God has a funny way of rebuking me each time I harbor negative feelings, particularly anger. I have realized that each time I’m cheesed off with someone or something, I start to feel the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy all over again. The tingling sensations on my scalp, arms, and legs would return. It’s like I’m being told quietly but firmly: “Face the fact that you are upset, then deal with the person or situation maturely, rationally, with wisdom. If you have something to do with it, admit it and chastise yourself as well.”
Lately, I seem to be always catching myself resisting the urge to bite off the head of heavyset individuals that would happen to sit next to me in a public transportation. You see, I am that kind of person who values her space so much and is also careful not to invade one’s personal space. Hence, as I take my seat in a public vehicle, the first thing I would do is calculate how much space my fellow passengers and I are entitled to, by mentally dividing the seat equally among my fellow passengers and myself. And I suppose that’s where my dilemma begins, especially if the person sitting next to me happens to be both very fat and inconsiderate.
For example, this evening, as my children and I took our seats at the back of a van, I immediately divided the seat into two, since four people were supposed to sit there and I paid for two, then positioned myself exactly where I believed our space should end: in the middle. Why did I pay for only two when there were three of us? Because my children are rather thin and small that the combined space they occupy is equivalent to mine. (I wear clothes in sizes 2-4 or extra small to medium, depending on the brand, by the way.)
The lady who sat next to us happened to be two to three times my size, but she had a tiny child who was about the same size as either of my children, and so she also paid for two. However, both this mother and child wanted more space. They kept pushing and wiggling, exchanging seats, and even made some rude remarks and gestures as if I could not hear or seem them, especially when my younger daughter’s hair accidentally touched the fat woman’s arm as she laid her head on my lap to sleep. I was so irritated! I wanted to shout at her, tell her that if she needed more space, she should make a HUGE effort to lose weight. I wanted to ask her if she never learned how to divide things equally, if she was aware that she only paid for two and not three or four, as well as whether she had ever heard of the term respect for one’s space or The Golden Rule, at least. I wanted to lash out at her and tell her how fat she is and she should stop acting like she’s so slim and deprived of space!
As I thought about these things, tingling sensations started to creep into my arms. Luckily, I received an overseas call from my husband and I was able to relax a bit. Before I took the call, however, I tilted my white iPhone 4s that’s encased in a nice faux white crocodile flip leather case, and made sure that the fat woman had a good view of it, especially as the word “Daddy” and beneath it, “iPhone” flashed on the screen. Why did I do that? Because with her lack of manners, I reckoned that she must be the type of person who would get easily intimated or hushed once she saw an expensive or glittering object. She simply looked the part, and I think I was right for I felt her suddenly stop squirming and she seemed to listen attentively to my private phone conversation with my husband. How rude!
She started to behave then while her own little girl fell asleep, too. On the other hand, I continued to suffer since she perspired a lot and I felt the sleeve of my shirt starting to get wet because her left flabby arm continued to touch my right arm even as I continued to face the other direction. One way or the other, she was able to invade my private space, yet I still did not say anything to her. I told the driver instead to check if the AC was working because it was so hot at the back of the van where we were seated.
As I fumed inwardly, I began to formulate the status message that I would write on my Twitter and FB accounts: I don’t mind fat people. As long as they do not invade my space–not even an inch of it, especially without my permission.
I know, I know, I’m venting out again, using this blog, this digital diary. But I hope that it’s also evident that my point is, if you’re huge, would you please admit it, do something about it, and be considerate of the people around you? Frankly, you should be the last person to complain when there’s not enough space! Unfortunately, most of the vehicles that are marketed here in the Philippines, especially the PUVs are built for the average-sized individual. Worse, PUV drivers would even try to make sure that they maximize every inch of space in their vehicles! Instead of having only three (medium-built) adults seated in one row, they’d make it four, especially if they see that some of the passengers are rather slim, or one of them is a child.
As for myself, I had better start saving seriously and start helping my husband buy a car of our own. The experience makes me want to have a car very soon! In the meantime, I’ll make a mental note to avoid sitting next to an obese, especially if the person doesn’t seem to have a nice personality at all. And, yes, I’ll try to be more tolerant next time. (I said I’ll try.)