A rather unfortunate thing happened the other day at an office I work at some of the time. You see, they built the bathrooms in the stairwell of the building which means that you you have to go up or down a flight of stairs to get to a mens’ or womens’ bathroom. Naturally this would be impossible with a wheelchair, so they build handicap accessible bathrooms on the actual floor, but only one for men and one for women. Seeing as how these are right outside the door, everything in the office just tends to use this just for the sake of alacrity.
One day, the receptionist looks up from her desk to see this large… well, let’s just be frank, fat women in front of her. The woman starts yelling at the poor receptionist about the fact that she is handicap and that someone was using the handicap bathroom when she wanted to be using it. This was simply not allowed according to the fat woman because she was of the belief that handicap bathrooms were just for people who were handicap.
Obviously this woman was wrong on several fronts. A) Those bathrooms aren’t just for the handicap. B) This woman was very large and overweight and I don’t see how that makes her handicap. C) Yelling at the receptionist will never get you anywhere.
I was telling this story to a guest from Paris that’s staying with me at the moment. Her first question was, “But this fat woman could walk, yes?” Yes, she could walk. “Then she is not handicap, no?” That kinda of all put it in to perspective and made me feel like emphasizing that being fat and getting a handicap placard for your car to park closer to places isn’t doing anyone any good. Those damned fatcarts that I see incredibly large people riding are another example of the abject stupidity that surrounds the premise of what constitutes being disabled in this country. My guest also told me a story of riding the bus when she first got to San Francisco and seeing this large fat woman on a fatcart who had food with her. She said, “The woman was not really eating the food. She was just pushing it down her throat.” Of course as soon as she talked on the phone with her parents, it was one of the first things she told them about. Yay, go American stereotypes! And this is n SF where people are generally more fit. Just imagine if she were in the Midwest or even the interior of California!