Over one summer back when I was in high school, I ballooned to ridiculous proportions. I came back that fall over 6 foot and about 120+kg (300lbs, for those bad at math). I remember feeling like a god damn land whale walking through the halls of the school and watching swarms of normal-sized teenagers get the fuck out of my way. It didn’t matter that I was in their way, the team of them couldn’t actually move me, so I won.
(Years later, while I had lost considerable weight, morons would still try to shoulder check me while I was getting off the Shanghai metro. It never worked to their advantage. )
But in my last year of high a five foot nothing Iranian American kid who somehow finagled his way onto our football team came running flip clip down the hall and bounced – literally bounced – off of me. He then wanted to know what the fuck it was that I was doing not being on the football team.
It wasn’t my bag, but I was flattered.
Keep all that in mind while I change subject for a moment.
I have one superstition left. I have expunged all the others. The last superstitious thing I believe is the conviction that there is a nefarious coalition of people whose only goal in life is to obstruct me at the super market.
For a while I thought it was an Italian thing. It first happened in Udine in 2014, when someone’s wrinkled-ass granny slammed into me with a shopping cart because I was taking too long in front of the yogurt section and she couldn’t be fucked to go around. I knew the lady saw me because, once again, I’m 180cm and 100kgs.
I don’t exactly know what the proper grocery store procedure is, actually. How far or close should one be from the shelf they are looking at? Italy answered that question for me, because if I were not close enough to physically make love to the product I was contemplating, some asshole would physically insert themselves between me and what I was looking at.
At some point it became apparent that forces nefarious were behind this. Italians, contrary to their public image abroad, can’t handle spicy food for shit. So when I was looking at a shelf full of peri-peri sauce, harissa paste and nuclear grade thai curry only to find that some one decided to insert themselves once again between me and the shelf, I knew it could only be a plot against me. In fact, every time I went to a supermarket in Italy I got the distinct impression that I was in some perverse game of football, and all the shopping cart clad people were out to get me down.
I never had this problem in China, and I lived in a city of 8 million. In the US I did my shopping at 2am like any right minded individual who had that option would.
So when I left Italy for Hungary this year, I thought I would be able to escape them. But apparently they followed me here.
It makes no god damned sense. Budapest is a city full of efficient uses of spaces, making the city seem ‘roomier’ than at is. Until you go into the supermarkets (in fairness, I only go to Lidl, Aldi, and other poor people supermarkets). There, all the isles are microscopic, so much so that when two people try to pass each other in the isle a priest needs to bless the union. I saw three people reach for the same can of red bull and thought I had stumbled upon the set of a porno.
But with all this, the attacks continue. Once again, I find that I cannot look at a box of cookies without that very box suddenly becoming the singular most important object in the universe, and everyone in the postal code gathering to look at it, somewhere in front of me.
I’m not crazy you’re crazy.