Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fav Songs

So my friend challenged me to make a list of my favoritest songs of all time. After much debate, we settled on 25. He's gonna gimme his list, and I'm gonna give him mine, in hopes that we can turn each other on to some new music. I decided I'd share.


1. If You Want Me to Stay
Sly and the Family Stone
I have no idea what got me to loving this song. I dunno if it's the bass line or just Sly's who funky demeaner, but I could listen to this song 800 times in a row and hear something new everytime.

2. I'm the Only One
Melissa Ethridge
Another song who's origins in my life are ambiguous. I love the guitar, I love her voice, I love, LOVE the lyrics.

3. She Lives in my Lap
Andre3000
I have to admit I'm only marginally sure I know what this song is about. But I again, I love the music, that kinda funk/rap/rock blend, and unlike some haters, I even love Dre singing. Seriously, the man is a genius and I love every single off color thing he does.

4. At Last
Etta James
I looooove me some Etta. But this song does It for me. Her voice is rich and perfect, and the song is so classic. The strings are just perfect and by the last swell of orchestration at the end you can't help but feel happy for Ms. James finding her At Last... and a lil jealous that you haven't.

5. A Song for You
Donny Hathaway
I could listen to this man sing allllllllllll day. ALLLLLLLLLLL DAY. I read the lyrics before I ever heard the song back in middle school I believe. "I love you in a place/where there's no space or time/I love you for my life/you're a friend of mine/and when my life is over/remember when we were together/we were alone and I was singing this song to you." So gorgeous.

6. Fighter
Christina Aguilerra
One of very few songs that has the power to make me tear up... from anger. For someone who has been as mistreated, doubted and hated on in life as I, this song is a great reminder that even when I'm down, it's only temporary.

7. Good Morning Heartache
Billie Holliday
Loooooooooooooooooooove me some Billie. This song is SO sad sometimes it hurts so good to listen to. There's something about her voice I've always loved and on the original studio version of the track, she sounds so sad, so melancholy I could cry.

8. Purple Haze
Jimi Hendrix
Reminds me alot of my daddy. And seriously, where are the musicians like this nowadays? I remember back in my day...

9. Hurt
Christina Aguilerra
Reminds me of my grandma. Always makes me cry. I'm usually good up until "are you looking down upon me/are you proud of who I am/there's nothing I wouldn't do/to have just one more chance/to look into your eyes/and see you looking back". That's all I have to say about that.

10. Boogie Wonderland
Earth Wind and Fire
My favoritest EWF song ever. Probably because I'm secretly a big disco/dance kid and the music has that big energetic kinda feeling. I remember when I was in middle school, my chorus teacher made me disect and learn the 5 part harmony in this song. I must have listened to it AT LEAST 8,459 times... a day.

10. Send in the Clows
Sarah Vaughn
Sarah is one of my favs too. This song was originally from a Sondheim musical, A Little Night Music (don't quote me on that.) It sounds so sad, and her voice has so many levels to it, it's another thing I listen to and always hear something new.

11. Pearls
Sade
Another song where the strings make the song for me. The lead in just in the beginninng is enough to break your heart. You add that with one of the smoothest most beautiful voices of all time and this song is so good it's ridiculous.

12. Everything you Want
Vertical Horizon
This was a song I heard back in the day somewhere random and hunted it down. It was another song where the lyrics hit me first, and it just so happened that the music was great too. I still listen to this song like it just came out yesterday. Seriously. I had it on in the car today, lol.

13. Porquinoi
My dance teacher in high school turned me onto this, a song used in a Cirque de Solei show. The entire song is sung in another language (which one I'm not so sure) but the music is so multi-faceted and powerful you barely even notice you don't understand the minimal lyrics.

Lies lies lies
14. Everybody Got Their Something
Nikka Costa
I can thank my infatuation with Nikka on my high school dance teacher again. I know you've heard this song before as it has been used in exactly 372 commercials, but I fell in love with it probably 5 years ago listening to it in the dance studio at my high school. If you sit down and really disect it (as I do with music ) you realize the entire first minute and a half of the song, a new instrument is being brought in and layered over the others every 8 to 16 bars. It's a Questlove track; so awesome.

15. Mother, Mother
Tracy Bonham
Back when I was a melodramatic, angst ridden middle schooler (HA!) I fell in love with this rock song immediately. I mean with lyrics like "sure I'm sober/sure I'm sane/life is perfect/never better... I'm freezing/I'm starving/I'm bleeding to death/everything's fine" how could you not? The Burdens of Being Upright was a surprisingly good album, although it's a tad bit too angry for most. Think Alanis Morrisette's 1st album with a touch of Amy Winehouse. Now sprinkle some crack on it and there you go!

16. So Have I for You
Nikka Costa
Another Nikka song off my favorite album of hers "Everybodygottheirsomething" although "Cantneverdidnothing" is a close 2nd. Again I fell in love with the words first; "just like the sea has spent eternity at the mercy of the moon/so have I for you"

17. Somebody Loves you Baby
Patti LaBelle
Almost Fiance turned me on to this song one night we drove up to Baltimore to see his friends. I don't think I realized until I came in contact with his love for Ms. Patti just how much I loved her. I still listen to this song. Love it.

18. It Takes Two
Rob Bass and DJ EZ Rock
Hands down my favoritest hip hop song of ALL TIME. No seriously. No. Stop suggesting other songs. This is it. Everytime someone plays this in the club or at a party, I damn near kill myself. This song is the sole reason I love going to 30 and up parties, lol.

19. As
Stevie Wonder
So I had to cut alot of Stevie tracks from this list because I am a Stevie Wonder fiend. But this one I could not get rid of. "Until the ocean covers every mountain high/now ain't that lovin' you?" I'd say so. Great music, great voice, great lyrics. If I don't get to see Stevie Wonder live before I die, I will be very unfulfilled.

20. Pale September
Fiona Apple
This song reminds me of Joy. Back in middle school we used to sing it all the time in her room. Everytime I hear it now, even though it's been years, it takes me right back to going to her house after school, me curling up in her chair, her on her bed, talking, laughing, reading, sometimes not saying anything at all. I know the song is talking about a man, but for me it always symbolized my friendship with Joy and what she was able to manage to make me do; "and all my armor falling down/in a pile at my feet/and my winter giving way to warm/as I'm singing him to sleep." So often I'd fall asleep on Joy back then, lol. But more often than not, it was the only time I truly felt safe enough to really rest.

21. Ne me Quitte Pas
Nina Simone
I know many people have done this song, but none like Nina. Everytime I hear it, I cry. Everytime. Without fail. I've never heard someone sing as though they were crying. And even sung in french, you can understand every word.

22. Jazzybelle
Outkast
As hard as it is for me to pick a favorite Outkast song (seriously, it's like picking a favorite child) this song would be up top. Its witty, it's well written, the music is damn near perfect, and everyone can get something different from it. I remember playing it for a class I was speaking to once, and I asked all the girls to share what message they got from it. Everybody got something different, still relevant. Loves it.

23. All in Love is Fair
Stevie Wonder
I can't even say enough about this song. It's just... beautiful. Stevie at his best.

24. No Ordinary Love
Sade
I got to see her perform this live.

'Nuff said.

25. Someone to Watch Over Me
Frank Sinatra
I always like ol' Frankie and I thought this would be a nice song to have my first dance to at my wedding.


And since clearly that shit ain't goin' down I just love to listen to his voice.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hello

"Hello?"
"So how do you feelin' Houston?"

I pause. The world stands teetering on the edge of oblivion for just a second.
Breathe.

"How did you know I was here?"
"I know things. How you like it lil mama?"
"It's good."
"Yo, you hate it that much?"

We laugh. Mine is nervous laughter. It's been so long since I've heard his voice.

"So," he says, "you miss me yet?"
"No."
"Your ass never could lie."
More laughter.

"So tell me 'bout this nigga you think gone replace me."
"What do you wanna know?"
"You happy?"
"Yes. Very."
"Aiight. So tell me 'bout him."
I talk a little, very little, hitting the highlights.

"Im not real happy 'bout how you sound when you talk about him."
"What do you mean?"
"Shit just how you sound. Your voice."
"Huh?"
"How you talk about this nigga. How you sound. Your tone. You sound like you think you love him or some shit."
I'm silent. He grunts at my silence, my failure to be manipulated into answering a question he didn't ask.

"So when you coming back to me?"
"I'm not."
We pause. The silence stretches on for awhile. He's doing the trick, where you stay silent until it becomes uncomfortable and the other person ends up saying more than they intended. I guess he forgot he taught me that. I clear my throat.

"How have you been?"
"Naw," he snaps at me, his New York accent sharpening around the edges. "Don't do that shit."
We're silent again.

"Why did you call me?" my voice quieter now, teetering on the edge of a whisper. This is going nowhere good.
Fast.

"I was listening to that song. Reminded me of you. That's pretty fuckin' gay right?"
"Um... lil bit."

We laugh again, this time genuine. We talk more, the conversation starting to come easier.
"So," I say, "tell me about your girl."
"Huh?"
"You heard me. I know you got a few. I KNOW you."
"Yeah, I ain't gone lie, I gotta couple. But they ain't you. You know you're still number one."
I laugh out loud at that.

"I'm not number one. I'm not one, two or three."
"You are the one, two, and three. You're the prototype."
"Shut up."
"So when you coming back to me?"
"I'm not."
More silence. He sighs.

"La, who was there for you when that nigga broke your fuckin' heart?"
Whispering now, "You."
"And when you was feeling all alone, didn't have no friends that had your back, when you was up every night and you couldn't sleep, who was there?"
"You."
"When you needed money, when you needed to get away, when you felt like you didn't know who you were anymore, when some random nigga decided he wanted to jump on you in the streets, WHO WAS THERE?!?!" he demands of me, his voice louder, the edges sharper.
"You."
"Goddamn right. I was there. ALL the time. It was me and you. And now..." he trails off. "I hate how you sound when you talk about this nigga." His voice sounds pained. I press my temples, exhaling hard.

Silence takes over us again. I'm trying to figure out a way off the phone without making this even more messy.

"It was just me and you," he says, his voice softer now, intimate. "I liked it then. Remember that night up on the roof on St. Nic?" For a moment he takes me back there, us up on the roof, overlooking Harlem late one night, talking, laughing, smoking weed, eating empanadas til the sun came up. I smile soft and easy. We laugh out loud at some of our crazy conversations. Crucial ass weed that night spawned some serious conversation.

"It was just me and you lil mama," he says again, his voice even softer now. " I liked it back then. And yeah La, there are broads around, but that don't mean nothing."
I sigh again.

"I appreciate you for doing everything you did for me back then. But I'm not coming back. I'm happy. Let it be."
He's silent. He's angry. I can feel the heat rising off his skin and coming through the phone. He clears his throat.

"A business colleague of mine met you couple weeks ago. One of his girls knew one of your girls. Said he met you in a spot called Drink Houston. Said you were beautiful, funny, up in the club gettin' all this attention. I almost split his head open." I chuckle. He's the worst.

The world seems to shrink a little bit more around me. The world is too small. He's letting me know we're connected, that for the rest of our lives, our paths will keep crossing, just like they did when we first met, just like we talked about that night up on the roof. I hear him loud and clear.

"La seriously. Yo, I'm sittin' here, listenin' to music that reminds me of you. I should be workin'. I sent everybody home. I'm sittin' here like a lil bitch listening to all these songs you hooked me on and thinking about when it was just us. It's been a long time lil mama and they still take me back. That's crucial."
"Things have changed," and even to my own ears it sounds false.
"All that means is it can change back," he counters. So goddamn petulent, so stubborn, all the time.
"It's not gonna change. I'm happy. Let it be."
"You're not completely happy. Something is wrong."
That stops me cold. I swear, men just have... I dunno, they sense when things are... off. I guess my silence betrays me.

"He ain't me La. What, you got your ass one of them corny ass Howard niggas all in polos and khakis and shit to take you around their country club?" I burst out laughing.
"Are you high nigga?!?! WHERE did THAT come from?" We crack up.
He starts again, "Seriously La, we was good together. We was happy."
"Exactly. Was. Past tense."

He goes quiet again. This time longer. I wanna make it sting less, but I hold my tongue.
"Is he good to you?"
"Yes. Very." He grunts.
"He make you smile?"
"Everyday." More grunts.
"Even when you're mad?"
"Even when I wanna shake him to death."
"You cook for him? You sleep curled up under him? He play in your hair? Yall kick it and smoke together, laugh, all that shit?"
"He doesn't let me smoke."
"He better not. Can't have you messing up that voice." Pause. "You sing to him?"
"I'm sure I have." More constipated sounds. Another pregnant pause.
"You love him?" Pause.
"Yes."

He makes a sound like someone has punched him.
"Ok lil mama. Aiight," he says, sounding defeated. "If you change your mind, I can get you back here no issue. Your car is still in the garage. The house is just like you left it. And I'm here. I'm here."
"Thanks. But I'm good."
"No you're not. Not 100%. I hear it in your voice. Something ain't right. You want me to fix it, just let me know."
"Aiight."
"La?"
"Yeah?"
"I'm right here."

He hangs up the phone. Not angry, a gentle click on the other end letting me know he's disconnected, vanished back into the abyss of my past. I know now, like I always figured, that he's been keeping tabs on me. If I didn't know him like I do, I'd feel unsafe. Instead, I feel the opposite. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I know he's nowhere close, but I feel the way he always watched me, studied me, so intense, always looking out for me. I sigh.

"Who was that?" my girl asks me, looking at me strangely.
"Nobody."
"Well nobody sure got you shook up for them to be nobody."
"He's nobody. Not anymore. Lemme taste your sushi."
"But you don't like sushi." I pause.

"I didn't used to like a lot of things."

I pop the sushi in my mouth, wash it down with a bit of leeche saki and lean back in my seat.

It never fails. Someone is always prepared to give you what you want.







It's just never coming from where you want it.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Going Off

I of course have to temper what is following this introduction paragraph by saying, I'm quite possibly one of the most open minded people you'll meet. Religion, sexuality, race, culture, politics, whatever. I don't have to agree, but I never judge. Because that's not what I do. My openess has led me to be able to know and love all sorts of people, regardless of their color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs. And I'm proud of that.

And with that being said...
Please take a moment to try to feel me on this shit.

I was talking to a friend of mine today, J. J is a leggy blond I met at a random dance class one night. She's sweet, she's funny, she's sarcastic, she's smart. She has more than a passing affiliation with black people; she isn't of the "I have a co-worker who's black, I can't be racist!" variety. She's the "my best friend is black, my boyfriend is black, I grew up around black people because a black woman raised me" type. J is an anomaly; a Barbie doll who, if you listened to her talk with your eyes closed, you'd swear she grew up down in 5th ward. She's unpretentious. She's real. She throws down on some fried chicken. Her boyfriend is the blackest black man alive. And no I don't mean he's very dark skinned (although he is). I mean I had an hour long discussion with him about why the radical ideaologies of the Black Panther Party are necessary reintroduce to society in order to bring about revolution.
Yeah. All that.

Me and J hit it off right away. I joke with her all the time that she is my Black Lite; since all my minority friends are mostly in DC and Atl, she is my sugar free substitute. We laugh, she calls me a hooker. Life is great.

So today we're talking and somehow we get off on the subject of so many sistas having issues with her dating T, her boyfriend. Personally, I've never taken issue with interacial dating as I am a poster child for racial mixing myself, but I know many black women who hate, get down right hostile at the sight of "a bunny with one of our kings." (A direct quote from one of my more militant friends.) It irks J. She and T have been together for 6 years, and regardless of that many sistas still look at her and "reduce her to any regular ol' white bitch lookin' for a big dick." (Her words; not mine.) I've seen it when we've all been out together; it's not been pretty. The first time she and I ever went out together, this cat eyed bitch at Drink Houston got stupid with her and we damn near had to drag her silly ass across the floor cuz she got so disrespectful. J and I have had this conversation many a time and mostly, I just let her vent. It hurts her. And I mean it hurts her badly. To be so badly disrespected by anyone, but by a woman, and a black woman at that, a group of creatures she has come to "so revere and respect" (again her quote) as it was a black woman who took her in and raised her among other black women when her own mother didn't want her, it cuts her deep. Like I said, mostly I just let her vent because I know what it's like to be seen as an entity and not a soul (see archives: The Other Side of the Brown Paper Bag).

This convo eventually led into a convo about all race relations in this country (if you think racism is dead, I invite you to live in Texas for a year.) Somehow we got on the subject of the N word. Now anyone that knows me knows that I have no issue whatsoever with the use of the word. (Yeah I said it- and WHAT nigga?) I am one of those people that believes that it is not the words themselves that have power, but rather the intent behind their deliverence that determines how they should be received. But alas, that is a different post.

Anywho, she started telling a story about one time when she and T were out and how a particularly mouthy hood rodent got loud with them and called T a nigga. (It should be noted that T HATES the word; I respect that when I'm around him and try not to use it.) She was venting and somewhere around the middle she said something to the affect of, "I completely understand, you know, cuz my boyfriend's black."
Err?

Maybe it was because I been seriously on edge lately. Maybe it's cuz I've been sick for a week or cuz I've just been feeling particularly ornery as of late. Whatever the reason, it stopped me in my tracks.
"I'm sorry... what?!?!" I asked all kinds of confused. She stopped and stared at me for a second. She looked like she was gonna open her mouth but I cut her off.

"You understand? You completely UNDERSTAND because YOUR BOYFRIEND IS BLACK? Oh, so you know what it's like to walk into a store and have sales people follow you around, terrified you might steal something because SURELY you couldn't afford to pay for it? You know what it's like to have all of the hard work I did for get my degree discredited just because I got it from a historically black institution? You know what it's like to get pulled over for bullshit like failure to pull out of an officer's way so you can be questioned as to whether or not you're running drugs for you boyfriend? Cuz you know all black girls are. (True story.) So because your boyfriend is black you know what it's like to repeatedly watch opportunities go to someone else who isn't black just because they'd make a better "image" for a company? You know what it's like to have someone stand in your face and call you gal or nigga and get away with it because someone has always taught them that they're better? You know what it's like to have to work 10 times harder, 10 times longer to get even a third of the credit you can walk into a room and get OFF TOP because you're a white girl? You know what it's like to have to watch Latinas and random white girls make it fashionable to be "shapely" in Hollywood which is really just nice speak for having ass when FOR YEARS sistas were told they were too "ethnic" for roles? (I should take this time to point out that I am Latina so you ladies can hold your hate mail. Thanks.) You know what it's like to watch my very existence be reduced to, at best, some oiled up video hoe, at worst, a caricature of some gum poppin', weave wearin', neck rollin' hoodrat? You KNOW what it's like to see every little white girl I've ever known at some point try to walk like me, talk like me, steal my swagger and then at some point try to put their stamp on it like the shit is original? So I guess since your boyfriend is black, you know what it's like to be the strongest, most intelligent, talented, and most beautiful and yet still most undervalued member of society, right? You can CHOOSE not to let people know you were raised by a black woman around black people, but NEVER at ANY point can I choose to stop being one, nor would I."

By this time her mouth was hanging open and she was blinking back tears. My face was red and my chest heaving. For a second, I almost felt bad. And then J said, " You're right. I have no idea."

And then I exhaled.
And we sat down and talked, 2 women who are different, have had different experiences but certainly can relate on the level of what it's like to be viewed as an entity, a caricature and not a soul.

If nothing else, I respect J more now. Number 1, because she didn't run away after the scary black woman went off on her, lol. And number 2 because she was woman enough to sit with me, to talk with me, to ask me about my life and my experience, to be open to what it's like to be me. She was woman enough to admit she was wrong, and not shy away from having a difficult, uncomfortable conversation so she could learn something.




And she got that from a black woman.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

We Love to Fly... and it Shows!

Remember when that used to be Delta's slogan? Lol I dunno why that random thought just came to me.

I was sitting down planing my budget for the next 2 months (I usually do that about 2 weeks in advance... yes I am that serious about managingmy money) and I realized, this summer I'll get to do ALOT of traveling.

I've already been to New Orleans this month. Next month I have to go to Atlanta for my cousin's wedding and then to Seattle for my sister's birthday. In July I'll be in Atl again for 4th of July weekend (cuz Atl is ALWAYS poppin' that weekend and my uncle is ALWAYS frying catfish, lol). And also, my college roomate and I will be making a road trip! Yay!

That brings me to the point of this post. I only had 1 roomate while at Howard and that was freshman year. Her name was K. The very first day she moved in, K was so quiet that I thought she didn't like me... or any people. But pretty soon we hit it off immediately. Before long, I was always excited to come back to my room and see her. I have soooo many silly pictures of us from in our room freshman year that I just love. Many nights would find us ordering pizza or Chinese food and watching tv or playing internet computer games. She was my constant companion for Saturday and Sunday brunches and we spent so much time couped up in our room once winter hit. She's the sweetest. I love her to death.

During that year, she's the one who turned me on to Harry Potter. I'd heard of the books but going to a ghetto school in the hood there isn't exactly an abundance of Harry Potter books floating the halls. She made me read the first book. And then when the 1st movie came out, we went to see it.
I've been hooked ever since.
Like really, just seeing a Harry Potter trailer in the movies is enough to elicit a sqeal of delight from me. As a matter of fact I'm going to see Shrek 3 tonight and part of my excitement stems from the fact that there might be a Harry Potter preview. Ahhhhh!!!!

Every one that's been out so far, we've seen together. No matter where we are. Even when I was living in New York doing my internship at MTV she and I met and went to see it. Its tradition.

So in July we're gonna take a road trip. We're gonna figure out what's equadistant from us both, meet there and go see Harry Potter. THAT'S how serious it is.
Our friendship. Not Harry Potter.

I got lucky with her freshman year. I heard so many horror stories from people about their roomies. I couldn't relate. Truth is, I partied alot freshman year, but alot of it was trying to hurry up and get back to our room to put on my pjs and order food and watch tv and rearrange our room and take silly pictures.

I think it's a kinda cool tradition.



ROAD TRIP BITCHES!!!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

just thinking...

For awhile I have been thinking I need to reevaluate some people in my life. I think maybe I have some friends whom I'm more invested in than they are me. For almost a year I've found myself coming to these people for support about issues in my life, and then when the conversation is over, somehouw I realize that all we talked about was them. I wish I could say this was just one friend on one occassion, but that's just not true. Somehow, my support group has become full of people who just aren't very supportive. People who look for any opportunity to turn the spotlight back on them even when I need to talk, or worse, not even caring enough to bother with the even pretending to care what's going on in my life.

I get too attatched to people. I know that. And I hold on to friends that I shouldn't because I'm all too familiar with how it feels when people leave you and I don't like doing that to others. And sometimes I wonder if I'm tripping, if I'm warping things in my mind.

Just thinking...


On a totally random note, I keep having this dream that I have an orange cat named Huey that I've been neglecting since I got Honey. What's that about? What does that mean? Lol

Friday, May 11, 2007

New Orleans Recap

Seriously.

Like...
I dunno.
It's like…
You know?

There is no way that my weekend could have possibly gone any better than it did. NO WAY POSSIBLE. It went so well that I'm rendered almost speechless. Hence, the babbling above.
Thursday PM
Immediately after posting about what a nervous, excited wreck I was, I go jump in my truck. I'm not really stressing about leaving so late because the airport is literally about 7 minutes from my house on the northwest side of the city. I speed down some backstreets (because I like to drive fast, not because I was rushing) and pull into the driveway of the airport and start looking for his flight. Except I don't see it. Hmm. I know he had a layover. Maybe he took a different carrier in? I check his itinerary in on my phone.

Yeah… right airline, WRONG FUCKING AIRPORT. Are you shitting me?!?! He's ALLLLL the way across town. And if you've ever been to the cavernous stretch of hell that is Houston, you know that "across town" isn’t a quick 15, 20 minute jaunt. Let's try more like a 45 minute ride.

I make it in 25 minutes (because I believe speed limits are suggetions) and as I pull in, my phone rings. It's my aunt, whom I call TeeDede, who is already in New Orleans. Her syrupy drawl on the other line makes me smile.

"Hey baby, " she says which sounds more like, "Heye Beybay" with her thick New Orleans accent. "I hear yall comin' down by me tomorrow."

She as I talk as I text the Mexican with my other hand, swerving in and out of traffic with my knees steering the car (yeah, nigga. I'm NICE). She and I talk until I pull up at the curb.

"So," she starts, "I hear you bringing somebody with you, yeah?"
"Um, yeah, I'm bringing.... my boyfriend...?" I say like a question because it still sounds somewhat strange to me.
"I heard! Your mama really likes this one. I say to her, well do we like this one? And I'm wondering you know ‘cause she hasn't liked many of them since um, what's that boy's name?"
"First Love."
"Yeah, him. And she say she really likes this one here."
"Yeah, that's the general consensus. Everyone can't help but like his charming ass."
"But that's what you like so stop actin' crazy."
I laugh because, you know, she's right.

After we disconnect, I send him a text telling him I'm out front. He sees my car. He smiles. I smile. And then I burst out laughing at myself because I feel, well, a little bit like a loser. I pop the trunk, jump out, so excited that I forget to change out of my flip flops and into my heels that I had hiding in the backseat. He drops his bags and scoops me up like I'm a child. He kisses me and the nervousness dissipates. Now I just feel all romantic comedy giddy.

I drive back across town, us talking, him telling me about his semi racial profiling of a Muslim passenger. That starts us to talking about religion.

"Actually, I can agree with many of the ideologies that Muslims believe in. If I wasn't such a feminist, I'd consider converting for more than a second."
"Think you could be a Muslim woman, ya crazy," he says to me.
Yeah. That's true.


My phone rings. My mother has been blowing up my phone all day. She's called me NO LESS than six times in the last hour to ask me if The Great Houdini was here yet, even though I told her I'd call her when we left the airport. She just so happens to call as we're approaching the exit to her condo.

"You hungry?" she asks both of us on speaker, less like a question and more like a request we know we can’t turn down.


After giving him a tour of her place (he pronounced it "pimp" and said it had an "impeccable feng shui"), we head over to a neighborhood bar for food and to prepare our livers for the damage we plan to do to them once in New Orleans tomorrow. I fold up under his arm, one leg thrown over his, his hand on my ass. While we sit there and laugh and joke and talk shit, I realize I feel happier than I've felt in a long time. Even my mama looks like she's having fun.

And had I not had to show my ass on the bubble headed waitress, it woulda been perfect.



Friday
We wake up, run some errands to get ready to get on the road. Well, kinda. Mostly, we go to Waffle House after getting my braces adjusted. (Waffle House is very important to us.) Afterwards, we go scoop my mama at which point TGH climbs in the backseat and says that he's going to "take a nap". Before we even get out of downtown Houston, he's snoring over the Stevie Wonder we have blaring. He continues to do so well into Lake Charles. My first thought is that I can't believe I ever got used to that damn sound. The fact that we have ever been able to sleep in the same bed is a miracle of epic proportions. I catch a glimpse of him in the rear view. He looks like a little boy when he sleeps. Before I can stop myself I wonder if this is what our son will look like when he sleeps, too.

And then I try to figure out if I can accurately aim to throw a sock in his mouth so he can shut the hell up long enough for me to hear "Superstition."

We make it to New Orleans about 8ish. We left about 3pm and it's supposed to be a 6 hour drive… that’s all I have to say about that. Upon arrival, my mama was anxious to see her best friends, who are my godparents, so we drop her off in the French Quarter and go to check into our hotel. We are staying at the Days Inn on Canal Street. I tell you this so that you may NEVER EVER EVER stay there, EVER IN LIFE. Why? You might ask? Well...
The first room they sent us to had no linens on the beds. Where were they? You ask. Why, they were dumped in a tied up trash bag sitting in the middle of the floor. The room hadn't been cleaned in, well, ever it appeared. There was this smell lingering in the very paint on the walls that I can only imagine is somewhat akin to that of a crime scene involving a decomposing body.
"Oh you have GOT to be fuckin' kidding me with this shit," I say and we go back down to the lobby, me all ready to raise hell and TGH just standing back shaking his head because he knows it's not gonna be pretty.

After some arguing with the front desk clerk, we get to the second room. It too, has a nice mildew smell, which I guess is coming from the MOLD IN THE CEILING tiles. There's a hole in the wall. The air conditioner is rattling. There is at least a foot of mold on the bottom of the shower curtain. The tiles in the bathroom are brown. They used to be white. How do I know? Because I can see where the toilet has moved slightly and exposed the color the tile USED to be. On top of all of that, everything in the room is slightly damp because everything is muggy and gross. Oh and did I mention that the room next to us looked like Katrina had JUST ripped through it? I'm talking door ripped off the hinges, lighting fixtures hanging, mildew smell, dry wall crumpled on the floor.
I am the cleanest woman in the universe. This is not gonna work. I start looking for new hotels immediately. Of course, with it being so late, it's difficult to find one as it is Jazz Festival weekend. I wanna cry. TGH makes me change clothes and leave the room to go meet my fam. I will not stay in this hotel all weekend.
We walk Bourbon Street looking for my mama and godparents who have long since gotten the party started at Pat O’Brien’s. We find them, stumbling towards us, all smiles and laughter, and the nervousness sets back in. My godfather sets his sights on TGH.
"What's your name young man?"
"The Great Houdini."

He gives him The Look, the one that is meant to strike fear into the heart of even the most extraordinary man. TGH doesn't look away. Instead, he somehow ends up with a drink. My godfather smiles.

Good start.


We all walk and laugh and talk shit all the way back down Bourbon to find somewhere to eat. TGH leans over to me.
"They're all nuts."
Well, yeah.



We find a place called La Bayou, and after getting shade from the black man at the door who doesn't want to let us sit out on the balcony (considered prime seating as it overlooks the street), finally a white boy that looks a little bit like Nick Lachey shows us to our table and takes our order. We start to discuss some of the ongoing racial politics still prevalent in the city. Everyone was pretty cordial to me (the lightest of the group) but still somewhat standoffish to everyone else (more on that later). As we talk, I notice Godfather's chest puff out. Lordy. He is the consummate man's man. Articulate, intelligent, prideful.

We start ordering. Everything. Anything we want. The waiter's eyes bulge slightly. We all order drinks. We get a couple appetizers. We get entrees. All of which are not at Applebee's prices. We eat, drink, and take pictures. Life is good. When the check comes, Godfather whips out his card before anyone else can even reach for their purses and wallets. I laugh on the inside. He had to show, in his own way, that not only was his family worthy of better treatment than what we received, but that he could provide for them all. God, I love black men.
We walk them back to their hotel, and TGH and I wander back into the French Quarter in search of a mysterious drink called a Hand Grenade. I don't get one since I'm already tired as hell but he does. He gets about halfway down the tall glass before he starts blinking slow. Which is scary because this man can DRINK. We are holding hands and walking, pausing for him to let me sip from his cup and for him to kiss me. As we wind our way back out of the Quarter, he stops me in the middle of Bourbon Street, turning me so he can look me square in the face. His eyes are familiar but the look in them is unrecognizable, some tsunami of internal workings I know instinctually he won’t tell me. Instead, he lowers his face to mine and kisses me like it’s the first time. The crowd noise hushes to silence around us and for just a second, there is nothing else in the world but the feeling of his lips on mine.

Back at the hotel of the damned, we fall asleep clutching each other. Not because we're cuddly sleepers but because if we don't one of us will fall off the small ass bed.



Saturday
TGH wakes me up early. He’s always wakes up before me. Usually he lets me sleep for awhile until he gets tired of being up alone. For a minute I smile because I love waking up to him kissing my forehead and nuzzling my neck.
And then I remember we're lying in a bed inside the 7th dimension of hell.

We get up immediately. I shower with my flip flops on because everything is THAT disgusting. When I get out, I the bed catches my eye.

"Baby!" Lemme see your face! Are you bleeding? What's wrong?" He looks at me all confused.
"I'm good mami. Why?"
"Cause there's blood on your pillow."

We look at each other. Then at the bed.

Two things should be said here...

#1 His face is perfectly smooth.
#2 TGH doesn't sleep on pillows.

"Oh, are you fuckin' kidding me?!?!?!" I exclaim as I throw on some clothes and we grab our stuff to hurry out of the only hotel I know of worse than the conditions in prison.

By this time we get downstairs I am shaking with anger. He hangs back as I fly up to the desk, seemingly scoping out an emergency exit in case I make a scene. He knows me well enough to know when I get this angry, it's best to give me space. I ask for a manager. I decide my best tactic is to stay calm. It will significantly impair my drinking plans for the rest of the day if I am arrested. Despite this aim though, I think my controlled anger scares the hell out of the manager. He stays very far away from the counter and refunds my money from a safe distance.

We go meet the family at their hotel at the Iberville Suites, and slowly I start to relax after telling them about our hotel experience. While we are talking, we realize that we've gotten to the point where we finish each other's sentences.

Food is more imperative than anything at this point so we set off into the Quarter for breakfast. I fight love bugs all the way there, dropping and breaking my phone in the process. Once we reach the restaurant and sit down, I realize I can’t get the damn phone to turn back on. TGH MacGyvers in some type of way. Once again, he saves the day.

Then comes the liquor. Lots of it. At Pat O’Brien’s to begin with, starting with a Hurricane that made me feel fuzzy around the edges. The Great Houdini gets a Category Five, some concoction that is really just flavored Tequila. Between the liquor and the sun, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna die soon and I realize my only hope is to order another drink so I stay hydrated.

The best part of New Orleans is the fact that you can walk the streets with your liquor. So we do. I stop and get a Hand Grenade, that is pretty much guaranteed to put me on my ass. And then we bar hop. At one point, we're walking down Bourbon and some white boys sitting up on a balcony start shouting so ignorance to me, my mama, and my godmother. My godfather's eyes darken. Before he can open his mouth, I hear TGH’s voice from behind me, his hand on my back pushing me forward.

"I know you drunk and shit but don't get stupid, white boy," he says, his voice angrier than I have ever heard it. The white boys back down and go inside. That makes me laugh. My mama makes a comment about feeling safe around certain black men.
"He takes good care of you," she says of TGH. I smile. That's an understatement. I chuckle under my breath as he pushes me forward, behind all of us, looking back at the rambunctious dudes on the balcony. I am pretty sure if a similar situation had transpired and my family wasn't there, we'd be fighting.
We end up at some place I can't remember, drinking and dancing to a cover band. Right around this time, my godfather decides to share his impression of The Great Houdini. I knew it was coming.
"You know, I like him. He's got heart. That means alot with me. That other nigga you dated, he was aiight, but he had no heart. I've only known this man, what, not even 24 hours, and I respect him. Good job, babygirl."
I smile. A huge, wide, epic smile. I look over my shoulder at TGH. He's smiling just as big. He tucks me underneath his arm and pulls me back against him. I feel his lips on the back of my hair.


The rest of the night is a blur. There is A LOT more liquor. A LOT. Drunken white lady flashes the entire bar her boobs. Other drunken white lady falls on her flat ass. Drunken white man sings off key with the band. A round of shots. 3 for $5 beers. SoCo and lime. More Hand Grenades. Lemon Drops. Good lord.


Later, we meet my TeeDede for dinner at a restaurant off Broad named Pampy's. We sit, all of us, gathered around the biggest table in the restaurant, laughing too loud and talking too much. I fuss at TGH’s allergies to shellfish keeping him from kissing me. He tells me he’ll make it up to me and kisses my hand. Out of the corner of my eye I catch the looks being passed by the elders that they don’t think I see.
This feels like the way it was meant to be.


At the end of the night, we checked into our new hotel room.

And promptly had a stupid fight.

I fell asleep hugging the corner of the huge King bed, a cavern between us. But by morning, I’d found my way back into his arms, where I was supposed to be.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Butterflies

It's 8:51 and I'm pacing my floor. Psuedo is on his way to town. Actually, he's probably already IN town. And I'm all little bit anxious, you know?



Ok that's bullshit.





I'm nervous like a crackwhore taking an AIDS test.


Seriously.



Like my hands are trembling. Sure since I left DC me and Psuedo (who I apparently now can no longer call Psuedo as he has been upgraded to boyfriend status he tells me so now I will refer to him as The Mexican) we've travelled to see each other. But now it's just me and him.


alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll weekend.



Oh, and also, my closest family that is most important to me in the world including my favorite aunt and my most overprotecting godfather second only to his brother, the crazy marine who told me I was too pretty to ever cry and if I did he would make sure that the person that made me cry would never blink again.

Alot, right?


We're driving to New Orleans to see my family. He's gonna meet the extended family, not the crazy ones (that's for well into marriage with ANYONE), and it's gonna be just us all weekend. Not with friends, not sneaking around, not catching a few hours in between events.

Just.
Us.

*shudder*

I'm trippin', I know. But real talk, it's been quite some time since the last time I was somebody's girlfriend and well, we all know how that worked out for me. (And if you don't catch up on the archives.) I know Jam is gonna tell me to man up, and Joy is gonna be all awww that's so sweet and Shani is gonna call me strange and Wise is gonna make some smart ass remark. But seriously. your girl is worked up.




So worked up in fact that I'm pretty sure I'm late for picking up The Mexican from the airport.