Deck Chair

Deck chair: (n) a folding chair, usually with arms and a full-length leg rest, commonly used for lounging on decks

  • Cheap rate.
  • Cheap room.
  • Cheap pool.
  • Cheap chair.

That would surmise my experience with motels as I traveled across the country.

So I remember quite well one sunny Wednesday afternoon, when I arrived at the swimming pool of our motel, and noticed that they only offered the white, plastic resin chairs that one would find aplenty at Wal-Mart.

They are really quite remarkable, considering how cheaply they’re made. Looking at them, it’s hard to imagine they would hold anyone of any weight—but they do.

Coming to the pool, I discovered a small crowd of humanity. There was a brief stoppage of time as I became the new stranger, figuring out the gate and getting inside. There was an additional length of time while several of the occupants gawked at me because of my large size.

I was used to this. You can’t walk around being obese and think someone’s not going to notice it. Maybe you wish they would ignore your status or be more merciful, but people see what they want to see and have already judged what they think about it.

The problem that arose on this day was that apparently it occurred to those in the pool that I was going to have to go over and sit down in one of the plastic deck chairs.

They were right.

I wasn’t going to stand around.

And to a small degree, it became an issue of pride.

So I chose to take it on with gusto.

I strolled over, placed my towel on the table, stepped toward one of the chairs, attempted to aim my butt to land in the center, and sat down—only to have the chair give way, with four legs going in four different directions.

I landed flat on my butt, with a broken chair beneath me.

The gathered audience could not help themselves. They laughed.

There was one person who moved toward me to see if I was okay—but overall, I provided the levity for the afternoon.

But you see, it’s always about what happens next.

It’s not about getting in the chair.

It’s not about falling.

It’s about whether you absorb the humiliation or bounce off it like a rubber ball against a wall.

I wiggled my legs, waggled my butt, and rose to my feet as well as I could. Once upright, I turned to those in the pool, did a quick bow and pretended to tap dance. This brought more laughter.

I then picked up the chair with its dangling legs and spoke to the gathered.

“You might want to stay away from this chair–it seems to have a bad leg.”

They all laughed.

This time, they felt like they were allowed to laugh—because I set up the pins and rolled the ball in their direction. After doing my little routine, I quickly made my way down the steps, into the pool, splashing as the folks giggled.

The rest of the day, there was no soul who didn’t smile and nod at me every time I swam by. I don’t think they admired my obesity, nor condoned it, for that matter.

But they had enough human juice in them to realize that the only thing we can do as people on our way to becoming better, is keep a good attitude about it.

 

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