So I'm walking down the street in DC yesterday, in totally the opposite direction from the National Press Building, although I didn't know that at the time. It was hot as my own personal hell, and I was wearing a dress and I was sweaty and having to go be in a room with people who didn't need to see me looking a literal hot mess.
A cab appeared. I flagged it down. I got in and began inappropriately disclosing information to the cabbie, as is my thinking-out-loud habit and my genetic programming courtesy of my mother.
"WOW I THOUGHT I WAS BARELY GOING TO MAKE IT!" I said, hyperbolically. "It is HOT!"
He looked at me in the rearview.
"OH, you are pregnant?!?"
"No. No, I'm not."
(Please note that the next ten minutes were conducted from him in heavily accented English and from me with an internal monologue of "it's totally okay that I'm discussing fat fetishes with a cab driver who thought I WAS EFFING PREGNANT, which I AM NOT, although it would be NICE to be since I'm OLD AND SINGLE AND CHILDLESS AND ALL AND ISN'T THAT A FINE ENOUGH TORTURE COCKTAIL, WITHOUT BEING MISTAKEN FOR BEING PREGNANT ON TOP OF THESE HORRIBLE CURSES???????" Just sayin'.)
"Oh, haha, I think you are pregnant because you say you can barely make it."
(Nice save. Try again.)
"No, I say I can't make it because...I am hot and out of breath. There are likely pregnant women who can run circles around me. I am just fat. And out of shape."
"OHHHHH, haha, I LIKE THE FAT WOMEN. My wife is fat!"
He giggled, honestly - I'd say it was joyful on some level.
"Really?" (Insert conflict here between nervousness that I am complicit in the actions of a man calling his wife fat, and my own sense of solidarity with this perhaps-imaginary-fat-wife-of-cabdriver whom I've never met.)
"OHHHHHHH (ed. he was really loud, sorry for going all Owen Meany on your asses.) she is SOO fat. (ed. My wife is sooo fat she sits AROUND THE HOUSE. Sorry again.) She is 280 pounds!"
(I begin using outside, oxymoronic voice.) "That is a LITTLE big. Is she okay with it? IS she healthy? Does she have trouble getting around in this heat too?"
WHAT? WHO AM I????
"She is a nurse! It is a myth! The myth that you are fat and lazy!"
PREACH IT DUDE. Oh Christ, where is my money? God I hope I can pay him after all of this nonsense and don't need to go wheezing off in search of provisions AND cash while he wastes away, all 120 pounds of him.
"IS A myth! She walks all day! She walks and walks! And the thin people, THEY are unhealthy!"
This really got me going.
"YEAH! Like, I don't even SMOKE anymore. I used to smoke! You can be thin and smoke! And be all SICK. I have to be on a diet to MAINTAIN my weight!"
"MY WIFE TOO! Yes. Your numbers. It is all your other numbers. If your BLOOD PRESSURE is GOOD..."
At this point the gospel choir from the "Like a Prayer" video busted out somewhere in the universe with "Your choice your voice can take me there!" and there was witnessing and praise from my several subconscious selves, me and this tiny little cab driver and his fat wife who I'd never met, but who I imagined I would soon, at a beautiful pastry-laden table.
"And your SUGAR! My sugar is FINE!" I interrupted, compelled by the power of the choir.
"I have ALWAYS like the fat women. It does not matter to me, but people say to me, 'Why? Why do you like them?' And I say, 'I do not know.'
"Yeah, there are men who seem to prefer larger women. How long have you been married?"
"38 years! It is no problem for me. It is the FAT men who like the thin women, you see them? The big fat men with these little tiny women?"
"Um, yeah. Must admit I do see that sometimes. Do you think it's because they have money?"
I step into this man's car and I become prejudiced against everyone in my fat solidarity all of a sudden. What can I say? It was like a wrinkle in time.
More continuing. "They have SOMETHING, those men, of course they must have the money too. They have the something something. WHAT DOES IT MATTER? THE PERSON MAKE YOU HAPPY IN BED, THEY LOOK HOWEVER YOU LIKE THEM TO LOOK."
Should have seen that one coming maybe?
"I guess so, yes. Well, your wife is very lucky that you see her so positively, because in my experience many men don't. Or is that just because she could beat you up at this point?"
Look at the jolly fat jokes with a side of domestic violence all of a sudden! Nice! I have no idea what happens to me sometimes.
He thought that was hilarious.
"Haha, she could beat me up ONE time, but oh, she is disabled now, she is fine but another story for another time, not enough time, but you know we are all okay with whoever, whatever we like."
Yes, I hope so. And I'm not sure what I said when I got out of the cab, since cab arrivals are times for my synapses to collide in a frenzy of making sure I have my camera and my wallet and my keys and to figure out how many dollars I let him keep from a twenty, which more or less prevents any other rational thought.
I do remember thanking him for making me laugh, because he totally did, and too many people don't. Right or wrong, I have to admit that although validation from random strangers really doesn't factor into my daily bread, it was kind of cool that fat was where it was at in his cab.
*I don't disclose my weight just because I don't, but if you've arrived here for the first time or haven't ever seen me, it should be noted that I am not and have not been since the age of 10 a small girl, and in fact have recently reached a weight that for me is a personal high. I'm cool with it on lots of levels, and don't take any political stance on fat acceptance other than believing that whatever's healthy and comfortable for you, that's what you should do and be and handle. I'm a reporter at the moment, so forgive me my need for background. ;)