I’m not one of the biggest adrenalin junkies in the world. I don’t go out of my way to take on extreme sports and I tend to get a little fearful when my life is in danger. There are two things that do get my juices flowing, so to speak — motorsport and flying.
I have been an avid Formula 1 fan since I was 13 or 14. I would get up in the middle of the night to watch races from all over the world, or tape them and watch them the next morning before school. Even now Natalie knows that if Formula 1 is on that she might as well just find something else to do, because I’m busy.
Flying is a little different. My first flight was when I was five or six when my mum and I flew to Melbourne to see my sister. It was apparently so traumatic for me that I wouldn’t get back on the plane and we had to bus it home instead. Yes, I’m a major mummy’s boy, I can admit that. I’m not so bad these days and in the last few years I’ve discovered flight simulators and love the idea of flying a plane myself.
If I could ask for anything for my birthday/Christmas/<insert generic holiday here> I would ask for two things. Firstly, I want to be taken into the air and handed the controls and shown what flying is all about. Trial flights are offered all around the place and it would be great to experience what flying is like to decide whether I wanted to learn for real. Secondly, I’d love to do some sort of race driver experience, where you get to drive a powerful car around a track/rally course and learn what it is like to live on the edge.
However there is one slight problem to both of these dreams. I am FAT.
Natalie was looking at getting me one of the trial flight packages one year for my birthday and discovered that you have to meet weight restrictions. They range from under 109kg to 120kg but that counts me out all the same. Last night I was researching the WRX experience that is held between Brisbane and the Gold Coast and the weight limit there is 140kg.
It’s disappointing to know that because I am fat that I can’t undertake these fun activities.
I should note that I just spent the last five minutes writing stuff that was trying to excuse them for not being able to accommodate me. Which I have now deleted due to a discussion had with Natalie, who for all intents and purposes is my ‘fat acceptance guru’.
I made a very good at trying to explain away why they discriminate, probably in an attempt to make it ok in my mind. This would therefore mean I couldn’t be disappointed. Sound logic happening there folks, except I am disappointed. No amount of saying ‘it’s ok, they have to have safety limits’ reduces the disappointment I feel.
Do I understand WHY they have a weight limit? Sure. It’s because the machinery they have won’t deal with my weight. Should they have something that will handle my weight? Yes. There should be some way to accommodate me in these activities. It is not like it would be breaking any laws of physics to have a fat person flying or going fast in a car.
What cheeses me off the most is the idea that there is this socially acceptable weight limit which always seems to be around the same mark of between 120kg or 140kg. It is just high enough to let them get enough business but low enough to exclude plenty more fat people that are out there wanting to do these things.
It is like plus-sized fashion, which shouldn’t be called plus-sized fashion because most of it isn’t fashionable or it isn’t plus-sized. They can make fashionable clothes for fat people. They can make planes that can accommodate a fat person. A racing car can easily carry a fat people if they designed it right.
I still consider myself a newbie with fat acceptance because two years is not long enough to get to total grips with it. I still sometimes think that companies can decide who they cater for. But if it was down to other factors, it wouldn’t be ok. I think that is a lesson that a lot of companies in a lot of different industries should take heed of.