What I’ve Lost

What I’ve Lost

I started this year with resolutions that included trying to get into better shape.  After several false starts, I finally hit upon a diet and exercise routine that worked. Forty pounds and five sizes later, I’m now faced with the side effects of my weight loss.

I’m pretty sure my mother-in-law thinks I’m dying of a horrible disease.

My 30-year-old friends and colleagues are now taking themselves to the gym.  Apparently, nothing inspires a lifestyle change like having someone you always thought was big, get smaller than you.

And, most disturbingly, I seem to have lost some ferocity.

I say this because I’m finding that people are messing with me in ways they haven’t before.  It’s not even people I know, it’s total strangers.  This was most evident on a recent trip to New York.

While my wife, a friend, and I waited for a subway train at midnight, a drunk came up and started talking to us.   In over a decade of running around in NYC, I’ve always dealt with this by putting up the “I’m ignoring you” face and this kind of “crazy” always just seemed to go away.

Not this time.  After a few minutes of asking (in English and Spanish) which of us would like to make love to him, he’d made himself the focal point of this particular subway station and point in time.  It made me uncomfortable so I finally said to the guy, “Dejanos en paz.”  Just leave us in peace.   I firmly said it over and over, figuring that at least if he knew that I could take him on in his own language he’d stop being gross.

He sneered in response, “Yo soy de El Salvador.  Yo soy judio, tu no eres judia!”

I’m not exactly sure what part of my Spanish made him guess I wasn’t Jewish or why he thought that letting me know he was Jewish was going to make this whole situation any less weird.  In any event, after reiterating for everyone on that train platform that I wasn’t Jewish, he stormed off.

I would have shaken the whole scene off if a day later I hadn’t been meowed at by an elderly guy in Brooklyn.

We were walking down a sidewalk in Park Slope when this unassuming little old man, who seemed to be minding his own business, stopped me mid-sidewalk, looked me up and down and meowed.  Now, I have been catcalled before, but never with an actual meow.

Perhaps more than they should have, these events have shaken my faith in my own “force field.”  You know the “force field,” it’s that thing you do that seems to get you through tough situations.

Mine has always been the ability to be loud and imposing–a little like an elephant flaring its ears.  With the loss of this weight, I’m not sure this works for me anymore. I’m struggling with this new world and wondering how to work my hair into my new force field.