At Christopher Newport University, which was Christopher Newport College when I attended – a big shout out to “Shoe Lane U” – I took an interpersonal communications class taught by Dr. Rita Hubbard. I remember a lot from that class. I remember being appalled that the girl sitting behind me voted for Walter Mondale (now, you know what year it was), since I was a Reagan Democrat at the time. I voted for Bob Dole in 1996 because Clinton signed DOMA. Sue me. Ironically, I am still working the phones for the Hillary 2008 campaign. I refuse to concede.
Where the fuck was I?
Oh yes, Dr. Hubbard’s class. I liked Dr. Hubbard although she was a bit pompous by Newport News, Virginia, standards. One day in class, she stated that once her face fell, she would get a facelift. I am going to bite my tongue because I liked her, and she is still alive.
We learned quite a bit in her class, and it was the third of her classes I had taken. The first was a speech class, where I delivered a series of speeches on Lucille Ball and the state of situation comedies in the 1980s. Big surprise there. I also met my first boyfriend in that class. A guy who turned out to be a pathological liar whose entire life and even his name were fabricated! We went on a trip to New York, my first time on an airplane – Piedmont Airlines – and we stayed at his brother’s apartment, which turned out to be a flat in a warehouse we had to break into that thankfully had running water, but no furniture. To this day, I wonder if that was really his brother’s apartment. I lost touch with him soon after that trip. I have not looked for him on Facebook either, since I never knew his real name.
Yes, I got off track again. Deal with it. The creative mind is quite complex, or in my case, a hot mess.
Among the things we learned in the interpersonal communications class was how women and men take up space when they sit and when they walk. Men tend to swing their arms and walk as if they just finished a heavy lat workout at the local Nautilus – Chris Canavos will appreciate that one. When they sit, they spread their legs as if they are waiting for oral service or a ball waxing. Women tend to walk more narrowly as if their entire path is a runway in Milan; and when they sit, they cross their ankles and close up, practicing for marriage – especially the Jewish ones. How do you stop a Jewish woman from having sex? Marry her. Yeah, yeah, I know. I’ve told that one a hundred times.
Oh, how times have changed.
In the 1980s, we were skinnier. I know I was. How else did I wear those tight OP shorts and stove pipe pants that made me look as if I had no working man parts? Remember Whitney Houston’s first video? She was as skinny as a crack pipe. As a result of our undiscovered love of all things high fructose corn syrup, we took up less space then.
Another thing has happened along the way. I remember carrying my books to class under my arm. I never carried anything with me when I went to work at Sammy & Nick’s Steak House except for two pens. I didn’t need a backpack. But now, everyone takes all their belongings with them wherever they go. We carry more shit with us today than ever. Where in the hell are we going?
I am just as guilty. I just took a quick glance inside my bag, which is the equivalent of looking inside Grandma’s purse. I have Kleenex, an umbrella, Excedrin, Benadryl, Zyrtec, Aleve, Claritin, bandages, gum, pens, a baseball cap, a knit cap, gloves, a grocery bag, my lunch, water bottle, eyeglass cleaner, an extra pair of glasses, manicure kit, emery boards, batteries (I always have batteries), iPhone charger, eye drops, moisturizer, brush, comb, and baby wipes. What? No extra pair of underwear? I need to fix that.
But at least mine is just a messenger bag. Yes, I got all that into a messenger bag. I have been told I am the best packer.
What I cannot stand are the people who carry luggage with them everywhere they go, especially on public transportation. And worse yet – roller bags! Are you going on a trip somewhere? Is it a three-hour tour? Why do you need to carry your Samsonite everywhere you go?
The roller bags are the biggest nuisance on the Metro platform. They are so wide you cannot get past them on an escalator, and those who live in DC know: stand on the right; walk on the left. If only the tourists knew that. Once you pull an OJ Simpson and get past them, as you run for your train, there is someone else with a roller bag blocking your path. If you thought by OJ Simpson I meant you stab them to death and get away with it, you are very young. Think Hertz commercial.
Not only are they in your way, but also they are the ones who walk slowly through the station as if they have nowhere to go. I guess if you have all your belongings with you all the time, you don’t need to be in a rush. You are your destination. It makes the transition to homelessness that much easier.
Once you get by the snails with the luggage, then you have to get by the …
OK, I am about to be so politically incorrect, I am going to hurt some feelings, but there is no other way to say this.
… fat people. If 80s fashions ever come back, these people have no hope. Why is it the bigger the ass the slower the pace? There is only so much room between the edge of the platform and the various poles and stairways and escalators at any given Metro station. It never fails. Just as I hear the chime of the Metro doors, I am behind someone who could moon Houston – the fourth largest city in the United States (I just read that on Wikipedia, and if it is on Wikipedia, it must be true). As you try to pass on the left, what looks like someone smuggling couch cushions swings to the left, and when you try to pass on the right, you almost get bumped onto the third rail 70s style.
Without your ass, you couldn’t walk forward, so shouldn’t these people be walking faster than the rest of us?
For those of you who don’t take Metro, these are the people who are in the crosswalk when the light turns green, and unless you want one for a hood ornament, you have to wait two cycles of the light before you can proceed. Have you ever yelled out your window, “Move your fat ass!”?
No? Me neither.
After dodging all shapes and sizes of roller luggage and various and sundry gluteus maximusses, you finally get on the train, and for once you get a seat. Don’t get too comfortable. Remember that one ass in the blue polyester you had to cross to the other side of the platform to avoid, it is aiming for the seat next to you. It creates such a shadow that you would swear you were witnessing a solar eclipse in a tunnel.
Now, I am six-four, two-hundred-forty pounds. I carry it well, and with the aid of spanks, you will never deny me that delusion. With my frame and tonnage comes my own wide girth, so if you are going to sit next to me, you cannot be built like a 1959 Rambler American. Don’t tell Teensy or Weensy that (there is your I Love Lucy reference for the day).
I don’t know how many times I have heard: “Oh have mercy, ummmph, Lord, let me sit, oh my, uuummppph,” as one of those twin globes of adipose tissue squeezed into the seat next to me then pulled her roller luggage closer and blocked what little leg room I had.
Funny, after they get squeezed into the seat, they always give me a look as if I am the one taking up all the room. Hey, I didn’t eat an entire box of Entenmann’s donuts for lunch. OK, I did, but I work out.
America is getting fatter, and all that fat is spilling into my personal space!
If you have a large ass and are proud of it, follow me, join me, get on my email list, but don’t get in front of me. Better yet, buy one of my books at www.miltonstern.com.