Last weekend I had a whirlwind trip to Pennsylvania to attend a friend’s funeral. I traveled by air to get there and back. On the last leg of my trip, all of the seats in my row were taken. But across the aisle, there was only one passenger, seated at the window. As we were preparing for takeoff the flight attendant said to me, “Once we’re in the air, you can move over to that seat (pointing to the empty seat across the aisle) if you’d like more room.”
More room? I guess I haven’t shaken the image of myself from 80 pounds ago. Seat belt extensions were the norm and I hated flying. I felt so uncomfortable wedged in my seat, spilling over into the one next to mine. So I interpreted this well-meaning flight attendant’s offer to mean, I see your globs of fat spilling over into the next seat. You’ll be more comfortable, as will the lady beside you, if you move.
The funny thing was, I felt completely comfortable and not in the need for more room. I did a quick glance at my surroundings and I can confirm that every inch of me was contained within my assigned seat. By the time the captain gave the all-clear to move about the cabin, the young woman beside me had already whipped out her laptop and was on line (loved me some free WiFi). I leaned over and told her I had been given permission to move across the aisle and I asked her if she would be more comfortable if I did so, so that she could take my seat. She said she was fine, but she asked the woman on the other side of her if she would be more comfortable with an empty spot between them. After a quick confab, all three of us agreed we were just fine and we remained in our assigned seats.
Clearly, my bad memories of flying with “extra baggage” can still produce some anxiety. I don’t ever want to forget all of those uncomfortable flights. For me, forgetting will be the first step towards complacency. I must remember where I’ve been in order to have the will to keep improving. But I look forward to the day when I can view a nice suggestion for what it is, rather than what it isn’t.