Dear Seatmate On The Plane

by Brynn Burger
Originally Published: 
Marc Dufresne / Getty

No, please, no.

Don’t sit here. Don’t sit here.

Their eyes avoid meeting mine at all costs as I scramble sideways down an aisle that was obviously made by runway models or people who were born with that unicorn metabolism that allows them to eat 13 donuts and not gain an inch.

On my first flight in 8 years and since putting on 100 post-baby pounds I do not wear proudly, I didn’t expect the reaction I got from what felt like an audience at a circus sideshow performance.

I covered my stretched out frame in an oversized hoodie and black wide-legged yoga pants. My friend and I had boarded late because, well, we were getting breakfast. Go figure.

Two seats remaining. One aisle seat to the left next to two small women in their early 20s headed to Vegas for a wild weekend. The other was a seat in between a business man and one who was at least as big as me so clearly he and I weren’t going to Play-Doh fun factory our rear ends into the chairs beside each other. I chose the fresh high school grad row.

Friends, I legitimately had to pour my hind parts into this seat, slamming my hips down under the arm rests. As the round business man to my right wrestled his seatbelt into submission, I attempted it once, twice, and decided, “If this plane crashes above 10,000 feet, this seatbelt won’t be my salvation.” So I tucked each end under my hoodie pocket and smiled politely at my tiny stewardess when she walked by.

My super buff (read: grandma bat-winged) arm pushed itself into the aisle just enough that legitimately every single time someone walked by, they slammed into me, looked up surprised as if I didn’t obviously extend my body parts into their pathway, and apologized.

I smiled back as if to say, “It’s cool. I have two arms anyway and that one could stand to lose a few inches.”

When people refer to “leg room” on a plane, generally speaking, they are talking about the distance of room for their knees or legs to stretch forward. Sister, my thighs and hips are still a part of my legs and let me tell you, Mr. Southwest Airlines, I’mma need you to widen the real estate in those chairs you clearly designed for tiny babies!

Y’all, this plane ride was the longest 4 1/2 hours of my lifetime excluding any time spent in labor. I was uncomfortable, tired, and sincerely feeling waves of guilt everytime the girl beside me adjusted her sitting position and sighed, knowing my right hip was most definitely expanded into no less than 2″ of her seat space.

Then another reality hit me as my two young seatmates poured the tiny liquor bottles they’d snuck onto the plane into their complementary Cokes. I was closer to the age of their mom who sat behind them, having packed those bottles along with a brown bag of snacks with a smiley face on them for each 20-something girl with beautiful fake eyelashes and yoga pants that weren’t stretched to maximum capacity.

I would’ve totally brown bagged snacks for my kids (minus the booze). When did I age that much!? Am I not still, like, 22!?

Sweet Mother of all things holy and good.

Now the businessmen are taking it upon themselves to recommend things to us to do while in Vegas. First recommendation: a ventriloquist.

So, there it is folks. I guess we look like two grandmas who’d schedule trips to the world’s largest ball of yarn and bus trips to Amish country.

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