Monday, October 12, 2009

Fat People and Children

I went to the home opener for our local minor league hockey team this past weekend. There aren't any pro sports teams here in Syracuse so the minor league teams get a lot of attention. Syracuse ended up winning 6-1 (which is a rarity if you are familiar with Syracuse Crunch hockey)and the fans were very into it. There were a couple of really good fights and it was a nearly perfect evening. Unfortunately, the woman sitting in the seat next to me and the children sitting behind me made it difficult to completely enjoy myself.

First of all, I hate people who show up late for sporting events. Especially when its the first game of the season. They had already introduced all the players and sang the national anthem when a morbidly obese woman and her family sat in our row. My problem is not with this large woman attending the game. My problem is with her sitting next to me, a stranger, instead of next to one of the three people that she was related to that came in with her. The seats at the War Memorial are similar to most older arenas: stadium-style, flip down, metal seats. When this woman sat down beside me, her body not only took up her chair but spilled into half of my chair despite the arm rests built in on either side of each seat. I was forced to turn sideways because I couldn't sit all the way back in my seat. I was visibly uncomfortable but she did not change her seat. I don't think I could have said something to her without coming across as some sort of "Fat Hater". The worst part of it was that her husband kept getting up to buy food and she was eating through 2 straight periods. It was very difficult not to have very rude comments going through my head the entire night. I was extremely sore by the time we left the game and had a hard time falling asleep when I got home without the help of Advil and a heating pad.

When people ride on planes and are too large for one seat the airline makes them buy two tickets. I know that this can be embarrassing for the person but I can't feel sorry for them. You knew you were that large when you walked in the door and you knew that you're butt wasn't going to fit into those little seats. This has happened to me before at the movies and on airplanes and it just sucks. So why people should act surprised or offended when people bring up their size is a mystery to me. If no one points out that you won't fit into one seat then will you magically fit? Is it fair to the other patrons that they will be uncomfortable because someone wanted to be politically correct and not point out your obvious size? Much like rides at amusement parks that show height and weight limitations, arenas and other public setting need to start doing the same thing. With more than half of this country obese, this problem is only going to get worse.

The children issue is one that I 100% blame on the parents. Much like dogs who misbehave, it's the owner's fault that the dog is bad and their responsibility to train him to be a good citizen. Kids kicking my seat, elbowing me in the head, smacking me with their hands while they jump around like monkeys on Ritalin, shaking my chair, yelling in my ear, etc. remind me of why I don't want to have children. There are plenty of well behaved kids but they never seem to be sitting next to me. The parents seem happy to have their children entertained for a few hours and just let them act up. My parents would have never let my brother and I get away with that sort of thing. They would have told us that we were being rude and made us apologize to the person and then apologized themselves. And really, one icy stare from a stranger after you kick their seat is generally enough for the average kid to realize that they're annoying someone and cut it out. Once again, this is a theme that repeats itself in movie theaters and on airplanes. I suspect that a lot of these kids will grow up to be rude adults, much like their parents. Parenting seems to end for some people right around the time the umbilical cord is cut.

Short of flying first class or buying an entire section of seats at sporting events and concerts, I don't think this problem is going to go away. But I have to admit that my bias towards morbidly obese people and people with children continues to grow with each negative experience. I picture myself living in one of those communities that don't allow children when I get older and going to 4:30 early bird dinner specials to limit my exposure. Either that or barricading myself in a house at the top of very steep hill that only moderately fit people and people with long legs can climb.

1 comment:

  1. The obese people I understand your viewpoint completely. If you think about all the health problems caused by obesity I bet they outnumber those caused by drinking and smoking. I went to Golden Corral Sunday for breakfast (yes the buffet). Except for a few of the staff and a teenage girl I was the smallest woman in there. I wear a size 8 a 10 sometimes and a 6 others but I'm not skinny but I was the SMALLEST? What does that say?
    Children, dogs, they are their parents fault. We can only do so much though. Trust me the annoying ones bother us who have had kids as much as they bother you.