13. Friday morning, while I was waiting to check in at the airlines, I observed a woman who was at the ticket counter for a really long time this morning. She easily took up two seats. Easily. Possible three. She didn't even fit into the extra-large wheelchair that she was in; she kind of sat forward in it, on the edge, because she was so wide that she couldn't sit back in it. I don't know if I've ever seen a wheelchair big enough to accommodate someone that large.
12. I felt sad for her. Sad, and well, kind of fascinated. In a "oh, my, there's a wreck, I shouldn't look, but..." kind of way. What was the rest of her life like? When I sat in my airplane seat, there was room on either side of me between the arm rests. I was drinking a sugar-free red bull. And half of a 7-layer bar. This time last year, I was drinking a full carmel machiato with whipped cream and the entire bar.
11. Could she walk up stairs at all? Could she walk? How DID she get so big? It was nearly six years ago when I started this blog, and back then I wore a size 16 (it was tight, but I wore it). On a day in January in 2005, I walked up a flight of stairs at work, and had to pause, at the top, and catch my breath. I wasn't running, I wasn't carrying anything--I was just trying to get 200 pounds of me up a single flight of stairs, not much more stairs than people have in their homes. It was at that moment that I realized how bad things had gotten. I mean, I was never particularly fit, but this was a flight of stairs, for christ's sake. It was the impetus I needed to act.
10. Now I go up stairs with ease. Sometimes I bound up the stairs at work, taking 2 or 3 at a time. I make the trip up and down the stairs a minimum of six times per day. When escalators are out, I walk up the stairs, and sometimes, I walk up the escalators too, to speed up my journey. What about the woman in the airport? Could she even move from the wheelchair to the bed? How did she bathe? When I sit in the tub for a nice relaxing soak, it's just a regular tub. And now there's room on either side of me in the tub. I can even sit cross legged, sidewards, and do a sudoku puzzle.
And it occurs to me now that maybe there's another reason garden tubs have become so popular.
9. This past week I had a family in my office, and one of the members was similarly large and in a wheelchair, and was so large that this person was nearly unable to get through the wide, wheel-chair accessible door into my office. I had a moment of panic that we would not be able to fit her in there, because I didn't have any idea where we would conduct the interview. And, I felt bad for her. I don't know what it's like to be that big. I don't know what there experience is. I don't know how they got that big. I just feel bad for them, as bad as I'd feel for someone with some other kind of handicap that results in being stared at. I know it's not PC to think of something like weight as a handicap, but I figure that anything that makes it harder to live your life is, in some way, a handicap.
8. That last time I saw the woman at the ticket counter she was sitting with her family at a different gate. I don't know how they got her on the plane. Just getting onto our small Southwest plane it was salient to me how cramped it was. The turn into the isle was tight. Yet, when I walked down them, though, there was room on either side of me to move past the people who weren't quite in their row yet.