Balooning in Boulder


Ballooning in Boulder


To be human means to be a question in search of an answer.  Martin Heidegger


She was then one hundred forty pounds, rising over

Longmont sky, hearing people in backyards below

shout up to tiny people huddled in the basket under


a striped canvass billowed by gas, floating and flying

simultaneously, amazed before remembering a mothers

comment: “She is like a balloon, constantly inflating


then deflating.”  Why does the negative sneak into awareness

at the worse possible moment when only the patchwork landscape

is in view?  She stored the idea in a pocket for later.  Through


the ride, the picnic lunch of chicken, coleslaw and champagne,

the celebration,  the cake, the ride back to Boulder.  The memory

stayed hidden In the folds of clothing by a pointy left hip.


City of the physically fit, the place of gyms and bicycles,

runners, hikers and rock climbers, where the fitness craze

reaches epic proportions with the Bolder Boulder every


Memorial Day when a ten kilometer run takes over the town.

Where drivers must weave in and out of one way streets

at a crawl so not to run over runners and by cyclists


who experience an endorphin high while in the midst of traffic.

She moved to Boulder from California one hundred pounds

too large for a city which claims to be liberal but has zero


tolerance for the overweight to the point of refusing

to carry clothes in large sizes.  She literally did not fit in.

When going shopping for a bathing suit in the only department


store in town, she asked,  “why don’t you carry size eighteen?”

“We’re trying to be conservative,” The rail thin saleswoman

answered. “OK, I’ll try Denver where they’re more liberal.”


That comment did not bring a smile.  On embarking to Whole Foods,

store for the privileged, she was repeatedly glared at by a crowd of anxious

townspeople in a feeding frenzy for taking too much isle space.


Embarrassed, she tried to hide in the public restroom.  It was a cramped

closet for brooms  and she discovered claustrophobia plus

humiliation. It would take a chainsaw to fix the situation.


Overweight people who wander into Boulder public bathrooms

don’t emerge unscathed. When she did finally squeeze free,

she tried crossing the street.  When in the middle, an SUV


packed with college students shouted out  “Why don’t you

lose some weight?”  The street looked big enough to her.

She wasn’t asking for a date or trying to get a lift.  She wondered


a she drove home in her Toyota Corolla why these mouthy

musclemen needed such a big car to yell at her from.

Speaking of fitting in, she had made her way to a Newcomer’s


luncheon the week before. It was a salad potluck, where ladies

brings ingredients for a salad, then eat just desserts.

Few would sit by her at the table, which was already set, in a group


created to meet new people.  They probably regarded obesity

as a contagious disease.  She finally got invited to a party by a corporate

wife with some sympathy.  She was a thin mental health counselor.


However her niece was bragging how her sorority didn’t take fat chicks.

Did they take black chicks?  How about chicks with black hair and poor daddies?

There is a strong genetic component which she inherited from Latin, Scandinavian


and African ancestors.  She worked with obese mice in college who hardly ate

but could barely move.  As a society, we haven’t gained much knowledge.

Again she swam and ran and hired a personal trainer and starved.  She didn’t


eat ice cream for years and was on a diet that would emaciate a yeast.

Consisting of only vegetables and protein, the food plan was named “The Profit.”

She finally succeeded and lost 100 pounds.  Everyone could talk about nothing

else.  This feat was suddenly her greatest achievement.  The entire person


she lost disappeared to live with the elves.  At a party she was introduced this way:

“This is so and so.  She lost 100 Lbs.” She could hike and run and ski and snowshoe

and cycle with the rest of them.  But was she any less lonely? Men were a little nicer,


or obnoxiously flirtatious when before,  the same ones ignored her. Women invited her

to active pursuits, some eying their boyfriends or husbands that she didn’t have

the slightest interest in, but it was life as usual.  Just hungrier.  Buying clothes was better.


She had more energy until she hurt herself running and the weight came piling back on.

In Boulder, there are anti purge signs in some restaurants.  Just what one needs for an

appetite, which shouldn’t exist amidst the eateries located next to the gyms.


Those with anorexia fall through the cracks while they receive complimented for being size zero.

They faint from hunger while hiding at home with massive confusion inside their tiny bodies.

How can Boulderites claim to care so much while practicing so much intolerance


and exclusion?  Fat prejudice is still acceptable and school children say “She

is cute for a fat person” when, back to her former size, she goes to teach in Boulder.

What do we gain if we all look like sticks and have no substance except faulty


perfectionism by valuing only what is rare and nearly unattainable?  Fashion

models have stories to tell.  There continues to be more and more gyms

and Boulder sports doctors treat more and more of those who continue chasing


the American dream while trying not to think about weighty issues but instead

listen to Jerry and Esther Hicks and pretend positive in a world with so much

heavy desperation that it seems like it will crack open the land of affluent.


Instead they forget to be close to the earth, fly away, fitting comfortably

in their airplane seats after protesting about using too much foreign oil at home,

in a town without enough diversity, put tags on their luggage and try not to think


about all this excess baggage.


~ by dianeklammer on April 15, 2013.

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