Friday, July 1, 2011

Public Transportation and Fat People

Some months ago I saw some extreme liberal types saying that cities should do away with all cars, this has been initiatives actually taken in Europe. All I can think is to be sick, or old in such places means your life is now going to be very limited. Remember even scooting around on one of those Segway's means you need a bit of balance and a more average body weight of under 250lbs. I find such suggestions elitist too, until you are hiding behind a brick wall at a city bus stop from the armed robber with a shogun too, all suggestions for people to give up their cars everywhere is nuts.

Such types never think about how does one grocery shop for the week, and carry all the bags home? You simply can't, you are left to two bags at a time and at least grocery shopping every 2 days and if you are weak and sick that means being able to carry less, and dealing with angry people on the bus, where along with your fat body they resent enough, they squish your groceries as they squeeze by you. I lived life without a car for five years, and let's just say today, I would seriously consider giving up paying rent before living without a car again.

I had to ride the bus for five years in a huge metro city and didn't own a car, which was a nightmare for a woman especially towards the end who could barely walk, just even going 5 miles down the road cost me so much money, I quite going out as much, even to places where I could handle physically. I realized just going to the library in a neighboring suburb, it cost 4 dollars for the cab, 1.50 for the subway to get up there, and another 2.00 on the bus to get down the street to the waiting trains. 8 bucks just to leave the house and go to a library that was about 5-6 miles away! Life there became a nightmare.

Another example was getting to the discount grocery store, two bus routes, with a 30 minute bus stop wait in between time. I couldn't even stand long enough to make that happen. That is thing that scares me about the weight gain, I had to walk everywhere, and still grew fat, even with this "increased exercise". Often they would turn off the escalators and in this huge city, elevators or any accomodations for the disabled were horrible, there was one time when I was over 600lbs and returning home from out of town, found myself in front of a "turned off" handicapped elevator three flights under ground after getting off a subway. I had no choice but to crawl up the stairs, coughing, wheezing and holding on to the railing for dear life.

As I got sicker and relented, I signed up with the disability driver service, where they pick you up in a van, you called in your times three days ahead of time, but got abandoned so much, and so badly, it really was no option at all. This included being left for 5 hours at one library before I decided to hitchhike to get to a bus stop to get me home. Endless calls, and begging to be picked up did not work--[I had not made a mistake, both times were on their list, but got constant excuses] I do not recommend hitchhiking, it is dangerous, I used to try to ask women to give me rides, and offering at least 5 dollars to do so having no other choice to get home. Due to the combination of not being able to walk well [at some of the highest weight stratospheres], and low on funds, I was forced to do this at least a few times.

One thing about public transporation that is not talked about, especially if one has to use it in let's say less genteel areas, is that open harrassment of the fat, can happen. It happened to me. It got so bad, I had to learn to fight verbally and also ward off physical attacks, which ranged from having a woman grab me around my stomach and screaming: "You are so fat!!!, you'd be pretty without this" to having a teen gang literally threaten me while I minded my own business to the point, I talked the bus driver into dropping me off in front of a police station where I called a cab to get to where I needed to go.

Even the cab drivers could be fat adversive, while some were friendly other's would try to refuse me a ride when I was at the highest weights. I did fit in the cabs but still remember the day one cabbie, told me "You can't get in my cab, you are too fat and will break the springs!". Exhausted and having waited for a cab for an hour already with no place to sit, I sat down in his cab, and refused to move and told him he could call the cops or take me home. He chose to take me home.

Today even though I weigh less, the sheer physical demands of depending on public transportation would be far more then I could do. But there was more, the worse part was dealing with the PUBLIC.

There was other bad stuff I saw too, let's just say criminal behavior which I believe if I hadn't had the career I had, being trained to deal with violent youth, with some of the inherent street smarts that came from that, I'd be just a statistic now. In other words, self defense was an important asset of life to me. I saw a woman referring to fat women as "limping gazelles" when it comes to predatory men and well, if you are superfat, and in a public area that is not a kind one, you are more vulnerable. They know you can't run very well.

I was not surprised to see this...Where this woman talks about being verbally attacked on a bus. The article is good, though I would not explain myself so much to a person who lacks basic civility. I had that happen too, hoots and insults, and sometimes just getting on a big city bus was a nightmare. I did befriend one bus driver and sat up next to him, for my main bus route, which lowered trouble quite a bit, but of course he was not there for all shifts or routes.

Thankfully today, I no longer have to deal with the "public" on public transporation and my household has a car. I know it does serve an important interest, poor people without any bus or local based busing system, need something for transportation, so I am not against public transportation, Dial-A-Ride buses, county transport serve very important uses, but for super-fat people there can be added difficulties.

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