Today I was driving in my truck after Church with my wife and son. We go to a Quaker Meeting on Sunday mornings and I was feeling the after meeting bliss that comes from sitting quietly with a bunch of other people thinking, listening, and meditating. As we passed another Church or maybe it was a school where I saw a crossing guard with a slow down sign, and some young children crossing the street. As I slowed down I heard the car in back of me beeping and after we passed the crossing I noticed him trying to pass me aggressively on the right.
So much for the bliss. Now my adrenaline was flowing and the testosterone was definitely kicking in. When we pulled to the light we ended up side by side with his car on the right of my pickup truck. He rolled down his window and started yelling something, and I in turn rolled down the passenger side window where my wife was sitting and started yelling back. At this point I wasn't sure what the problem was but anyone who blows his horn and tries to pass when children are in the street is an ass as far as I'm concerned.
As he was yelling I started to make out something about "pussy liberals" and Democrats. It was starting to make a little sense now, he was pissed because I have anti-war bumper stickers on the back of my truck. I've run into this a few times already, during the election it got really bad with rednecks trying to run me off the road several times because I dare voice an opposing opinion to what they have drummed into their heads by Fox News.
He went on about how if people like me had their way that "Sadam Hussein would still be raping and killing today" and then he said it: "Look at you, you fat fuck". I could tell from where I sat in my truck that he was a redneck, skinhead, moron but he could tell from where he was sitting, just by seeing my face across the cab of my truck, that I was a "fat fuck". At that moment something became crystal clear to me, something that I've been trying to avoid recognizing. To other people, on first glance, my defining feature is that I'm a "fat fuck" or to be PC about it an overweight or obese person. Maybe since I wasn't always this way I don't see myself this way. I've gained a great deal of weight in the last 10 years, especially after moving to NC and giving up smoking, and its been a constant daily struggle dealing with it. Different doctors, different exercise regimes, different diets, therapy, different prescriptions. So far nothing has worked.
In our society we treat the overweight and obese with distain and repulsion. They are the lowest of the low, after all, why don't they just get it together and just stop being fat lazy slobs who couldn't push themselves away from the table much less lift a finger to exercize. I've had this attitude at times myself. As an ex-normal person I'll see a fat person now and recoil in disgust before I even notice the irony, hypocrisy and total lack of compassion in the thought running through my mind; "Damn, look at that fat fuck, why can't he just........".
Normally I wouldn't pay any mind to what someone like this person said, but with schoolyard honed accuracy he picked up on my one outstanding weakness and let it rip. My son is too young to know that I'm fat and that being fat is something we look down upon in our society. I know that someday he'll figure that out or worse yet some other schoolyard bully will point it out to him.
The thought of my son thinking of me as "that fat fuck" or someone to be embarressed about breaks my heart. So tonight I'll get back on that elliptical trainer again and pray that somehow, someday I won't be the "fat fuck" anymore and "four-eyed freak" will be the worst insult that can be hurled at me based on my appearance during some random idiotic driving encounter.