In what seemed like a New York minute, Irish Voice intern Sean Brosnan has packed on the weight during his time in the Big Apple, with food temptations all over the place, 24 hours a day. He’ll get around to re-shaping his body . . . some day.
Putting on weight for me has been a lot like having a crafty ghost haunting the halls of my apartment. It all started off quietly and nonchalantly one dark, winter’s evening.
It showed itself a little, enough for me to be frightened but not enough for me to believe what I was seeing. Then it grew more confident and began to jut out a little more.
Now I was convinced of what I was seeing but my friends didn’t see it, so I chose to believe them. A month or two later is when the games really began, and as sure as a ghost will open and close doors and throw your furniture around, my clothes began to feel tight to the point of tearing and not fitting anymore.
After months of suspecting the embattled washing machines at my local launderette for shrinking my clothes, I came to the conclusion that my clothes hadn’t shrunk at all, I finally realized that I may have grown out!
People who are around you every day do not see you slowly evolving into a small elephant so you cannot fully trust their judgments.
But you know you’re really in trouble when a person who has not seen you for a while can’t help but comment on your new figure, like an old woman can’t help telling an expectant mother that she is glowing.
“Jaysus, Brosnan!” exclaimed a friend of mine not so long ago after looking me up and down.
Then, as if thinking his initial comment too harsh, he muttered quietly, “You’re a little bit off your fighting weight, are ya?”
He then went on to assure me that “it happens to the best of us in New York.”
My mind then went back to a girl I became friends with last summer who showed me the tiniest little belly on the front of her stomach. “I can’t wait to lose my New York stone,” she told me.
She said that all it took was six weeks to put on the weight. She blamed the constant carnival atmosphere of New York City for her weight gain. And since I am an avid fan of easy answers and pointing fingers, I am going to blame New York too!
I blamed the scales at first when I finally did get around to weighing myself, but after getting a second opinion from scales at the gym, there was no denying what was in front of me.
I had gained two stone (28 pounds) since coming over last May. That means that not only did I have a New York stone, but that my New York stone had moved in permanently and had an equally annoying live-in girlfriend.
I now had two unwanted squatters, two ghosts that I would have to exorcise out.
New York is a city of temptation and quick fixes. If you’re hungry (and even if you’re not), there are shops, restaurants, carts, ice cream trucks and God knows what else just a step away. Eating a full meal in a restaurant is a Herculean effort, for new arrivals in particular.
One of my first assessments of the food over here was that the portions were far too large. As if a metaphor for the city of New York itself, a city where so many people and buildings are packed into as small an area as possible, the chefs cram an absolute mountain of food onto your plate.
Last May when I first arrived it nearly made me full just looking at it, but now, thanks to my competitive nature and disdain for waste, I’m left looking for more and can’t understand the shock of new arrivals at the little, tiny portions put in front of them.
I also initially blamed the sedentary lifestyle of being a bartender working five long nights in Manhattan, eating dollar slices of pizza at 6 a.m. just before you go to bed and washing it down with a Coke because they were the only things available.
But now I work much nicer and humane hours, and my New York squatters are only getting bigger. This is not helped by two bosses who dance like devils on both shoulders shoving croissants, bagels, cookies, chips and hero rolls in front of me.
“Sean! Have a bagel! Sure, it’s only a bagel, what harm will one bagel do? There’s croissants there too if you want them.”
Of course I want them!
But I think I have turned a corner (no mean feat in my current state), and have began to say no.
Another thing about New York that makes it easy for me to point fingers in relation to my weight gain has been the extreme weather conditions. “Sure, ya can’t expect me to go running out there?”
First it was too hot, then it was too cold, now it’s too hot again.
But there are a few ways I can blame myself I suppose. I’m the uncrowned king of procrastination (I’m only uncrowned because I keep procrastinating instead of getting myself crowned).
When I initially saw the weight gain last winter, I came to the conclusion that I should probably start running again, but it was just three weeks before Christmas. It would have been just CRAZY to start then!
So I waited until after Christmas, and when I’m that close I may as well start in the New Year, right?
But when the New Year came, I decided to postpone a week or two until I got a few trips out of the way. Sure, January’s nearly over now, so I waited until February started.
But the first day of February started on a Friday. A Friday for God’s sake! I can’t start something like this at the start of the weekend. I’ll wait till Monday.
When Monday swung around, I had a bit of a flu so I waited a little while. And now we’re into March and March was much too busy a month, my family was coming and then there was St. Patrick’s Day and … now we’re in July!
I told myself I absolutely have to go running today, but instead I find myself writing about having to go running. When I started this piece, there was a nice, little wind that would have made for perfect running conditions. But now it’s getting a little dark, perhaps too dark for running.
I will have to start tomorrow. (If I’m not too tired after work).