So there I was, sitting in a friend’s living room with a group of women
during the holiday season, and before I knew it, we were onto the subject of New
Year’s Resolutions. “Isn’t that a worldly concept?” one woman asked. “Not
really,” quipped another. “You can resolve to do all kinds of wonderful things.
Read The One Year Bible, take a class, become more organized, exercise
regularly, baby-sit for young mothers, go for a mammogram, fast more often for
your loved ones.” I got up to get another cannoli.
Not many cannolis in Virginia and besides, the men were in the kitchen
discussing the national debt, a personally less threatening subject than the one
going on in the living room. I shared my impressions of Alan Greenspan and was
then beckoned back to the living room. “Do you exercise, Ellie?” an unfamiliar
thin woman asked in front of the group. What did she mean? Mothering and
marriage and laundry and cleaning and carpooling and mopping up after the kids
vomit? Of course I exercise! How kind of her to clarify with, “I’m speaking of
regularly scheduled, focused exercise.” I told her I was a great field hockey
player just twenty years ago. She laughed…and persisted. “Surveys show that if a
person does not have an exercise regiment by age forty, he or she will most likely
never begin.” Great, I thought to myself It’s too late. I’ve missed that train. I
reached for the dip as she nibbled on plain celery.
“Do YOU exercise?” I retorted.
“Oh yes, an hour a day. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.” If
she’s a temple ,then I’m a town.
“I suppose you also count your fat intake…” was my next effort at civilty.
She grinned proudly. “Well, actually, I’m on a practically fat-free diet.” Of
course. As the group discussion continued, I learned that the “thin” woman was
another guest’s sister visiting from out of state. Her husband is a health fanatic,
they’re wealthy and she never had children. I felt a strangely avenged.
Poor thing. She probably spends so much time at the spa because she’s
lonely. Her December tan became more obvious and made the rest of us look
pastey. I felt pity For her. She’ll never know the joy of stretch marks.
Let’s face it. We all know a thin person who is obsessive and unhappy.
Have you ever known a “jolly” skinny person? My neighbor runs thirty miles a
week and her face seems to be sagging prematurely.
cont. part II