The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Weight Weight…Don’t Tell Me

Waiting for a three a.m. flight after their vacation, the couple weigh themselves on an airport baggage scale.   She giggles before stepping up on the square silver platform. Her husband takes the coat she removed, a puffy beige one with fur lining, but she remains in her black boots with heavy gold buckles. She stares at the changing digits and laughs boldly when the numbers settle on her score. Winking at her husband, she accepts his hand as he helps her down.

Then he takes a turn himself. She peers over his shoulder. When his weight displays they both grow still, look away from each other as he comes down. He assists her in putting on the coat, taking a glance at his stomach when she turns her back.

This bold misuse of the baggage scale begins a trend. It sets off a curiosity among the bored travelers resting in the airport before early morning connections.  A man in a tracksuit gives it a try. Then a mother and child, two women in headscarves, various members of the airport cleaning crew. And an extremely old man. As the man wobbles unsteadily on the scale, a terminal full of strangers sit up and involuntarily reach out their arms–as though they can steady him from across the divide.

–Istanbul, Turkey.

Hagia Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey, travel

21 comments on “Weight Weight…Don’t Tell Me

  1. Mary Ann
    March 18, 2013

    I would never weigh myself in public, especially after being on vacation! Those brave souls. 🙂

    • I know. I suppose no one else could see the final number, but we could all see their reaction! 😀

    • lpatangan
      March 21, 2013

      How funny! When I go for my yearly physical I always wear the lightest thing I can and take off my shoes too! Wondering now if I am neurotic? Only neurotic people wonder that, right! 🙂

      • Lol! Nah, I’m in that boat. I take off my shoes too. I certainly would in boots. Maybe she left them on so she could assume a deduction. “Yeah, these shoes weigh 5 pounds. That’s about right.” 🙂

  2. Browsing the Atlas
    March 19, 2013

    You captured such an exquisite little slice of human nature with this. Your stories are so compelling. I would have been the man who stepped down and furtively glanced at his stomach…

    • Ah, thanks so much! I love it when I can share what I’ve seen. I think I would have also been a belly-glancer. Fresh from a week of wonderful Hungarian dishes, I have some work to do! 😀

  3. Patty Andes
    March 20, 2013

    I love the confidence they both had to weigh themselves in such a public place! Having struggled with my weight all my life, I can’t imagine ever doing so…

    • Agreed, Patty! I wonder if it would be the same in a US airport? In Istanbul, I’d see people standing with a bathroom scale in the sidewalk, and you could pay them a bit to weigh yourself. In the street, on a bridge. Compared to that, the airport is pretty discreet! 🙂 Thanks for coming to read the blog!

  4. kuwaitquilter
    March 25, 2013

    Beautiful small windows on humanity. Thank you for letting us glimpse them.

    • Thank you for stopping by! You’re welcome to peer in the windows any time! I hope I can keep sharing the positive. 🙂

  5. Carl D'Agostino
    April 1, 2013

    Are you old enough to remember those “weight and fortune for a penny” scales ?

  6. Paul J. Stam
    April 12, 2013

    Loved this an others of yours. Glad you stopped by Paper, Mud and Me again and that you liked “Give Me A Break.”

  7. billgncs
    April 21, 2014

    mirror mirror on the wall, am I the fairest of them all
    Heartless scale upon the floor, give me a weight I will adore…

    • Bligincs: I owe you a message for your journey abroad! I apologize! My recommendation is to pack light, smile at strangers, and be willing to change plans at a moment’s notice.

      This has always been tough for me to balance with my general thriftiness, but usually if I can book an inexpensive place to stay, then the rest can blow in the wind. 🙂

      I love the poem. Thank you, my friend!

  8. M-R
    April 22, 2014

    It’s a nice vignette, but I can tell you for a fact I wouldn’t’ve got up on it …

    • Oh yeah, M-R, I wouldn’t either! You and I would likely be having some airport wine, beer, or tea and observing from a safe distance. 🙂

  9. michaelwatsonvt
    April 22, 2014

    Marvelous! And so very evocative…..

    • Thank you, Michael! I always feel fortunate to catch people in such everyday-but-interesting situations. 🙂


  10. Elizabeth Hein
    April 22, 2014

    This is a lovely glimpse into their life together. Airports are one of the places that people are in close proximity with so many people, yet still are by themselves.

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