My Fat Ass on a Train

A couple of weeks ago, Bill and I took Amtrak (Coast Starlight) up to Seattle.  I have taken shorter train trips, but this was 24 hours and we got a “roomette” (translation:  a closet with seating and fold out bunk beds).

We learned a lot on our trip — like only take what you absolutely need on the train, and check the rest.  There is no place to put your luggage in a roomette. 

Now for the fat-friendly aspects of this type of train travel.  Not horrible, not perfect.  The bathrooms are about the size of airplane bathrooms.  I could use it, but it was not easy to “clean up” – so anyone who is fat but not supersized, they should have little or no problems.  AND, the Amtrak does have “accessible” bathrooms on the lower levels of sleeper cars; and the (regular) bedrooms have their own private toilet and shower (but I have no idea how fat friendly those are).

The seats in the roomette were quite wide and comfortable, recline and have foot rests.  I’m thinking they are probably about the same as the “reserved” coach seats, but I’m not sure. 

The lower berth is about as wide as a twin bed and if you think I tried to get my big butt up into the upper berth – you must be high (and I don’t mean on life).  Bill took the upper – no place for anyone with claustrophobia – no window up there.  They have “steps” to get up it, but it is just little ledges/places you can put your feet to step up and not a staircase or ladder – and getting down again can be an adventure (just ask Bill).  I’d say sleeping on the bottom bunk is comparable to sleeping on a fold out sofa; and it’s very sturdy.

 Getting anywhere means dealing with fairly narrow halls – about the width of the aisles on an airplane, but there is a lot more swaying and bumping going on than on a plane.  I pretty much had to walk kind of sideways everywhere. 

 Be warned, the dining tables are all booths, and the tables are not movable.  They also expect you to sit next to somebody – I told them, no, that was not going to happen because I took up too much room.  They were not happy about it, but they didn’t do anything about it, and they didn’t give me any trouble about it.  If you have a regular bedroom, you can have your meals brought to you.

 The dining is all upstairs, so if you use it, you will have to deal with the stairwells.  OMG.  These are even narrower than the hallways and steep.  I found it pretty difficult to maneuver in it.  You can’t see the stair you are stepping on (because it is so steep) and it circles.  Another, if you are claustrophobic, you don’t want to do it.

 All that said, I had fun traveling on the train.  I liked the privacy and comfort of our seats.  We had coffee, water, and juice 24/7 at the end of the corridor.  They do have showers (downstairs – so there are those flipping stairs again); but I didn’t try them.  Bill did, and he thought I could have managed.  We met some wonderful people on the train, and one nasty old lady.  The staff is very nice and helpful. 

 We had such a wonderful time in Seattle, we’re hoping to do this again (and again), so maybe next time we’ll do the regular bedroom and I can tell you about that.  Ditto with coach (for maybe a shorter trip down to LA).

 Traveling by train is slower and just as (if not more) expensive than plane.  If you are not supersized you will probably have no problems with the train accommodations.  For supersize folks like me, train travel is not especially fat friendly, but I bet it can be pretty comfortable and accessible if you do your research more thoroughly than I did and take advantage of some of the options.  Like I said they have accessible bathrooms (which I did not check out), and having a lower level compartment would mostly avoid the stair issues.  The seats are wide enough that I can’t see them ever needing to charge someone for a second seat.  I saw quite a few fatties checking in for coach. 

 So it is definitely something you may want to check out for yourself when you have time to make the trip (and not just the destination) an important part of your travels.

Fat and the ADA

In the fat kids and bullies post, the head researcher said that fat folks have a brain disorder (!)

Balls.

Why can’t society accept fat folks as a variation on a theme?  People aren’t different colors because of a “skin disorder”.  People aren’t different genders because of a “Y” or “X” chromosome disorder. 

 However, if society is determined to view fat people as having a physical or mental impairment that causes them to be fat, then fat people have a disability and we should demand all the protections granted by the ADA.

 Not just “disabled” fat folk – ALL fat folks.  Society can’t have it both ways. 

 Under the ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who: (i) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (ii) has a record of such an impairment; or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment.

 I don’t like the idea of fat being considered a disability.  I don’t believe being fat is (necessarily) a disability; however, the ADA is supposed to protect people who are “PERCEIVED” as having a disability (whether they are actually disabled or not), and I think there is an excellent argument to be made that society in general does “perceive” fat people as disabled in some way, and discriminates against us because of that perception.

 According to the ADA: 

“An individual meets the requirement of ‘being regarded as having such an impairment’ if the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited under this Act because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.” [Emphasis added.]

 Boy would that shake things up, because the ADA has LOTS of protections fat people could take advantage of. 

 So, if society doesn’t want to treat me as “normal”, fine —- they can damn well treat me as “special” (which I am, but that’s another story).

Fat Kids Targeted by Bullies.

 Oooooh, there’s a real news flash. 

 A new study from University of Michigan (which makes sense, because I am from Michigan and let me tell you, it is the land of my people, my people) concluded:

 Conclusions Children who are obese are more likely to be bullied, regardless of a number of potential sociodemographic, social, and academic confounders. No protective factors were identified. Effective interventions to reduce bullying of obese children need to be identified.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/peds.2009-0774v1

 I’ll take “no shit” for $2,000 Mr. Trebek.

 A fat kid can be rich, smart, talented — all kinds of wonderful — but the fat kid is still going to be bullied because they are FAT. 

 Dr. Julie Lumeng (who heads the study), does seem to “get” the real problem.  She believes the findings were so consistent because prejudice against fat people is “so pervasive that it’s acceptable.”  And she adds, “Obesity is really complex.  It’s not all about willpower.  It’s a brain-based disorder.”

 Well, I don’t think my fat is a “disorder” of any kind.  I think my fat is just part of who I am naturally.  But that’s an argument for another day.

 And why are we spending all this money to research the obvious?  Why can’t we spend some of that money to fix the problem — and I mean working on educating people to eliminate (or at least drastically reduce) the prejudice against fat people?

 When will we see research on the bullies to find out WTF is wrong with them? 

 When will I have some happy news to blog about?

Too Fat to Fight

I don’t know why the Brits are worried about our kids being too fat to fight —- oh wait, that’s right we have been called upon to pull Europe’s bacon out of the fire. 

BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8655651.stm) is reporting on American Generals who are calling on better school nutrition – NOT because it’s good for kids but because they are afraid our kids will be too fat to be in the military. 

Oh gee.  Too fat to be sent to a foreign land to kill or be killed. 

What a load.  Come on.  Military training is to make soldiers fit — right?  And being fat doesn’t make you less angry with the world.  Trust me on this one.  So you presumably would end up with big, fit, angry soldiers.  And the problem is?

I think everyone who wants to defend their country should be allowed to do so; and I have all the respect in the world for people who make that choice because God knows, it is not an easy life.

If fat people want to go into the military, the military should count themselves lucky to have them.  If the fat soldier cannot physically do what is necessary (after boot camp), then fine — discharge them; or find some non-combat job for them.  But don’t tell me every average size soldier is fit and ready to go before they go through boot camp. 

So once again, there is a group that wants to do something that is good for kids —- every kid — but apparently “good for kids” is not a good enough reason to do something; you have to scare people into it by blaming the fatties. 

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Real Acceptance

Over at Red Vinyl Shoes, Tasha Fierce defends women who get breast implants.  I agree. 

Fatuosity’s sizeoftheocean extends the acceptance to dieters.  Agreed, although I have to say that I am against dieting in general (because it mostly doesn’t work, and is emotionally and physically damaging), just not against dieters.

Now my reason for accepting those who diet or alter their bust isn’t to view them as helpless victims, but to recognize that it’s none of my damned business what they do to their bodies as long as they’re not hurting anyone else.  (But I don’t want to hear their diet talk.)

So if we accept those who enlarge their breasts artifically, can we also accept those who enlarge their breasts (and everything else) naturally, that is, gainers?  If it’s wrong to reject fat people who are disabled, then isn’t is also wrong to reject people who love being fat so much that they choose to get fatter?