Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Walk Around Like I Got an 'S' on my Chest


I look around dumb confused because I don't know this dude. And yet he's all up in my personal space. And me being me, I am a stickler about my bubble.

"Hello...?" I reply like a question, leaning back and away from him.
"I'm That Guy."

I'm still looking around wondering what could have possibly prompted him to come over here because I am not wearing makeup, I have on glasses and Howard sweats, and my hair is in a curly ball of foolishness atop my head. Moreover, I was perfectly content with my nose buried in my hard to track down copy of Fuente Ovejuna and yall know good and well I don't play with niggas who try to pick up girls at Starbucks.

I mark my page carefully and look up at him.
"I'm La."

That Guy is plenty attractive, maybe not drop dead so, but definitely not painful to look at. He's maybe in his late 30s, and trying a bit too hard in his all Columbia ensemble but I recognize that every dude that graduated from there is trying to grab their corner of that Obama swag.


He's a bit shorter than I prefer, because I prefer my men of damn near Grecian god stature, but not horribly so. He's got cute freckles that have been dripped from one cheek, across his nose, and over to the other. I won't even burst his bubble by telling him that light skinned boys went out with bamboo earrings for me. He has a cute smile and what seems like it could be a nice build out of his sweats.

But off top I don't trust dude.

And not just because he is all up in my space and I am pissy about it. It's just... something. He's smiling a bit too big. He's dipping his voice a bit too low, a bit too intimate for my taste. And dammit if he ain't all up on me, but not in an innocent I-have-little-to-no-concept-of-personal-space kinda way. More in a maybe-this-is-intimidating-and-will-throw-you-off kinda way. If he was a cartoon, he'd have a long red tail poking out of the back of his grey sweats.

"May I join you?"
"I'd prefer it if you didn't.

*sidenote: there is something quite comforting about being about overwhelmed with you life; you get to the point where you can and will say just about anything without worrying about being offensive or vulgar*

He, of course, sits anyway. As much as I love cocky, I cannot stand arrogant niggas.

You know, those dudes who were the only cute one at their church growing up so all the little girls were sweating them when they shoulda been taking Sunday School notes, so he thinks he's all that, when really, he was just the only that? Or dude who has a degree, is marginally attractive and has a bit of money so most dirt bag hoes with no constitution throw themselves at him so he's deluded himself into thinking he's That Nigga? (By the way- you're SUPPOSED to have that stuff sir. You don't get a medal.)

He's That Guy- not to beconfused with That Nigga, no matter how hard he tries to convince him.

"I'm not from around here..."

I side eye him. Let's have every man on earth pick up some new game on the way home from work, shall we?

"I'm not single."
"Well, of course not. I wouldn't imagine you'd be. You're beautiful."
"So the only reason I'm not single is because I'm beautiful? Not because I'm smart? Not because I am incredibly witty? Not because I am a fantastic writer, cook, carpenter, lover, and car afficianado?"

I can tell he is thrown off but only momentarily. That Guy is used to getting his way with dirt bag hoes, of which I am ashamed he's even thought to associate me with.

"I am certain you are all of those things. But I haven't been afforded the opportunity to get to know that side of you. Yet."

He puts emphasis on 'yet' as though it were some kind of invitation. If I were to close my eyes and concentrate, I am sure I could hear him hiss, but I tend not to want to close my eyes on snakes.

"I am all of those things. It's a shame you'll never get the opportunity to get to know them. But I will send your regards to my significant other."

I pick up my book and slide my glasses back up the bridge of my nose, in what I hope is a pretty clear sign that this conversation is over and done with.

Notsomuch with That Guy. That Guy, in case you didn't know, doesn't get the subtle.

"You're fairly young right?"
"Very legal. Though last time I checked, I didn't need to be carded to have coffee." He laughs.
"You're sharp. Nononsense. I like that."
"Exactly. Nononsense. And yet, here you are."
"What if I told you that I could set you up with the kind of lifestyle to which you could easily get accustomed and help you build the rest of your life into whatever you want it to be?"

It's then that I start to take in the details that I missed out of irritation.

The coat thrown over his arm isn't a couple seasons old Calvin Klein picked up from your neighborhood Macy's. It's Burberry, and not the ostentacious display of plaid foolishness either.
The briefcase said overcoat is hanging over is no mere Coach assembly; this is Vuitton. At first glance, this one.
The watch on his wrist is no watch; it's a Cartier timepiece.

All of that registers, and right around that time is when I start to get both appalled and offended.

Is this what's hot in the streets now?!

I've certainly never been one for archtypical romance, never really bought into the whole marriage and white picket fence hype, but really? This is getting a bit ridiculous.

Let's not even mention that while spying his "timepiece", I peeped a faint hint of wedding band tan line.

"Look," he says to me, "you're a beautiful girl. And in my life, I believe in two things; getting what I want and treating beautiful women a certain way-
"Oh you mean like accosting them and offending them in public?"
"No. I mean like keeping them as pampered and spoiled and well taken care of as I have the means to. And I most certainly have the means to do just that."
"Sir, I don't mean to be rude, but your offer is both insulting and honestly just beneath me. I can't even imagine what I would have to do to earn and retain such favor-"
"Just think about it. Don't decide now. Here's my card," he says as he hands me a heavy, plain black card with just his name and number on it. I imagine that he had these cards made expressly for this purpose. I vomit in my mouth a little. And I don't fail to notice his sudden haste replacing where improvised cool had once been.

"Call me anytime."

He walks away, a combination of what I guess he presumes to be a confident gait but it's a bit too hurried for that farce. Overall though, he has all but wrecked my concentration so I'm ready to get up out of there. As I'm packing up, I notice a beautiful woman breeze through the door, her long hair whipping in the wind behind her, her cocoa skin made up perfectly. She looks around briefly before heading to the counter. She's friendly, smiling beautifully at the young girl behind the counter, laughing and joking. As I am walking out, she walks past me with a smile of acknowledgement and I think that she is heading to the cushy chair that I just vacated.

Instead, she continues past it... back to the back table in the corner partially hidden from view where That Guy has taken up residence. I watch her lean over and kiss him before sitting, reaching across the table to hold his hand with her left... which is all but crushed under the weight of what has to be at least an 8 carat cushion cut diamond.

What in the married nigga hell?!?

This be what I be talking about. Not only are you trying to convince me that I wanna be your concumbine but you are MARRIED?!?
My God.

No wonder the divorce rate is at 53% in this country. The sanctity of marriage has all but been destroyed, and no, you Bible thumping right wing nuts, gays have nothing to do with it.

I recognize, wholeheartedly, that many women in my position might have jumped at this opportunity. But all I can do is shake my head. I would hope, if I ever do decide to get married, that my husband would never treat me this way. And if he did, I'd hope that some other young woman would have the personal constitution to walk away just like I did.
At first.

As I opened the door to my car I thought to myself, hoping just ain't enough.

I walked back inside as quitely as possible, so that he wouldn't see me walking towards them until I was at the table. He looked up, mildly irritated at first, then wildly panicked when he saw me. I looked him square in his eyes, smiling my sweetest, most sincere phony smile.

"I just wanted you to know, that I might be interested in your... proposition," I say, dropping my voice to the low, smoky tone I usually reserve for the bedroom. "I have your information. My number is on the back." I drop the card on the table between them and walk away without looking behind me.

On my way out of the parking lot, I drive past the window they are sitting in. I can't hear what they are saying, but the woman's beautiful face is contorted into all manner of angry shapes. She is standing over him yelling, and he is recoiling, like the snake that he is.

Yes ladies and gentleman, I am a goddamn marriage superhero, saving one marriage at a time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fast Car

"I am so mad I'm not in DC right now."

I balance my phone between my left shoulder and ear, taking the key out of the ignition, and grabbing my things from the passenger seat with one hand as I open the door with my other hand.

"Right? This is that bullshit. Damn near everyone I know is there. I can't believe I'm missing it."

I struggle to balance the slushie I grabbed on the way home in my hand along with my keys and a book, taking care to not let my over sized bag slide off my shoulder, or move my ear from the phone. I balance on one precarious heel while kicking the door closed with the other. I manage to open the door with my forearm, while reaching for the light switch with my shoulder.

"Oh my God you got tickets?! HOW?!"

My nerves start firing messages before my brain can comprehend them.

"You better wear gloves."

The door directly across from me going into the backyard is standing open.

"I know right."

And the frame is completely shattered. I trip over the remainder of the lock in the middle of the kitchen floor.

My God.

"Babe I have to call you back. I think someone broke into my house."

For some unrealistic reason, despite my haste to leave the house, I am unnaturally concerned with maintaining the balance of everything in my hands. In the movies, when this has happened, the person drops all the items in their arms, the camera panning their fall to the floor in slow motion, maybe in silence.

In real life, and if you are me, you are so wildly concerned with somehow hanging on to a snatch of control in this alternate universe that used to be your home, that making it back to the driver's seat without dropping anything feels like a significant victory. I'm so frazzled I almost drive through the closed garage door.

I drive, fuzzy around the edges, all while frantically calling my stepdad. In my mind I run a mental list, try to prepare myself for what I may find.

What if Honey is hurt? The TV, the DVD player, probably the cable boxes. SHIT! I left my camera on the dresser! And my diamond earrings! Goddammit!!!

I park in the lot at the school up the street from my block. Every shadow, every sound, makes me jump. After about 30 minutes I can't stand it anymore. I have to get back to Honey and make sure she's ok.

The garage is open when I return, my stepdad's truck parked on his side. I park and jump out without even bothering to grab my bags.

Inside, the door is still open, a barely less than frigid draft whipping through the kitchen. I take deep breaths to try to calm myself. I hear my stepdad walking around upstairs as I rush to the bathroom where I left Honey when I left for work this morning. She is fine, a bit shaken and leery, more clingy than usual. But all in one piece. I make my way upstairs.

In the loft, the TV has been knocked over. Wires are draped over the entertainment center where the thieves took the cable box and DVR, as I suspected they would. Other than that, the room seems mostly untouched.

The guest room door is open, but not much appears to be touched there. My bathroom is exactly as I left it, as is both the hall closets, and my dad's room. All appears to not be too awful.

Until I get to my room.

It looks like someone picked up the entire room and dropped it upside down. The TV and it's stand are toppled over, DVD player and cable box, gone. Clothes and purses are pulled from my closet, strewn about the floor. An entire drawer opened and dumped on the carpet. All the things on my dresser out of place. Nothing as I left it just a few short hours ago when I left for work.

While we wait for the cops, I take stock of what's missing. All in all, about $3,000 worth of my stuff has taken flight. I sit down on my bed, exhausted. Before I know it, I am crying. Not because of the things that I have lost, though I worked quite hard to get them. Instead, I am overwhelmed by feeling that my space dirty. All I keep thinking in my head is, someone has been here.

It barely feels like home.

I try, as much as I can keep it together. I call Bob, trying to pretend like I am not that upset, that this hasn't shaken me as much as it has. Before long, I am merely holding the phone and struggling to control the panic attack coiling inside me. I have no words for this feeling, this kinda empty. I'm not sure how long I sat there before I muttered the only thing I felt;

"I don't know what I did."

I fix myself a drink and gain control just long enough to manage to compile a list of items that I have noticed missing and their value for the officer that has shown up to survey the damage. As I am writing and looking around the room, I realized I've not looked in my jewelry box, having been mildly placated by the fact that my diamond earrings that I got as a graduation gift from my parents aren't gone. With a shaky hand I lift the lid.

It's damn near empty.

My favorite silver hoops that it took me a year to find. My 2 favorite bracelets, handmade by Mo. Quite a few necklaces, earrings, a watch, 3 pairs of shades.

No no no no no.

My grandmother's pearls are missing.

I simply cannot.

I feel like someone is sitting on my chest. I bite the inside of my lip until it ruptures, sharp, metallic blood seeping into my mouth. The sensation has somehow stopped the sting of tears behind my eyes.

I can't replace that.

After all the business is settled, I decide to stay in town at my mom's. I can't bear the thought of being in that house, especially since the door can't yet be fixed and all that is standing between me and the next person that decides they wanna kick the shit in, is a small piece of plywood.

That night, I am restless. When I finally do fall asleep, I am scared awake by every sound I hear. I am having long, dark nightmares that I can't wake up from. I am sweating profusely, tossing and turning, waking up absolutely on fire.

I wake up at 7am, done with trying to force myself to sleep.

I spend the following day and the next trying to keep busy, part time working, going to dinner, running errands. Eventually though I find that I can't bear to go another step to do another thing and I make my way back to my mom's, still too shaken to go back home. I spend hours in front of the TV and pacing the floor, willing my body to shut down so I can go to sleep. It isn't trying to hear it. I decide to make a trip to the store to grab some bottles of water and ice cream. If I am gonna be up all night, it at least better be enjoyable.

I find myself at the 24 hour Walgreen's on the corner, wandering the aisles aimlessly, looking at nail polish and light bulbs, Hallmark cards and tampons. I am not particularly in a rush, and there is something mildly comforting about the fact that despite it being 1am, the store is still bright and awake. By the time I finally make it over the ice cream, the muzak playing from the overhead speakers actually starts playing something I know.

You gotta fast car, I wanna ticket to anywhere

I stop short. It's as if all of a sudden the song is on surround sound, like there is a concert in my head.

You gotta fast car, but is it fast enough so we can fly outta here?

Before I even recognize it, I am sliding down the wall in front of me, hot tears escaping from my eyes. It feels like my legs have disappeared from under me, and I crash to the ground far harder than I would prefer. I hardly feel the pain. I am too busy curling up on my side, tucking myself as tight as I can in the fetal position. I feel a puddle of my tears pooling on the floor under my face, but I am far too weak to care. In my head, I hear my grandmother singing this very song.

And suddenly I felt the weight of the past 5 years or so firmly assert itself on my shoulders.

In my mind, I am repeating the same thing I could only say sitting in my bedroom and taking in the mess that had been made of my sanctuary'

I don't know what I did.

It's silly of course. Logically speaking, I could say that I had the most stuff stolen, that my room was the most ransacked because I had the most to steal. Logically I could say that I came to Texas with good intentions and a plan and got waylaid. Logically I could rationalize that it could always be worse.

But this is how I feel. It's not always logical.

At some point, I must have done something. Although for the life of me, I sincerely can't recall my transgression, at some point I must have acted in such a way to turn my Karma on it's head. These last few years have been far too painful, too difficult, to0 insanely heavy and impossible to merely be the standard trials of life. The things I have pushed through, the things I have gotten up from, would without a shadow of a doubt take most people out, especially when they have fallen in such close proximity to each other as my tribulations have. But I've kept trying haven't I? I never gave up, did I? I still did good and tried to be positive for the most part, right? I kept praying and pushing and trying and laughing and living, didn't I?

So maybe something is telling me not to get back up.

I take stock of my life, as it is today, the things that have rendered me unrecognizable. My self imposed extradition from a city I love all because I fell in love there. Separation from my friends who are like family. A lover more distant and furtive than I prefer. Family ties severed beyond repair. A job I hate. A thoroughly slaughtered psyche, complimented by a ruined emotional landscape.

I cannot live this way.

After longer than I can measure, I finally pick myself up off the floor, scurrying out of the door with my head down, ashamed. I hear the girls that work there whispering and giggling about me before I even hit the doors.

I jump in my car and start to drive. Maybe if I go far enough, I will get somewhere.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Get up, get out, and get SOMETHING

First, the formalities...

My holidays were good for the most part. I was off for two weeks, travelling, eating, socializing, enjoying my share and a few other people's of Jack Daniels single barrel, sleeping like a hibernating bear cub, trying that thing on page 34 of Hustler Cosmo. With the exception of the usual family drama and frustration, all was well that is at least until I had to come back to work. And with that out of the way, let's talk about a convo that dominated most of the talk with my family and friends this holiday season...

Second, the set up...

I have a whole heap of cousins, all of whom are married, except for three (including me). Of the ones that are attached (7), all but two are having all kinds of issues.

That's right... FIVE marriages having issues.

Granted, each of their issues are unique(ly foolish) to the individual situation, but there seems to be one underlying theme at the heart of all the problems...


Now, because I am so liberal with the word 'nigga' let me clarify; I don't mean 'nigga' in the traditional 'that's-how-La-refers-to-everybody-regardless-of-race-and-gender' way you're used to me using it. In this case assume that 'nigga' is an appropriate substitute for 'worthless ass husband'.


Now, I could write a whole post about the sorry ass nigga related to me that up and left his wife with two kids (and a third kid elsewhere in the world with his baby mama) to move up north with some random sideline hoe he met on the internet, and take care of her three kids while forsaking his own.
But I don't even feel like wrapping my head around that shit right now.

Instead, I will present the case of my female cousin, who's husband is the most egregious nigga of allllllll these niggas.

Cousin and Nigga have been married now for... 4 years? Maybe 5. Quote me not. In the interest of transparency I will disclose that they met while he was in/on his way to/just getting out of jail, that in the beginning of their relationship he got her hooked on drugs, convinced her to run away and all but devastated my aunt who was just recently devastated by her husband of 30+ years passing. (Alot right?)

So off top, he ain't THAT NIGGA.

But in the last few years or so, they have gotten their shit together. My cousin got a good job with the city, they got married, Nigga was holding down a full time job (albeit at McDonald's but as long as he was bringing in a steady paycheck LEGALLY, I am all about it) and had even found himself a mentor that was helping him get his GED, learn business, and generally just better his life. Last year around this time, they had a beautiful ten pound baby boy that you couldn't have paid me a million dollars and regular blow jobs from Will Smith to get me to carry and deliver and all seemed to be not just on track, but going well.

About that...

About six months ago, Nigga lost his mind. Quit his job out the blue. Was too proud to work at (insert random ass fast food chain here). Got fired from Wendy's after a week. "Couldn't" find another job. So Cousin was supporting both Big Ass Baby and Nigga.

No ma'am.

Furthermore, Nigga was NO PARTS of interested in finding another one. He WAS, however, interested in sleeping all day, eating up all the food in the house, smoking until he looked Chinese, not taking care of his own kid. He had his hand out for money every two weeks Cousin got paid religiously. Coming and going as he pleased, out until all hours of the night.

You know, bitch nigga shit.

It didn't take long for Cousin to be done with that foolishness, and get rid of Nigga. He is gone to parts Unknown, and she is doing the single parent thing pretty damn well.

Except this nigga is like that package. He just don't go away.

Every two weeks, like clockwork, he's calling her for money. Most recently, after he saw her in Walmart with another broad, he calls her asking for money with the excuse, "Baby we in a recession! I can't find a job."


I'm sorry sir...



Lawd who taught this nigga a new word?

Aside from the absurdity of this nigga, it really seemed to be a running trend in my family, and with random friends. I literally heard at least one new story of Niggadom once a day. From everywhere and everybody. And these aren't just young, shiftless dudes that dropped outta high school to be street pharmaceutical distribution agents may not be legal but at least them niggas are working. These are married men, men with babies, men old enough to know better. These aren't men who have just fallen on bad times and need the support of their woman.

Wtf is going on here?!?!

I'm no man, but if I were, I am pretty sure I would feel some kinda way about my wife working all day everyday to support me and I'm not doing anything. Not being in a situation where I'm trying to find a job, and its just difficult with the state of the economy and job market. But I feel like I would not be ok with being worthless for a living. I feel like maybe it would challenge my manhood a bit. Like it would go against the very basis of my constitution. Like my balls would feel a little smaller.

Guys, your balls don't shrink a little when you realize that your girl is the man in your relationship?

Granted, maybe I am a little conservative. Maybe I am wrong for believing that in order to consider yourself a real man, you have to, I dunno, have a job, be able to provide for yourself, you know...


But shit, I work TWO jobs, so you better believe you at least need to have ONE nigga.

The sad part is, there are men in this world that would work at the zoo shovelling elephant shit in the snow if it meant he could take care of himself and his family. If it meant that he wasn't constantly begging, snivelling, trying to get a handout.

And there are men that genuinely ARE falling victims to the recession and ARE having a hard time finding a job and FEEL LIKE SHIT about it.

Not using it as an excuse so you will give them $12 to put on their Breeze Card.

And these men are the ones you need to answer to Nigga. Because they are the ones you are making look bad.

On the flip side of course, there are those women who allow these men to sit at home on their asses watching Young and the Restless and wearing their pampered status like a Purple Heart. Those bitches should be shot.
But that's another post for another day.

Mostly, niggas, you're bothering me.

Sir please go outside and kill yourself.

That is all.

p.s. I promise that I have pretty top notch grammatical skills, unlike those this post implies. But I just came from home, so I'm still talking all Atlanta and plus, I had some stuff to get off my chest. But don't side eye my grammatical stylings; I got a degree and shit.