David and Goliath
Last night I was on the bus. It was nearly empty, so everyone, myself included, had done the same thing: left a single seat every so often, forcing the newcomers to choose who they would make suffer the indignity of being sat next to on a bus, of all places.
On stepped a young man, about my age, I’d guess, with a sweet face and on-trend glasses and a girl on his arm that I recognized, I thought. When I saw them searching for seats together, I got up and let them have my seat and, de facto, the one next to it. She thanked me without acknowledging she had met me before, perhaps not remembering, looped her right arm in his and nestled into his shoulder. They started chatting softly and she draped her left arm comfortably across his middle. It just barely made it half way. He was very heavy, you see. Fat.
Modern culture hisses that fat people are to be stared at or conspicuously not stared at, to be shamed, ignored, tolerated. I imagine, based on my experience as a woman in the modern world, that many fat people internalize this monologue and feel it coming from everyone who looks at them, particularly in moments of softness. When I forget to don my analytical/feminist armour and make eye contact with someone who reminds me of what society thinks I should be, I feel just as worthless and powerless as every shaving cream ad wants me to. I didn’t want to engender that feeling in him, but I was so touched by their tableau that I kept stealing peeks.
He seemed comfortable with her, but uncomfortable at the PDA, which I can understand. It looked like they had just come from a party, tired and maybe a little drunk. They didn’t do or say anything objectively remarkable, but I kept looking.
It is often, on the Ossington bus, that I see couples, of all stripes and glasses types, canoodling, and especially in the wee hours. They can be chatty or quiet, kissing or not, but they are unmistakable and unremarkable in their couplehood. It is rare that I see a pair of people who draw my attention because the spark between them recalls a cabin fire rather than a school of minnows being attacked. A pair of friends (or lovers) who remind me that intimacy between people is only a good thing, that caring about someone is always worthwhile. I was very happy to see this person, who I imagine has experienced many indignities related to his size, who, indeed, maybe just experienced one when I gave up my seat for him - acknowledging that he might be uncomfortable, in his girth, standing in the aisle or sitting on a two-seat rather than a three-seat bench - was canoodling with a girl I know to be bright and smart and successful. The whole thing seemed so genuine, so personal, that I was ashamed to be looking, but couldn’t stop.
A content young fat man - not jolly, just content - isn’t something I see with any regularity. I appreciated him as a form of resistance to a damaging cultural paradigm and felt reinvigorated in my own resistance to the paradigm set out for me.
So, I’m sorry for staring if it made you uncomfortable, but you looked sweet.
• 24 November 2013
You may know that I love astrology.
Some days it’s so right on the nose that I’m vindicated in my life-living because dammit even a new agey text-creating autobot knew that November 18th would be the day I finally got paid.
cf. Horoscope.com for today: “Life is an adventure. At least, that’s the attitude you take today. Flush with past success and basking in the affection of friends, you’re feeling especially confident and enthusiastic. You’ll consider if not adopt any possible option for your future, even if it involves taking off for an exotic land! It will involve learning and meeting new people who share your interests.”
I’m wearing my jammies and my fleecy drapey sweater thing and a bunch of Band-aids in my unmade bed, triumphal after hanging some art in the living room. It took two tries and a dollar store level.
FLUSH WITH PAST SUCCESS!
• 23 November 2013
I seriously, seriously hate camping.
Murder, decapitation, haunted summer camp across the lake, wet socks, warm cheese, hikes, static-y hair, sleeping on a bottle cap, lack of public transit within walking distance.
• 23 November 2013
Years later, when Ghostbusters comes out, the mother will have eerie flashbacks when watching the final battle but won’t understand why. This baby will undergo an emergence of sentience much like that of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man.
Many household items will be destroyed.
• 27 September 2013
The Rings Remind Me
The rings inside my mug remind me of cracked bones in old medical slides.
Of tracks that carry little wooden carts down to the bottom of a mine.
Of a Chinese tea-dyed 100-year egg, which I have never and will never age into trying.
Of dirt-smudged fingers growing up from the ground, the real green thumbs.
• 26 September 2013
Bro…. Bro. Like super hot. She’s like super— Like, twins hot. You ever seen those twins by rock path? They jog like everyday when I’m coming home from the gym. One’s got bangs and one’s got this hot rat face and they’re always wearing shirts that don’t match their shorts. I like a girl who coordinates. A little pink-and-black workout outfit. Shows she’s feminine. Shows where the curves are—haha! She takes care of herself. Like my mamma always said, “Baby, there are no good things in this world come from a woman in cut-offs.” Not classy. But the twins don’t wear cut-offs, just, you know, not classy. Baggy t-shirts and whatever.
I want a classy chick, you know? A girl that I’ll want to hold the door for. She has like soft lips and her nails have those little white tips. She’ll have a fat butt and a little waist and call me Baby. No, not like my mom, bro. God. You’re fuckin’ ignorant sometimes. There’s different ways of saying a word. Like fuck and fuuuuck! Like you’re mad, you say fuck you! Or someone’s joking and you’re like fuck you! That’s totally different. Duh. There are only so many words, right, bro? That’s why we have to take from Spanish, cabrón. And Swedish, like smorgasbord. Leftovers. Or a bunch of blond bitches at a club. You know. You can’t think every word is just one word. That’s fucking ignorant.
My chick would know a bunch of words and be able to read anything right off the screen. But she wouldn’t get all snotty about it, correcting your grammar and shit. She’d just be able to talk like a really good real estate agent to cops and whoever and then with me she could say nasty shit.
Nah, bro. She could wear cut-offs in bed.
• 25 September 2013
INT. LIBRARY - DAY
Woman sits reading a textbook. Man approaches her. He’s got a bike helmet strapped to his backpack.
I just wanted to see what textbook you were reading.
Is it for a class?
I studied social work and I just wanted to say, it’s a really good text book.
So, are you taking a class?
Yep, just studying for a test.
A pause. He considers his options.
Great… well, see ya.
• 24 September 2013
Have you ever had the feeling that everything you were putting in your mouth might be poisoned?
That each time you turned the stereo on, someone was plotting your murder?
That everything you did had a million consequences that you could never anticipate, but ultimately meant you were dead meat?
Are you scared to sleep shirtless because despite your sleep shirt’s totally puncturable cotton body, it at least protects your honour?
Are you hallucinating a crack in the wall that grows and grows, splintering the poorly-secured dry wall?
Are you awake? Hey, are you awake?
• 23 September 2013
“Awesome and terrifying to behold." Why just be pretty when you can be fearsome and glorious?”
• 23 September 2013
This woman with a delicate white face that slopes gently into her pooched out second chin that I can only see when she untangles her headphones, she’s right here.
She’s got her foot in a boot and vacant eyes. I’m glad she got a seat. Not that the virus can spread that fast, the bite is obviously from a toddling zombie (ankle biters), but she just has that face. A face that was pretty in infancy and childhood, then never again. I think Rona Jaffe said something about a man marrying woman made beautiful by the bloom of youth, never before, never after. I read The Best Of Everything on the L in Chicago. Maybe this woman’s just tired, and if so, all the more reason to sit down and get some rest before she starts chasing people into ravines and down long chiaroscuro city streets filled with capitalist trash and the scent of rotting flesh.
After zombie, my predictive text offers prom and apocalypse.
She’s only wearing mascara but it’s clear she works in an office. She doesn’t need foundation, her skin’s like a white crayon. Her hands are like statues’ hands, white and soft-looking. She was probably tiny as a child. During puberty, when she got those huge breasts and lank hair, I imagine she started dressing like that - to hide them. Her sweater has glitter in it. What kind of office would employ such a childish zombie?
• 18 September 2013