Saturday, February 18, 2006

Today, "coffee lady" came into work and held a conversation with me, as she often does. "Coffee Lady" is thusly monikered because, on a daily basis, she comes in and orders a coffee, which she demands be made fresh (thus forcing us to throw out whatever perfectly good coffee was already sitting there, and, normally, later to throw out the rest of the pot brewed for her, as she comes in the mid-afternoon, not peak coffee hours), then pays the reduced senior citizen rate of seventy-five cents for it. This senior discount is something McDonald's has embraced both to foster a healthy morning crowd of retirees and as a matter of public policy, helping those indigent elderly make ends meet while still being able to enjoy a warm drink and a social atmosphere. While Coffee Lady's Lexus may not run on dreams alone, I still cannot help but think that she's not exactly the kind of person that the generous discount was intended for. A wealthy Yarmouth widow, her face is a mix of the remains of what must have been striking youthful beauty and a stern, commanding quality that would strike fear in the heart of any maid. Bluntness combines with an unquestioning sense of entitlement to create a presence that shakes the weak into submission, a submission which she then rewards them for. Indeed, my opinions of her have softened sense christmas, when I-- along with the two other managers who willingly comply to her unreasonably high standard of coffee-- was given my christmas bribe: a card with a small monetary reminder that if you can achieve nothing else in a thankless job like McDonald's, you should always strive to make rich people happy.

Coffee Lady and I made small talk, as we always do, as we waited for her pot of hot, fresh control over me brewed. I never know what else to say, so I end up talking about myself to pass the time. This is unlike me: when forced to interact in a work or school setting with people I don't feel are my friends, I always try to put forth the impression that I don't expect them to care about my life, and they, for god's sake, shouldn't expect me to care about theirs. It's amazing how seldomly this works, but it's a theory I'm not willing to let die. Having covered all I cared to about school and future work prospects in a previous chat, we somehow wondered upon to topic of weight loss. I normally will not publicly divulge a number that's within two pounds of the actual amount of weight I have lost, for fear that I will bloat the next day and it will make a liar out of me, however I gave coffee lady a pretty accurate reading: while it may not hold completely true tomorrw or the next day, I have, as of right now, lost twenty pounds. (*Red Green does a happy penguin dance.*) I mentioned to her that I didn't believe it showed that much, but she said that it did. She said I've done very well, considering "wear I started."


I think the fears I once had that I always looked even worse than I believed I did are beginning to be confirmed. People always say the exact opposite is true-- that you are your own worst critic, that you shouldn't trust the way you think you look, that "you are not as fat as you imagine." I never really thought I was fat-- overweight, yes, but I guess I never really thought it was noticeable if I was fully dressed. Sure, I hated the way I looked when I was naked, and I self-consciously tugged at the sides of my shirts, which always seemed to creep up and reveal the flabby flanks of my sides (something I'm noticing is happening much less now, happily), but somehow, the idea that other people truly saw me as, god forbid, chubby, did not register. I would mention how I felt I needed to lose weight and always be utterly hurt and surprised when people did not respond with the requisite "Oh, but you don't need to lose weight! You're thin!" like they did when I was younger. It reminds me of this large black woman comic I watched a few months ago talking about how she is "reversed anorexic", meaning she looks in the mirror and thinks she's really skinny. I guess, against all odds, that was me.

By the way, a few comments of "Hey, you're crazy. You were never fat!" would not be unappreciated here. I'll even pretend I never wrote this paragraph. I'll feel redeemed and you'll feel sensitive and sincere, and we'll float with Cleopatra down the river of denial.

With only five pounds to go till my goal of 155 (after which I believe I'll still have to work to achieve my goals of touching my toes, dancing for 45 minutes without breaking a sweat, being able to do pull-ups or size ten pants), I have one true concern gnawing at me: When I've lost all this weight, and I've whitened my teeth, and put highlights in my hair, and am generally looking supermodel-level hot all the time, I fear people will mistake my occasional standoffishness as snobbery based on beauty, as opposed to what it really is: intellectual snobbery. I mean, okay, I'll be hotter than you. But what's really important is that I'm smarter than you. By a lot. Now people may never get to know the real reason while I'll never let them get to know me. And that's sad.

See? Beautiful people have their problems, too.

On with it.