Scales of Indifference

There is a wide and varied range of things that piss me off. I hate it when people walk slowly in front of me or blow smoke in my face or when friends are late more than five minutes or when they steal chips off my plate. I hate it when the heel of a shoe wears out while the rest is still brand new. I hate it when publications pay me late and expect me to accept it as par for the course. I hate it when I hear stories about 53-year-old film stars in steamy clinches with women who are not their wife of 28 years (*cough* Mel Gibson *cough*). But more than all of that, I hate it when skinny girls moan about being fat.

It’s exasperating when a size six nothing pinches her almost non-existent waist and gasps in horror at the amount of fat she’s managed to amass between her emaciated fingers (I used to work for a fashion mag – believe me, it happens). I know how stupid and superficial it is so please, please bear with me while I, er, moan about getting fat.

Before I start, I’ll just say that if you’re a new reader who’s landed on this blog and is reading this post, I totally forgive you for casting me aside as a vacuous airhead.

Right, now that all the disclaimers are out of the way, I can start.

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I’ve always been able to eat like a pig and not put on an ounce of weight. And I do. I mean, I eat chips and crisps and chocolate and cakes and pastries and burgers and fritters and waffles and pancakes and popcorn and nachos and pizza and ice cream and... well, the list goes on. I have always loved food and, proportionately for my body size (and usually even in absolute terms), can out-eat most of my friends (male and female). So, no, food and weight have never been issues, but as I said in one of my previously linked posts, I’ve always suspected that my metabolism will catch up with me (or, er, the opposite so to speak) when I’m 26.

Now, for the first half year of being 26, I was all good but then, in December of last year, I went on the pill (after marriage, mind) and oh, how it’s gone downhill from there. I’ve put on about 5-7 pounds (making that 7 stones and 5 pounds on a 5'2" frame) and, no, it doesn’t exactly make me clinically obese but I can really feel it. I now understand that all my sneering and smirking at the salad-munchers and gymrats was completely misplaced. Yes, some women are delusional when they think they’re putting on weight, but I now realise that even a few pounds worth of weight gain can have an effect on a person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly hiding behind the duvet, wrapped up in shame and embarrassment but I can feel the extra weight and it’s not pleasant.

It’s great to be carefree about food – it can even give you an attractive edge – but when that translates into superiority over those who have to watch their weight, it turns a natural advantage into something quite nasty. So next time a friend passes up on that decadent dessert, please don’t roll your eyes like I used to you – have a bit of understanding.

I’m determined to lose the extra weight but I won’t find it easy to change my eating habits. I’ve been told that weight gain due to the pill peters out but, after four months, it still hasn’t. I may actually have to start exercising (gasp!). In the mean time, just to prove that I’m not delusional, I've linked to some pictures below. I’m doing this despite extreme reservations. After all, if people disagree, they’re clearly being patronising and if they agree, well, that just means I really am getting fat. Hmph.

*EDIT*: A friend has very helpfully sent me this.


The Small Things

I watched ‘Crash’ (Matt Dillon, not James Spader) for the first time the other day. It’s a film about racial tensions in LA, and was touching, poignant, subtle and sweet; one of the best films I’ve seen in a while. It made me think of the small things that affect foreigners and immigrants. You see, people don’t need the word ‘Paki’ blared at them to make them feel bad; it’s the smaller, subtler things that can make them feel like crap.

I remember being on the DLR a few years ago and this Bengali man was asking the DLR officer for some help with directions. The DLR guy couldn’t understand the man’s accent. After a few seconds, he huffed and said impatiently, “I don’t understand what you’re saying – sorry,” and just turned away. The Bengali man, chastened, simply stood there with downcast eyes, saying nothing further. I couldn’t quite believe it. I stood and, in Bengali, asked him where he wanted to go. Now, I admit that even I had trouble understanding him but the point is, I persevered. I figured out that he wanted to go to Morden. As we were on the DLR headed from Bank towards Limehouse (lovely Limehouse where I used to live... sob), I told him he needed to get off now (at Shadwell) and take the train in the opposite direction. I told him the train goes no further than the next stop where he needs to get off and catch the Northern Line. I was worried that he wouldn’t be able to find his way to the right platform so I told him to ask another person to point him in the right direction when he got to Bank.

After he left, I realised that I should have written down ‘Morden’ for him on a piece of paper because, most likely, the person he asks at the other end would just shrug and say, “I don’t understand what you’re saying – sorry”. It mays sound strange, but over the past few years, I’ve often thought about that man and felt really sad.

There are people who struggle with language and life every single day. Yes, people should make an effort to learn the language of their land (that should apply as much to British ex-pats in, say, Dubai as to Bengali immigrants in the UK) but in the interim, imagine the sense of disorientation, embarrassment and even fear they feel on a daily basis. When they can’t get from A to B without having to ask for assistance, and consequently feeling ridiculed for the way they speak, well, that's pretty sad, right?

Anyway, sorry – that’s enough melancholy for one day. I don’t know why I’m thinking sad thoughts when the sun is so bright outside. ‘Til next time.