About the Colony

At concerts, in parking lots and at the fair, I need my space

Special to The TribuneOctober 21, 2013 

Lon Allan


My wife thinks I like tiny spaces because the first three months of my life were spent in a box that contained a light bulb and a hanging thermometer, much like a brooder for baby chicks.

She’s partially right.

But I am also getting tired of being squeezed in at concerts, the parking lot and sitting in the grandstand at the California Mid-State Fair.

Even the new seats at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly seem smaller and less comfortable.

An article in The Tribune last week brought this all to mind when it reported that airlines are installing smaller and thinner (can you say less padding?) seats and even making the aisles narrower.

Have you ever measured the width of those numbers painted on the metal bench seats at the Mid-State fairgrounds? I’m not sure what the average width of the American posterior is right now, but I can assure you it exceeds the space provided for in those grandstand seats.

I think fair officials, wanting to squeeze more of us into a smaller space, figure that “on average” a certain number of adult butts will fit on 40 feet of seating. Frankly, you can’t even let your arms hang at your side. The arms on the Poly complex chairs have shrunk as well. And from what I’ve observed, the American bottom is widening, not getting narrower.

I get the same feeling of being squeezed out when I try to park in the Atascadero Rite Aid/Starbucks facility. The city ordered that all the parking spaces there be compact-sized. Driving my wife’s SUV through that parking lot is a challenge. The lot barely accommodates my small pickup truck. I think it is the old “slice the baloney a little thinner” mentality working on us.

I know there are more of us in any given space here, in Los Angeles, in New York and in the world. That is an issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

I know it sounds melodramatic, but I need my space. I need it when parking my car and when I’m trying to enjoy a concert somewhere.

I hope there’s room for these thoughts in today’s paper. Oh well, I know they’ll squeeze it in.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column is published weekly. Reach him at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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