reemastication

softening hard experience

I am crossing the street, worrying about protective headgear

It’s proving difficult to find an apartment that suits my height. One Craigslist ad described an apartment I made the mistake of going to view as having “soaring ceilings”, a fact that might have been true, were I the same size as Prince Rogers Nelson or Dustin Hoffman. Knowing that I can leap spontaneously in the air when walking through my living space, without spreading my brains across the ceiling, would be a weight off my mind.

I was walking back from seeing an apartment this morning, waiting to cross at the lights by the Atlantic Yards, wondering whether I would just have to compromise and start wearing protective headgear, when I heard a voice.

“Do you run?”

I turn around. An extremely overweight African-American man, dressed in loose blue sports clothes, and gulping down water, is sitting down against the Atlantic Yards fence. He looks bothered by the gathering heat.

“Do you run?” he asks again, indicating my trainers.

“Not really, I don’t do nearly enough exercise.” Or indeed, any.

“I’m walking today, because I’ve gotta do something about my weight. I got chest pains, I thought I should go to the gym. But I’m too lazy to go to the gym, I don’t last half-an-hour.” He is genuinely very large – William “The Fridge” Perry large – so this does not come as a total surprise.

I sympathise, telling him that the most I have ever been psychologically prepared to do in a gym is swim.

He continues: “I’m cutting down on my red meat, eating more vegetables, drinking water, drinking water, but I do eat junk food, a lot of junk food. So I figure if I’m walking twenty blocks a day, that should help.”

My mind wanders briefly, as I feel the strain of my belly against my waistband, back to my breakfast of Dominican eggs, bacon and homefries, and two Cuban coffees.

“I’m walking to Nostrand, that’s twenty blocks, then I’m gonna take a cab. I’m just taking a break now, because I figure I can do it ten blocks at a time.”

I ask him how long he has been following this regime.

“It’s my first day,” he beams. We shake hands, I wish him luck, and turn to cross the road. I’ve missed the lights, but I don’t turn back, and nor does he.

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