By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003
For Japanese people to pack themselves into subway cars... that made sense. But in America, and especially in New York, there were fat people everywhere. And I'm not talking about the average person who was twenty pounds overweight. I was referring to the super fat people. The ones I always get stuck sitting next too on the subway. Actually, I never once selected an empty seat next to a fat person! Honestly, because they don't exist. At six feet in height, I was pushing the maximum capacity in mostly every form of transportation. If I was taller or weighed more then 180 pounds, I could see how some seats on subways, trains, cars, and airplanes, would be difficult to sit in for long stretches. A slender model or a small child never sat down next to me on the subway, it was always very large fat women of different ethnicities. She was one of those cross-bred commuters, excessively large and she felt that her $2 entitled her to world class service to and from Brooklyn. Personally, I felt they should have paid $4 each way, especially if they took up two seats. My complaints were valid. I always managed to have an empty seat to my left. The skinny girls sat across from me and the fat chick without hesitation plopped right down next to me. And it was not like they calmly sat on the edge of the seat and tried to fit in nicely! No fucking way. They backed that ass up! And I almost butted heads with the guy next to me, and gave the fat chick more room to squeeze into the seat. If I stood my ground, I could feel a huge force of flesh pushing up against my right side, like how the plate tectonic theory worked, with two huge plates rubbing up against each other, and the friction that occurred spewed forth earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and built majestic mountain ranges. Every few seconds, she wiggled back and forth, trying to take up more space. I was almost crawling up in the lap of the guy next to me. I know he got on at 23rd Street, and that he lived in Chelsea. I didn't want him to get the wrong idea and think that I was hitting on him. But the ambiguous thoughts of me sitting in the lap of a gay art dealer, on a speeding downtown subway train, were far more enticing that being swallowed up by an expanding mass of fatty flesh from a woman who definitely had not seen her vagina since the Reagan administration. I gave up. I hated compromising my principles. But in New York City, sometimes you had to bite the bullet. I got up from my seat. I made sure I gave the fat lady a sharp elbow as I jumped up (I was not a dirty basketball player, but sometimes I used to give my opponent a sharp elbow to the gut while I was boxing him out for a rebound). She didn't feel a thing, for she had several layers of protection underneath. As I offered my empty seat to an old lady who stood in front of me, I turned around to a horrible sight: the empty space had been swallowed up by the lady. The bright orange seat had completely disappeared, and the two previous seats sat snuggly underneath each ass cheek. She rested comfortably in two seats, with sweat beading down her round face, and it looked like my seat had never existed. If I had stayed there any longer, she would have swallowed me whole! I watched her attempt to expand to a third seat. When she began the identical annoying wiggling motion to take up more space, a distressed look shot up on the art dealer's face. He was definitely a lot happier with me in his lap, than to forcibly have a forty-six pound piece of flesh, which loosely hung off the arm of the lady, rested on his arm and lap, like a wounded and sick beached killer whale rolled upside down on the Oregon Coast.
Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.