Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Ass in the Hat

Some people don't get it. And even though they are clueless to the situation, I've got to be nice because I need their help. On our flight out here, Joe and I had mistakenly booked our seats such that there was one empty between us. It was a busy flight and that seat was soon taken.

When we got to the airport and to the desk at the gate, we approached and I asked if the attendant could fix it so we were seated beside each other. He looked at me, smirked and said, "I don't think you'll have any problems getting the other passenger to switch seats." In one way, I got what he was saying, it was a row of four, and moving one over made no real difference, either way the other passenger was going to be two in.

But the smirk was about my weight and about the fact that any passenger in their right mind would give up the seat next to me given the chance. I got the smirk, as I was meant to, and I asked again if he could fix it. He took our tickets and said, "I'll page the passenger and make the change but I know there will be NO problem in this situation." Smirk. Smirk.

When we were ready to board, he'd made the change. I said, "Thank you very much." I shamed him with politeness and it worked. He looked like he knew that he'd been an asshat and he knew that I knew it too.

Now I know that, at my weight, people would rather not sit next to me. God only knows that there are thousands of commercials and even more movies that have a scene about some poor, beautiful thin person being stuck between or beside fat passenger(s). Ha, ha, very funny.

But that's not the issue. I worry about getting someone who resents moving, who is angered at being asked to make a change, and whose reaction is negative and nasty. I worry about my physical and emotional safety. It's a real concern, I have a right to protect myself from it.

However, I don't want to explain that to the gate attendant. An attendant whose attitude towards my weight is a superior smirk that is the very example of the kind of shit I don't want to go through.

It was a fair request.

He did it for me.

People don't get my social world and the dangers that lurk therein. So thankfully, I do. I've learned that I need to take care of myself, in whatever way I can. And if I have to endure a smirk or two along the way, well, I'll do it.

Because I have a right to be safe in my world, because my world has nasty people in it, and I can't forget that because, they, unfortunately, don't.

4 comments:

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

I hope you are in the habit of sending copies of these columns to the supervisors of employees who pull this hurtful nonsense on you. That attitude in someone whose job it is to serve you, the paying customer, not even 'the public at large,' has no business in their company.

They should be happy to find out how poorly THEY are being served.

You could smile sweetly, and say, "What happened to 'the customer is always right'?"

Whatever they do to you, they are at no discomfort to do to someone else vulnerable. Someone else who might not be able to speak up.

If you don't want to get known as someone who gets people fired, mention that up front.

Unknown said...

I kinda like Alicia's suggestion...no matter what the gate attendant might think or feel personally, we all know that upper management can not defend the behavior....and it's not something to take up further at the gate if you have gotten the necessary seat change..but when you get home...
and i get it that you just want to let it go at that point...and that you often do fight these battles so sometimes it is ok to take a pass on a particular issue.....

I think I am at the point where if I overheard that conversation I'd speak up to the gate attendant about fat shaming a customer..after the customer had moved out of earshot..so as not to cause further distress to him/her....
since the election I find myself rehearsing mentally what I could do in these types of situations...so that my initial freeze reaction can be overcome....
take good care, Dave and Joe. Clairesmum

Rosemary said...

I truly understand.

Cynthia Petricko said...

I have had at least one fellow passenger refuse to move in this type of situation, and another get angry at me for "stealing" his seat. It's problematic, at best, that companies rely on the kindness of other paying customers for our access. There should be a better way than, "don't you want to help out the disabled person?" sheesh.

I'm sorry this happened to you.