Gasping for Polite

This most recent Sunday I had a day ahead of me – a roving bachelorette party with four bars on the agenda, multiple sports games to be watched.  However, before Sunday Funday could begin I had work that demanded my attention.  As such, I sat dutifully at my coffee shop and clicked keys on my laptop until I satisfied my inner workaholic. 

When the appointed hour arrived, I hopped on the metro for my trip to the insanely gentrified part of the inner city.  The train was Sunday afternoon crowded, so I had a two seat bench to myself for most of my ride; and then I got to the Chinatown station.

With only two stops to go, the train was filled sufficiently that most people sat two abreast.  My perch was an exception until a very large man eyed the position next to mine.  In an attempt to appear unaffected, I kept my eyes on my newspaper.  He waddled closer, reversed his position and shoe horned himself next to me.

Still attempting to show no affect, I made myself as small as I could; but his weight against me was oppressive.  My breathing became difficult, shallow breaths were all his girth would allow. 

I could have stood for the remaining two stops but in my overly polite mind that would have been rude.  It would have sent a subtle message that I objected to his size and by extension, him too.  It was really hard to breath. 

I have no issues moving to a different seat or even a different car when some asshat has his/her iPod cranked to profane volumes.  I have no problem relocating when there are rowdy teenagers whose jocularity I have no interest in hearing.   For some reason, at that moment pinned against the window struggling for air, I couldn’t summon the will to move, though there wasn’t an open seat elsewhere.

Finally, the longest two stops of my life were traversed and I stood as soon as it wouldn’t have been obvious.  I inhaled deep and often.  The first opportunity for oxygen to hit my lungs felt great. 

I harbor no ill will towards overweight people; hell , I generally refrain from using the term “fat” (with one glaring racist exception of which friends are aware and about whom I generally use words like fire hydrant, basketball with arms, and rhino.)  This, however, was different.

I am indifferent about the prospect of large people paying for two seats on flights.  The metro is different, I don’t give a flying fuck about how crowded it may be, nor do I concern myself with your difficulty in standing.  You know if you occupy two seats and need to be more respectful of others.  If you are going to restrict my ability to take in air, you, you fat fuck, need to stand because I need not choose between air and polite.


8 Responses to Gasping for Polite

  1. SingleGirl says:

    Interesting, interesting.

    I’m going to take a new position with this one. It would have been polite to stand.

    If an elderly woman entered the train and no seats were left, you would have offered her yours. If a pregnant woman entered the train and no seats were left, you would have offered her yours. In politeness, we generally acquiesce to those more in need. It likely would have been laborous for that man to have stood. He was clearly more in need of the seat(s) than you.

    I am not saying that you were rude to stay seated. I am saying that it would not have been rude for you to move.

    Interesting perspective and one which I had not considered.

  2. Lemmonex says:

    Fire hydrant is kinder than fat? Hm…

    Nope it sure isn’t, but that was my point – this one person about whom I have said these very unkind things is rather unkind herself. Not excusing my behavior but I didn’t want to tell a half truth especially since some people who read this space know the whole truth.

  3. Julia :) says:

    I feel the same way you do. I’m fairly small therefore the largest people on the metro always assume that if they sit next to me, it will still be comforable for both of us. Not so much, I do not want anyone crowding into my space so much that they are touching a significant portion of me. However, I too have this need to appear polite but I usually get off at the next stop and switch train cars 🙂

    …and what were you doing at a bachelorette party?!

    As I was pinned against the window and only had two stops to go, I figured I could ride it out. And it was one of those new agey kind of bachelorette parties though I was one of only two guys invited.

  4. Hee Hee. That sounds an awful lot like one of my dear asshole posts. I heart you.

    It was definitely a dear asshole moment.

  5. [F]oxymoron says:

    And did this person make any effort, however small, to give you some breathing room?

    When this sort of thing happens to me, and I notice these “accommodating gestures”, I generally just sit through the uncomfortable ride. IF there is no compromise, then all hell breaks loose.

    Honestly, this guy was so large it would have been impossible to tell if he was attempting to make concessions.

  6. Titania says:

    I think you are a much better person than I would have been… That guy must have known what he was doing to you (he surely felt your body against his), and it was extremely rude of him not to do any effort to make both of your rides more comfortable. Moreover -I am going to be a bitch here- chances are that since he was still uncomfortable, he was trying to squeeze you to force you to get up and give him the full two seats. Maybe I am wrong and I am high on the bitchy spirit today.

  7. kathleen says:

    what were you doing at a bachelorette party?

  8. […] I tried to run, but the car was too crowded to find safe distance.  This was worse than the time I couldn’t breathe; the hair had hold of my […]

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