I live in a fat town, a big one actually. It isn’t New Orleans, or Birmingham, or Washington D.C. Its New York. It isn’t some food-obsessed, spread out, laid-back town. The trendy, pretentious city that I’m from has an ugly side. Its common people. The fat, lazy, ill-spirited residents of New York City who crowd the buses and subways, dying for the chance to get a seat, to never have to walk, to never have to take the stairs. They know they are fat, but they must squeeze into that middle subway seat. They know that they are touching you. You WILL be punished for getting on the train earlier than this person. They know that their size is an inconvenience. They stand still on MTA escalators and take MTA elevators instead of the stairs.
Know what else? They’ve got kids. Strollers, double strollers. McDonald’s bags stuffed in the compartments and Arizona Iced Teas in the cup holders. The kids are three years too old for strollers and have never walked for more than four minutes. If there’s no elevator in the subway, they expect you to help them up or down the stairs with this Escalade stroller. They take up the space of five people between their over-sized body and the stroller. They travel with other parents who bring other kids and other strollers. THEY CAUSE TRAFFIC. They’re listening to headphones as their children cry. Their favorite time to travel is rush hour.
They also fight to the death for seats. They stand at the door to maintain that position in a crowded train. They go out of their way to be lazy and in the way. These are generally the only things they go out of their way to do. The backwards MTA system is built for and around them. “Improvements” to the MTA come in additions to laziness like elevators. I’m from a fat city that could be a fit, stair-taking, gym-hating, active place. I often run in and see races in the city that make me wonder if these are ALL of the individuals who run in the city. I know it isn’t, but it feels that way. I feel like I’m surrounded by fat and acceptance of fat. I feel like the line at the Shake Shack is getting longer. I feel like life is getting slower here like we are in the south.
I remember this being a fast city, with fast money and fast movement and a whole lot of people with places to go and things that should’ve already been done. You can’t move quickly without a hard body, so this overpopulated, over-stressed city is going to slow to a stop if this trend doesn’t stop. In New York, we don’t simply need to look better, we need to be better, or else how can we be special? Fitness in our city should be about being intelligent, hip, crafty, and should help our personal success. It needs to embody everything New Yorkers seem to be to the outside world. Our inability to live up to our expectations will eventually tarnish our image if it hasn’t been already. It starts with us as individuals, and how effectively we use our bodies.