Snooty Bitch at Publix?
That Was Me
“My wife would never get on a scale in public.” I turned to the voice that interrupted my scrutiny of the number 116 on the Publix scale. Taken aback, I didn’t know what to say, so, of course, I said the wrong thing, “She probably weighs more than I do.” I don’t remember if he replied and he was alone, so I couldn’t see for myself.
Not yet ready to remove my foot from my mouth, I shoved it in a bit deeper. I grabbed my cart, turned, and added, “She probably doesn’t do 84 crunches a day, either.”
“No, she doesn’t,” he said.
Two months of daily crunches behind me, I had lost one pound, but weight loss isn’t my goal. I do crunches to stop the abdominal cramps that put the front part of my body in a vice grip. I lost some (okay, all) abdominal muscle when pregnant with my five children. I’m lazy, so I never did the work to get it back. Nine weeks ago at age 62, I had no abs, just some flab that rolled over my waistband. (In fact, I still have that flab.) My lack of muscle tone sometimes caused muscle spasms. When they’d hit, I’d have to bend backward to release the Charley horse in my gut. It was awkward, especially in public, when I’d try to do a subtle backward lean while trying not to yell, “Ow! Ow! Ow!”
I don’t think I’ve ever done anything that’s good for me without missing a day for nine weeks. Therefore, after my second-foot-in-mouth comment, I turned to my son and said, “Bragging rights.” He laughed. I did, too. But my laughter didn’t last.
Weighing My Words
By the time I got to the produce aisle, guilt hit me. “I feel awful. I shouldn’t have said that.”
“At least you fit in at this store,” my son said—a not-so-gentle reminder of my comment when we pulled into the parking lot: “This isn’t my favorite Publix. The snooty people shop here because it’s the closest store to John’s Island.”
Ugh! I carried that guilt with me throughout the store, feeling as if everything I put in the cart was strapped to my back.
Feeling bad doesn’t change what I said one bit, even though only two people heard me. I was relieved not to see the man in the store. I probably would have added my other foot to my mouth in an attempt to fumble some apology or explanation for what I said.
But there really is no excuse. I know the body issues most women face. I’m short and have a small frame; I’m not a large person, so weighing myself in public never has been a big deal. But I know weight is a sensitive subject for many women (and men). I was so tuned into the damage scales and their numbers can do that I wouldn’t allow one in the house when my girls were growing up.
I wish I had been silent, but it’s too late. It’s not wrong to have pride in achievement, but it’s wrong when good feelings about such successes come at the expense of others.
I keep thinking about the woman who doesn’t get on the scale in Publix or in public. I hope she can be gentler with herself about her weight and self-image. I know I will be gentler with myself and with others. Perfection is difficult to attain, but sensitivity is not.