Thursday, November 24, 2005


This is the first time in my "Fat American Life" that I have truly realized how privileged I am. I usually think of myself as a low-income waitress, scraping along compared to the rich Americans I envy, but compared to just about everyone else on the planet, I live a life of extreme luxury. Just to be born female is life-threatening in many cultures and, if girls live, they often face lives of hardship, violence and exploitation. I not only enjoy the freedom to come and go as I please, I have a good job, my own money and resources, and no reason to expect any of that will ever go away.

My home is a one-bedroom apartment on the northside of Chicago. That means I have four rooms plus a working bathroom all to myself which, globally speaking, is an incredible amount of space for one just person (especially a woman). I have clean drinking water, heat that works all the time, refrigeration and phone service. Unlike in other countries, it's unusual for the electricity to go out here, and if it does an entire company of people will work non-stop to get it running again. I even have a television, a cell phone, an excellent computer and constant access to the Internet. I don't have a car, but the Chicago public transit service is one of the best in the U.S. and it always takes me where I want to go with a minimum of delays and interruptions. The luxuries I enjoy every day are unimaginable in many countries.

I could go on about healthcare, nutrition, law enforcement (TiVo), but I'll just say that these days whenever I start to feel sorry for myself because there's no man in my life with whom I share romance, love and intimacy I remind myself of all these things in my life, in the absence of which other people die. It's only when the basics have been achieved (food, shelter, employment) that anyone has the luxury to turn their attention to social or spiritual needs. Has anyone ever died for lack of sex?

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