As I was born a grateful type with a good dollop of enthusiasm and general - no, make that selective - love for my fellow man, why the slow-cooked dislike for my fellow passenger on a flight from Auckland to Hong Kong?
A man so obese it took a while to twig that the strange expansion taking place against my leg nearest him was not some new airline chair device that adapts to your shape. But, rather, human fat with nowhere else to ooze than against my person.
Every 10 minutes or so he'd realise we were touching physically and he'd pull the offending limb away. His falling asleep often meant I got not only involuntary bodily contact, but the whole considerable weight of his thigh against mine.
I declined the early evening meal in the hope he'd feel shamed and decline his. But of course he could not follow my example and I was asking, who the hell am I to be judging this poor guy? A few hours later I ordered noodles.
He took one sniff of mine and ordered the same and finished before I did. So the needle rose on my dislike of him. That he sat there not reading but, surprise, watching television, only pushed the needle higher.
Armed with my usual stack of newspapers and two books, I had the first 11-hour leg more than covered. Just the distraction of The Ooze like some tentacle probing for my intolerant spots. Not quite as bad the man who sat beside you on a long-haul flight hacking up phlegm from his deepest parts.
Before I left for the trip back to France, my friend and I were talking about the differences of people; which we agreed on balance should be accepted, not judged. Easier said. My highly tolerant father could not abide anyone sucking while they ate. Thus, nor can I. So much for theory.
My paternal grandfather could not get himself to gnaw at a lamb chop; what he couldn't get off with knife and fork stayed on the bone and left his visiting Rotorua grandsons salivating. Even after nearly a decade of living mostly in France, I have failed to acquire a taste for multi-course meals.
A main is enough and I still don't get the French custom of a five-course meal stretched over two hours. I don't eat desserts, snacks, cakes, biscuits, sweets, raw sugar in any form, or processed food other than (shame) tomato sauce and mayonnaise.
A range of euphemisms for red wine consumption suddenly apply as follows: I'm a writer who needs a necessary daily stimulant/depressant; pacifies my demons; dispels my social inhibitions; tastes and feels nice.
My carnivorous hunger for meat means I'm a "real man". The way I eat a raw mussel from the shell is not slurping or unrestrained greed. It's eating how my Maori ancestors ate. Vegetarians trouble me. But when I have five or six different veges with my meat, that's healthy.
I devour any kind meat on the bone like a canine afraid of losing it to a bigger carnivore. But you suck and blow as you eat and I become my father. My grandfather once wrote of being horrified and ashamed that, at some middle-class house he visited as a young man, he ate the grape offerings as they were served, while his hosts peeled theirs. I think he had social hang-ups. While mine are called complexities.
If your exit row seat is by the toilets you'll know that obese people go a lot and for quite long periods. I am no Bob Jones at humorous descriptions of fat people, or I'd pile in. And too sensitive about almost everything to go beyond a certain point, at least in public like here.
But looking in the mirror a moment, the evidence is inarguable: I spent five weeks in New Zealand, a country that sells a lot of pies. Back on the bike for you, fatty. And back to the land of immediate first-impressions, France.
At passport control the queue was about 300 long with only two customs officers. Fifty minutes to fly the last 800 kilometres; same to get through French customs. But a country now going through massive change of its own choice of new, radical leader who might well lead this beautiful nation to its full potential.
And "home" to the fantastic news of our Kiwi boys winning the America's Cup.