolled out of the corner of her eye. I knew I had ruined her day. There was no doubt about it.
As I loaded my truck up I could envision her chubby face, swollen from weeping. For a brief minute I felt a tiny bit of remorse for my words.
What made matters worse was knowing that it could have all been avoided if the land whale had just repositioned herself when I was trying to make it past her. Sure, it could have also been a far less dramatic situation had I not called her fat twice (as well as trying to bribe her with baked goods). But at the root was her big fat oozy legs and her inability to be considerate.
The moral of the story, of course, is that fat people seem to have no idea exactly how much area their bodies take up and that in a future overrun with the morbidly obese greater care must be taken to insure that we as a people go out of our way to keep pieces of us from flowing into pathways.
That and maybe you should not always say what you are thinking...