Archive for March, 2014

March 26, 2014

Poverty analysis on the Elliptical Machine at Planet Fitness

Yes, I admit it, I have a Planet Fitness membership. Don’t get all judgy on me, I am trying to be fit enough to remain ambulatory, but why am I explaining myself to you anyhow?

My son and I get on the elliptical machines for a twenty minutes of cardio. To my left is a young woman, 19 maybe 20, nothing particularly outstanding that I remember, except her butt cheek was hanging out, and that probably made her outstanding to the young men. We started our machines, and as usual my 17 year old son was attacking the workout, and I was just trying to get my heart rate up to 80 percent.

Well Miss to my left started telling the story of how she went to the Bahamas on a cruise. It wasn’t so much that I was interested, in fact I was trying to watch the Seinfeld episode “The Implant” with Terri Hatcher. Well not so much watch as read, the gym has all the subtitles on so you can be distracted while you torture yourself. But her annoying voice kept interrupting my viewing, and I overheard some extreme poor shaming talk.

The first thing she said was, “I saw these three girls, they were totally ghetto. They were white but missing teeth, and one was really tall. They all had their hair slicked back, and when I saw them I burst out laughing…” and then there was more, but I didn’t hear all of that gem.

I did get to hear snippets like, “I saw these people, they were black, really dark…”

But my favorite part was when she reacted to the poverty that she saw on the Island. “It’s like the people think we owe them something because we come to their Island. I mean I’m not doing charity while on vacation.”

She did have a lot to say about these “people”, but her reaction was really unpleasant. “When I saw the people it made me sad, because the they looked so poor, so dirty, so hungry, like they wanted help. Well what we learned was that you should go to an all inclusive resort where you don’t have to see people like that.”

At one point during this unfortunate public demonstration I made a face at my son, OMG, but he said I can’t hear them. I tried looking at her friend to indicate the very inappropriate nature of this convo but to no avail.

Being poor is hard, looking at poverty up close is harder.