Friday June 29. 2001
fat girl in Philadelphia
I was driving through North Philadelphia on Wednesday. Lately, for own amusement, I've been trying to find a way to get downtown and back home without using Broad Street. Broad Street is the main thoroughfare that cuts right through the middle of the city. At any given moment, it is insanely jammed and clogged with the detritus of a big city and I am frankly sick of it. Philadelphia, through the ingenuity of Ben Franklin or some other founding father, is laid out in an easy to follow grid pattern. Unfortunately, that grid pattern goes to hell when you get anywhere north of Center City, leading to a maze of dead ends, forks in the road, medians and urban blight spilling out onto the streets.
It was at 11th and Hamilton that I was stopped at a light and happened to glance over at a couple of billboards. They had been attacked by spray paint, no doubt the work of some disgruntled locals. A Pepsi billboard read, "Hey Philadelphia! We know you like the taste of penis!" and the one right next to it, "Get your cootchie on".
This is why I keep a journal, you know. So I can bring you, my loyal readers, weird shit like this.
All kidding aside, the condition of North Philadelphia makes me mad. I'm fortunate enough that I live in a nice area (relatively speaking, of course) where I don't have to fear for my life every time I step outside. But there are so many people that just live in such horrible conditions, butted right up against all-white yuppie neighborhoods with big alarmed houses and multiple SUVs. The discrepancy is amazing. And no one cares about these neighborhoods and the people that live in them. It's like one big black hole (literally) between Center City and the northern suburbs. There are laws and regulations that keep these people poor. And that's really sick.
It kind of puts my lack of money problems in perspective, actually.
And to bitch about another thing, SEPTA is about to raise its fares to support its unrealiable and wholly inadaquate public transportation system. The base fare will go up 40 cents to 2 dollars, and that's just a base fare, not even counting a transfer, which is an extra 50 cents. It is now the highest fare in the United States (tied with San Diego). It's not a big deal for me personally, I have a car and if worse comes to worse, I can use that to get around. But there are so many people who do not have cars and use SEPTA to get to work, to get to school, to go get groceries, every. single. day. These people obviously don't have a lot of disposable income, and a fare hike like this must be like pulling the financial rug out from under them. And when people were interviewed on the news in the past few days, the overwhelming sentiment was "There's nothing we can do about it."
And it's so sad because it's so true. We're powerless.
Mom came to rescue me yesterday. We went out to dinner last night and she bought me food and (oh joy oh joy!) a little air conditioner. We also went to Old Navy to get some clothing. Old Navy and their happy Americana schtick has always frightened me (I won't even get into their selection of in-store music), but they have cheap clothing. There were lots of pants and jeans on sale, leftovers from the spring, and you know what that means. The very skinny and very fat girls luck out here, because all that's left is size 2 and size 20. Guess what end I'm on...
So I grab my fat girl jeans and go into the fitting rooms. I always exit a fitting room with a new vow to get off my lazy ass and exercise regularly, but when you try on the biggest size Old Navy carries and you can't even get them closed, it's like, oh fuck. Something has to give. I've gained an astronomical amount of weight since starting college 2 years ago. Something really has to give. Not only do I have a closet full of clothing I can't fit into, but this is very very unhealthy. I have a family history of heart disease and cancer. Something really has to give.
More than on this later...
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One Year Ago:
"He even had a little solderer, a little handheld thing, which he used to melt the piece of metal into the plastic. He got so into what he was doing that, as I chanced to look up, saw a small cloud of smoke rise from his head."