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But, Why? (the Calcutta Traveler)

Updated on April 16, 2016

But, Why? (the Calcutta Traveler) - a Tales from the TRE Short Story

I commuted to Dallas via the TRE/Dart rail for a full five years. If you have never ridden public transportation on a regular basis, you will be amazed and the things one sees and hears on the train/rail. Some of these stories are just too good not to share. I hope you enjoy “Tales from the TRE” as much as I have enjoyed being a part of the commute to work by train (TRE) and rail (Dallas DART) experience.

But, Why? (the Calcutta Traveler)

One of the things that I really enjoy about riding the TRE from Hurst to Dallas is the fact that the next stop after mine is the Centerport/DFW Airport stop. Because so many people fly into DFW International Airport and then take the airport shuttle to the TRE to get to Dallas, I meet a lot of international travelers. Last week, I met a man from Calcutta, India. Here is an excerpt from our conversation:

Calcutta traveler: (while looking out the window at the waiting passengers): "May I ask you a question about American women?"

Me: (a little concerned but not overly so as our conversation thus far had been most enjoyable) "Certainly, what is it that you would like to know?"

Calcutta traveler: (clearing voice, looking somewhat embarrassed and confused): "Why are the women in America so big?"

If you know me at all, you know that I tip the scale a little on the heavy side (conservative estimate here, rounding down for self-esteem preservation in light of the "extra" poundage) and I am rarely speechless. I thought for a moment and then our conversation continued:

Me: "Well, there are a lot of working women in America. It is difficult to be home and cook well-balanced meals that are good for you when you are working and taking care of children. American women eat a lot of fast food that is high in calories and fat so maybe that is why 'the women in America' are so big?"

Calcutta traveler: (looking thoughtfully): "This fast food, what kind of food is it that they eat?"

Me: (Starting to relax a little in my poundage, as he is still observing several "heavier than me" American "big women" outside the window): "Well, let's see, hamburgers, pizza, fried chicken, tacos, french fries, and really big soda drinks. The proportions keep getting larger every year."

Calcutta traveler: "Do you mind if I ask you one last question?"

Me: "That's okay. What is it?"

And this is the part where I got really quiet as, and try as hard as I and my extra poundage would allow, I could not come up with a plausible response:

Calcutta traveler: "Well, if they know that it makes them so big, why do they eat it?"

I sort of shrugged and indicated that I had no idea. The sad part is that I have really haunting vision of this nice Calcutta traveler returning to India with the following report: "The women in America are really big. They eat this fast food that makes them really big. And they do not even know why they eat it!"


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