Fat guy on the train

| Travel | 6 Comments

Once in awhile I get overly irritated by seemingly trivial matters. Take for instance this morning in the train on my way to work. I ended up sitting next to this fat guy. Not that I have anything against people who are overweight, but this guy was the sweating, burping, puffing type of obese person who is not exactly the ideal fellow passenger to be sitting next to on a busy hot Monday morning. Rather than just sitting up straight in his seat, he was turned sideways for some reason with his hefty backside rotated forty-five degrees from the more usual appropriate orientation of the body. Forget about sitting up straight, because he was slumped over and half lying. While he could easily have fit into the right half of the seat, he slouched so that his left buttock extended more than just a few inches onto my half of the cushioned property. Just enough that I was pressed slightly between the left side of the cabin and his sweating burping body. Why couldn't he just sit normally like the rest of us? You would think that he would be conscious of his massive size, and feeling slightly embarrassed or even concerned for the comfort of his fellow human beings, he would do his best to leave enough breathing space for the poor soul wedged to the left side of him. But he could care less and didn't even notice. Did he care? Sometimes he would even twist his trunk and belly back and forth banging into my right arm arm and elbow. Was this necessary? I should have said something, but what? "Excuse me sir, but your fat body is smothering me." Or better yet, something like "Could you please shift your left buttock over a foot?" Why was I so irritated? Perhaps I was a victim of the Monday morning blues which can get to even the most patient and content among us positive thinkers. Fortunately, the fat guy got out at the Zoetermeer train stop. He unwedged his person with a slight popping sound, a release of air suctioned outwards, nearly lost his balance in the suddenly unexpected release of fattiness, and left me forever. All of a sudden I had this oversized seat all to myself, and I did not know what to do with it. The reddish imprint he had left on my forearm was slowly disappearing. What a relief, I could breath again! I felt kind of guilty having been overly impatient and negative about this fat person. Should I feel sorry for him or just accept the way he is? We are all manifestations of the very same primordial form (some of us consisting of more weighty clay than others). My first morning of the week turned out to be alright anyway. No use getting overly irritated by some fat guy on the train.

6 Comments

Maybe instead of having something against the fat guy next to you, you should really have something against sweating, burping, puffing people? I've seen plenty of disgusting thin people but I don't say that they were thin as if it's something bad. I realize that you're saying that you're not predjudiced about people, but I'm just trying to provide a different spin on the issue - it's not the person nor their size that disgusts you, it's their habits. And that's what we all should focus on, not color, not race, religion, or status, but what they do and who they are. If someone's gross, they're gross, and that transcends all judgements you can make about a person based on their appearance.

Thanks Tom for bringing this up. You know, when I wrote this entry I was already worried about these kinds of reactions. What would fat people think about this and how whould they react? (Not that you are fat Tom, but that's not important now). You are correct. Why should I pick on fat people and not some skinny person? It was my awful mood at the time, nothing more and nothing less. And I think that my words and sentences reflect this uncalled for irritation very well. If you read the first sentence carefully, I justify myself by saying that for some reason I can get irritated about the most "trivial" matters. I seriously doubt that at that moment in the crowded train that a skinny person, no matter how disgusting, would have triggered me like this. Anyway I would have had more room to sit, that's for sure. With this I would like to express my sincerest apologies if I have inadvertently insulted any of my cherished readers out there. I will be more careful in the future.

I know from coming here for a while that you are anything but an intolerant person. I wasn't trying to make it out to sound like *you* were intolerant, but that we, in general, as humans, are intolerant and place the blame for certain traits on one group of people that people of all shapes, sizes, and colors are just as likely to do.

So, please, don't take what I said as a judgement against you. It was simply a comment about human nature. :-)

Don't worry Tom, I was not under the impression that you were calling me an intolerant person. Even if you were, it would not matter and I could forgive you. What you did accomplish though, and this is what I always appreciate in good comments from the readers, was to trigger me into a slightly different mental mode. Skinny people, fat people, people with other beliefs, someone whose expression has subtle implications only perceived by an unobservant passerby, that kind of thing. The person I should have been describing better was the first person observor of the entry. Hey, that's me! No one more and no one less.

All this is fine but a thin, huffing, burping person probably wouldn't have taken over half Kiffin's seat! For me in these situations (and we've all been in them) it's a mixture of the habit that you find offensive mixed with a invasion of your personal space. 1 + 1 = 4 in these cases.

I'm not exactly the lightest of people but if space is at a premium (ever ridden the tube in London at rush hour?!) one should at least be considerate. IMO fat people just have to be this little bit more thoughtful due the the additional space required. Don't get me wrong it's not just fat people - I include people that use cramped public transport and don't remove their backpacks/rucksacks and don't realise that the space they use doesn't end at their spine - grrrr.

You are absolutely right Marc. Those bothersome pointing and jabbing objects are also a real pain in cramped situations. To be honest, I think that I would prefer the soft blubber pressing on me than an overstuffed backpack poking me in my ribs! Once this really skinny guy jumped into the train just in the nick of time before the doors closed, and he collided into me without even noticing that he had jolted my cup of coffee all over the front of my white shirt. Now that is rude! A fatter or even normal sized human probably would not have done that, don't you think?

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This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2279 entries and as many as 1881 comments.

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Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

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First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.