A Brief Encounter with Obesity, Poverty, and Entitlement
In the U.S. there is so much poison crap in the food, especially if you are poor, you can’t help poisoning yourself into near obesity.
On the other hand, I’ve met people in the U.S. Midwest who really did epitomize the problem of entitled ignorant Americans expanding their couch potato-hood ass-first. This couple sat around playing video games/Candy Crush, one spouse’s mother doing her nails all day long, and the father exclaimed retorts like, “How could I take the bus? I have a BABY!!” …Whereas my own mother—and hundreds of thousands of people, especially single mothers—took and take the bus with several young children/babies, carrying one, another in the stroller, and keeping an eye on the toddler.
I know another person who, like my own mother did, works and homeschools her children. My friend has simultaneously been going to school, and now that one of her children is 11 years old, she can finally buy a house, maybe, sort-of—only because she is lucky enough that her new partner has a parent in realty who is helping them with a rent-to-own mortgage that includes the down payment. Unlike my own mother and this other young mother I know, the couch potatoes considered Taco Bell food, food fit for a baby of one year, no less.
The equation goes something like this: If 1) You have to exercise, say, double to get rid of all the crap in processed and pesticide-sprayed/GMO foods, and 2) These foods do not give you enough nutrients and enough of the right nutrients to expend a daily amount of energy needed for exercise, let alone the extra exercise required to flush out the so-called food’s excess and over-processed sugar, which turns to fat, mutagenic toxins, and synthetics that unbalance metabolism and destroy the gastric biome and enzyme development, all while 3) These foods are the most inexpensive and the primary foods available to poor people–then the American diet and poverty and poverty-diet causes obesity.
Our culture in most places perpetuates the idea that mobility should require spewing fossil fuel in a hunk of thousands of dollars of metal, individually, even the able-bodied, and that we are entitled to this cyborg transportation, and that believing so is the norm. If you prescribe to this belief, then you have no idea that getting around should be exercise unto itself.
Disavowal, however, is difficult or may operate with fervor in the mind, but to compete in the culture–well, a person cannot compete in the culture at such a disadvantage of distance, speed, and energy having to physically hustle to arrive and return amidst those entitledly consuming massive amounts of ecological energy in isolated transportation cyborg chambers or Shell exoskeletons…especially when that person is trying to rise up from a hungry poverty.
On top of this personal physical struggle and physical struggle to participate and compete is the knowledge that getting around is exercise (the “epistemic advantage”). The struggle to challenge the hegemonically pervasive oppressively predominant belief and privilege otherwise makes for a higher level of struggle, though maybe only accessible with a cheat-code: attempting, much less achieving any explanation toward achieving understanding by those who have enough moments of rest and strength of mind (to realize it) requires some moments of rest and strength of mind on the part of the struggler. And then, additionally, to believe in themselves–quite a feat when you’re lugging laundry on a cart down the sidewalk in the winter or on your back and on the bus on your only time off that’s not eaten up by a walking and/or biking (if you’re able-bodied) and/or mass transit (if you’re lucky and don’t live in the Midwest) commute to a job that doesn’t actually afford you to do your laundry as often as the cyborg wasting 3 or 4 seats in a pollution vomiting car to work and the store and Zumba and the bar once a month or every day and night. Maybe there is the underlying notion of the reversal of reality.
Challenge this belief within yourself. Consider also reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The much greater dilemma of forced time constraints and food accessibility and insecurity and limitation means fast food and “cheese food” by necessity or as prize. And not enough nutrition, often plain not enough food, to perform the exercise of getting around.
Keep in mind the task is exacerbated when you need to get around to jobs farther away because of zoning, red-lining, or not being able to afford to live near a commerce district, or to make better money or work two jobs, the second either when you’re tired from full-time already or in order to try to get full-time hours, but both usually doing repetitive motions at a winding speed (fast food, all other food service, cashiering, factory production lines, janitorial work).
The 20-year-old guy with Viking genetic ancestry might be able to lug laundry to the other dorm with the laundry room on a diet of Taco Bell and cafeteria genetically modified bleached flour and not even need the niacin enrichment. But the 45-year-old brown woman or black woman with osteoporosis, the 5-foot anemic, the pre-diabetic second-generation subsidized-housing renter and her daughter and secret undocumented niece cannot bike down the busy boulevard shoulder, across the bridge and the tracks every day to 6 to 16 working hours on a low-protein diet without developing fibromyalgia, or for 20 miles of highway to the next town where there’s work that might pay enough to get off food stamps or to grandma’s house for cooked farm food instead.
COMING SOON: more on zoning and red-lining, rural maps and NoLo geo-cash-ing (plus hobos in Boho), and response to your brain on sugar.
© Sabri Sky 2014, 2015
on getting your car fixed / car mechanics
One time I asked an artist mentor in Burque who’d briefly been a mechanic to recommend one for me, in part so I wouldn’t get ripped off being (seen as) female. He did, and they proceeded to completely rip me off. He explained that he liked that mechanic because he believed them to be trustworthy and they’d done good work for him and friends for a decade, so he was offering to go *with* me to their garage…because otherwise of course, being (seen as) female, they’d rip me off. I tried to let him know that not only was this counter to what I was looking for, but that knowing this, I was astounded that he could possibly see them as a good business, continue to use them, and have done so for so long.
Though it may not be the case, this could be a part of what’s going on for you. Asking local females which mechanic they trust can help find an actual non-discriminating good shop. If this is not the case, and mechanics are trying to pull one over on you just like they would on anyone else, it still proves their sketch factor, and you can still get a good recommendation by asking such friends and nerdy or hipster-looking folks mechanics think they can get a lot of dough from on account of their assumed lack of car savvy. When my friends and the locals really did possess only a minimal body of vehicular knowledge, I’d compare their recommendations to those of someone who I knew was mechanically savvy about cars to make sure the engine-disoriented people weren’t getting the wool pulled over their four-square-dark-rimmed glasses.
If you’re not having luck for lower cost, mechanics in some states charge minimum or fixed amounts for labor. Some people I know and myself just bought the part and did a lot of YouTube DIY work on the car.
My mother doesn’t really have any friends. It makes me so sad.
She’s always just been raising children, then working, and working and working and working, and never had any money to go out and do anything. And middle class people just look down on it, don’t understand at all a life of taking the bus home, of never, literally NEVER being able to go to a movie late, because there aren’t any buses when it’s over, and a cab is too expensive, it’s not worth it, especially after shelling out for a movie.
That’s how her whole life is, ALL of life. It’s not just like, “oh, it’s kinda expensive,” it’s like, you just *never* get to do anything like that. So she just never does anything on Sunday. Cause there are no buses. Anyplace she ever went on Sunday, ever, she walked to.
She never goes out on Saturday night, because she could not get home, because the buses stop at 6:30pm on Saturday.
So–if you’ve been raising 3 children as a single mother, on $400 a month, for 15 years
how are you gonna get started meeting people to make friends, with limitations like you can just never go out on Saturday night or all day Sunday, period.
(Sunday unless it is close enough and/or the weather is not too hot and not too cold and not too windy and you don’t have to carry a lot, cause you’ll have to walk back.)
I’m afraid that you would just never be seen with us; you would just be totally humiliated to even be seen with us.
When i go “shopping with my mother” last night–we go to Goodwill.
We take a bus, that we have to wait 45 minutes for, then walk some, in the poor neighborhood (that i grew up in and my mother lived in until June)
then we skimp and scrounge because my mother *does not even buy full price clothes at Goodwill* without budgeting and worry and regret; she has a limit, and very often refuses to buy anything that’s not the half-price sale color tag.
We are both wearing a knapsack, chock full of whatever we had to carry that day–an extra sweater or jacket, a flashlight for *walking* home when it’s dark, an umbrella, plastic containers and baggies from carrying lunch with you. And we are also each carrying another bag, also from whatever we had to carry that day: my mother also has her purse from work, like a “normal” female coming from work.
So, we walk around in our bulky coats to protect from the cold and wind, since it’s fall now, and our knapsacks, and i’m so happy to be wearing the purple striped cloth backpack you got me. And we’re wearing hats and scarves before anybody around is, that is, before in the season or time of year, because they all are only out walking from their fucking cars to the door of the store, 50 feet through the parking lot, and it hardly even affects them whether it’s 60 degrees and sunny or 40 degrees and a little windy. They do things like “toss a hoodie into the backseat of the car”
whereas our entire regimen changes, and the amount that you’re carrying
And we also have to think of WHAT ELSE WE NEED TO WEAR AND CARRY for
FOR WHEN IT GETS DARK AND COLDER
because we will still be out that late, to get home, taking the bus.
My entire life except for the one year i drove with my rich bitch daddy’s girl ex-girlfriend, I have lived like that
… by the time I finally get home after taking two buses in the cold, and now it’s dark, and I had to walk home from the bus stop or to the bus stop a quarter of a mile from wherever i was, and therefore had to bring with me a flashlight and an extra sweater, and a scarf and a hat and an umbrella since they said there’s a 40% chance of rain. . .
by the time i get home– you have been home an hour and a half
taken a shower
started your homework /
watched a tv show
It is 9:30pm.
I am just getting home
from the activity or store that I went to at 5:30pm.
But you went there right after school, at 4pm.
For 20 minutes of shopping, or turning in some paperwork form to a business or office, I have to leave at 2:30pm to catch a bus at 2:48pm
then i get dowtown (bus interchange) at 3:15pm
and the next bus, the bus i have to transfer to, doesn’t come until 4pm
so I have to wait downtown.
And, i have to wait doing nothing, because i don’t have any money to do anything. I can’t go to a cafe, because it costs money to spend $4 just for waiting for the bus, on a drink.
So–you’d better make sure you have a book to read with you! Something else to carry.
And you just sit there, with all the middle school kids from the Black neighborhood.
Then the bus finally comes, at 4pm, and it gets to where I need to go at 4:21pm.
I have to RUSHHH from the bus stop to make sure i get there, in the door before 4:30 pm, when they *close early to avoid rush hour traffic*
Then when I turn in the paperwork, I take it out of my backpack–which the snooty lady behind the desk in high fucking heels in the middle of winter scowls at because it’s considered unprofessional–
and when i take the paperwork out of my backpack, some liquid slime from my lunch that i am also carrying, and have been carrying walking around bouncing around all day in my backpack…. has leaked onto the folder, and it smells like sour tuna fish.
The lady behind the counter wrinkles her nose into a pucker tighter than a WASP’s asshole, and says, down her nose, “Don’t get that on our counter!”
So, I have to let the folder drip onto their floor, take out my paperwork, and hand it to her. She says, “Oh, a such and such form. Let me see if Larry’s still in, he processes these–he usually gets them from the mail room.”
Then she turns and asks someone else, Did the mail room intern ever bring the batch to Larry?
She turns to me and says, You should’ve just mailed it.
I look down at the piece of paper in my hand. In bold letters on the top the instructions remain the same as they did when I received the form: MONEY ORDERS MUST BE HAND DELIVERED. “But it says it has to be turned in in person…” I tell her, my face becoming a little knotted in confusion, and ….
trying not to let it be visible how my stomach is also turning and twisting into knots and my ears turning hot.
“Oh, no no no nonono, that’s just what it says on there,” she says. Then she tosses her head back and forth like she were trying to burrow her nose farther into Charlton Heston’s behind.