Archive for June, 2006

We Dont Step, We Jump!

It doesn’t even matter that it’s 2006, that we’ve made so much social, political progress, that I mostly trust – despite all my humorous quips to the contrary – that I won’t be judged by the color of my skin nor held responsible for those who share my ethnicity.



When I see these faces on the news, before I think how tragic terrorism is, before I think about the tragedies of mass violence, I see these guys, I lower my head, shake it back and forth and say “Goooooodamnit!”

Because despite it being the 21st century, it’s just a reflex for many black people that when you see black crime on the news to think “O lord, here we go again.” Because the fear rises up inside that all the white folk will see these faces and have their worst stereotypes and inner bigotry confirmed, “Ya see, ya see! I knew they were some no good #$%#$…” Because now I will once again fret over what people will assume about the color of my skin. And God forbid I say what I’m studying at school: “African and African-American Studies? O what’s that gonna be about, terrorism?!” At the end of the day, the black community is still very much family-structured as a whole. So the whole “don’t embarrass me out this house” mentality still does exist. It’s why we were devastated over the identity of the sniper, “What the fuck? We kill over practical matters like money, drugs and shoes. We don’t go stir-crazy like white folk!”

But alas, there is always a flipside to assimilation and so, that means we have to take the good with the bad. And so that means we have to have the crazies just like the white folks have theirs. But still, damnit damnit damnit, this shit is still a two-steps-back kinda thing. My colored friends and I will still at some point feel under the microscope again; and I will not put it past some white person we know in some casual capacity to suggest or ask some dumbass shit like did we know one of the guys* (and yes, this has happened that I was asked if someone on the news was a cousin of mine) or do we know “why” they’d do something like this. And when we say that no we don’t know, then we’ll be considered “not down.” …though these latter scenarios may happen more with innocent Muslim folks rather than only black folks.

Of course, this is all hysterical anxieties and I’d like to think the major dialogue over this will continue about the dangers of extremism; most likely, what will happen is a furthering of the alienation of the Islamic faith. Indeed, these guys are an embarrassment to the Nation of Islam (to which they belonged), but I will be bold enough to say that Farrakhan has managed to embarrass it well before today.

Of course, my good friend K. and I shared some cursing and bitter laughter over this news – especially that maybe now the right folks will listen up to the quips and plights of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised black folk….cuz now they ain’t just standin’ on the corner hollerin’, now they tryin’ to blow shit up.

*truth be told, with six degrees of separation (which in the black community goes down to something more like three or four), these guys ages and assumed urban roots, my D.C. upbringing that consisted of bourgeois mixed with a side of street, it’s sliiiightly likely that at least one of my hometown girls I grew up with (including the one who lived with a just released ex-con and his two kids) somehow knows one of the seven thugs’ cousin’s baby’s momma’s aunt’s baby daddy’s uncle or some shit. If these guys were from D.C., there’s no question.


June 23, 2006 at 9:10 pm 3 comments

Pastels and Petunias or, GoogleMaps Can Suck It

This is me driving at some point in the 10 plus total hours it took for me to drive up to cambridge, pick up my keys, see my place for the first time, hand over the keys to the subtenant I got until i move in, and of course get her check for rent (which was basically the whole goal of the trip).

The drive up was fine, normal…until…we get onto the highways and consult our directions courtesy of GoogleMaps and discover…
..that GoogleMaps….

…………………………………………………………………………….. is absolute bullshit.

Within our first hour on the road, me and my great friend and former college roomie, D. ,
found ourselves literally at a crossroads and our GoogleMap instructions telling us to go in both directions. In the entire trip, this would happen over 3 times. There’d be turns to another route and on the turn we’d realize we were on the route or, even better, driving away from the very route we were supposed to be on. We were sent miles around the way to get to our destination and to streets that weren’t named or labeled. By the end of the trip I think D. and I made contacts with most gas attendants and random freaked out pedestrians and drivers, and, at one panicky point, a small child.

Once we made it to Massachusetts, we pulled over for a piss/smoke break and walked into your average rest stop with food, amenities, and whatnot. We opened the doors and stopped in our tracks – – – everyone was white!

Everyone! Not just the fellow drivers but the people who worked there. D. checked and said even in the back of the Mcdonalds, the cooks were white, the cooks! Now to be fair, D. and I arrived to the big MA with our own preconceived notions and numerous warnings about Boston’s racism. So we planned to expect the worst and were faced with nothing but pleasant attitudes from everyone. The rest stop was just a little unnerving and we did feel a little on display but when we went to the restrooms, no one protested and demanded the entire stall area to be disinfected.

I finally saw the future abode in person and I am already starting to love it (sorry, folks, forgot to take pics while actually standing in the apartment; but of course while driving we definitely thought it best to start taking pics and wile out). It’s basically the same size of the apartment I already live in but with twice as many windows, two large closets and a heeeuuuge bathroom (huge in the once-you-get-outside-of-nyc-and-discover-normal-sizes way of course). It’s across the street from school and on Harvard Square so I’m set. But I know I’ll still get lost for awhile, e.g. D. still had to keep telling me where we parked and how to get back to the car.

D. also noticed that nearly everyone we saw in Cambridge had on khakis and some shade of pastel shirt. Overall, she felt people in Cambridge “dressed badly” and sadly I had to agree. I started to pout at the vanilla-feel of it all and I’m not talking about the white folks – the black folks were vanilla too. It’s not about race, vanilla is…well, vanilla. I whined that I wouldn’t be able to find cute clothes and then perked up at the sight of an ALDO shoe store, only to see that it only had the ugly pairs, as if the warehouse just has all the rejects stamped with “Cambridge shipment” on it. All the damn sidewalks are cobblestone so who can wear true heels anyway. I’m doomed to Birkenstocks, I just know it.*

But then, D. decided we needed to get drinks before the long drive back (hey hey hey, I only had one glass of wine, the lush had two cocktails) and the only place I could think of was this restaurant/bar called Daedalus on Mt. Auburn (I think it’s Mt. Auburn anyway) that they took us too during our orientation. So we went and I must admit, I loved it. It was just the middle of the day, two old guys minding their business at the bar and the friendliest of old men bartenders. Not much went on, the World Cup was playing, one of the guys was reading the Globe and discussing terrorism with the bartender. They all smiled at D. and me when we came in instead of saying “we don’t serve your kind ’round these parts” (just joking!) Sitting there sipping my wine and going over my apartment floor plan deciding what to move, I could totally see myself chilling there doing my thing. I guess what I’m saying is I started to feel comfortable. I know the above scene could play out anywhere, especially in NYC but since I’m leaving, it’s nice to see that I will find it.

….o but, D. and I decided when I finally do move in, we’re rollin’ up gangsta, playin’ dirty south rap, screamin’ “was good, haaaay! we up in haaaahvaaahd, aww sheeeeet.” Gates will love it……but it ain’t a race thing, i just love fuckin’ with people.

*and don’t you love how I seem to be worrying about such superficial matters as clothing and bars? But let’s be real, if I get into the nitty-gritty of my very real anxieties over moving(on), school, work and facing the possibility not just of failure but of actual success, that’d just be plain boring.

June 23, 2006 at 3:43 am 2 comments

The Steel Tower is Watching…

Not so’s you’d notice, but I’ve had to remove my “I got bitchslapped/fired” post because I recently received a letter asking me to take it down – you know, the one where a certain glossy canned me – under threat of a lawsuit, something about a confidentiality thing I signed or somesuch (what was I gonna do? NOT sign and NOT have a job?).

Moreso than the “holy shit” reaction I had was a small flattery that Big Brother somehow still came across my measly lil blog. Guess they do have some more spare time than I thought?

Some of my friends are annoyed that I chose to take it down and thus bow down to “The Man” versus leaving it up and risk litigation. They think it’d be great publicity that Big Brother wants to take down lil ole me over one blog post in the great blogosphere of mostly crap. …Hmmm, well I never said I wasn’t a punk and I ain’t tryna have my already screwed up credit get worse with Big Brother stamped on it….

June 16, 2006 at 11:58 pm 3 comments

How Free is Free?

So I won a free vacation…yeah, I know. You know those random “It’s a Grocery Sale Bonanza!” flyers that sometimes come in the mail? Well the KIA car dealership in East Flatbush sent them out all over about a Memorial Day Sale it was having and just as I was about to toss mine when I saw a scratch-off card. I never do lotto tix so I thought o what the hell, it said the Grand Prize was $20,000 so hell yeah, a free scratch-off, I’ll do it! Well I scratched and scratched and I got three little symbols in a row. Thing is, the card had no key teling you which symbols meant what so as far as I knew I could have won the cash, a vacation, a car or a $1000 shopping spree which coming from a car dealership made me suspect I’d get free Benzoil.

So I called the dealership, they tell me to come on down. I go with a friend who has a car – because East Flatbush might as well be Narnia – and meet with this guy. Now I say
“this guy” because I couldn’t tell if he was an actual car dealer or a guy they brought in just to redeem the scratch-offs or what. There were a lot of cars in the lot and I think 3 of them were KIA’s. Right. So my friend and I are sitting there waiting for my crappy Benzoil as “this guy” takes my info down – which annoys me because I know it’s to sell me a car and I wish I could just tell him “Look, I’m unemployed, I have no credit, I ain’t getting a goddamn car” – when he then sits back, pulls out what can only be called the giant scratch-off key (the board was poster-size) and explains to me I’ve won a 3-day, 2-night vacation for two.

Of course, the first immediate thought that ran through my head was “Damn, I would of liked the $20k” but of course I was psyched, I’ve never won anything my whole life. He hands me the brochure from the agency which definitely needed some updating (two sections were on the great Atlantic City and New Orleans), but he also let me know I could take a FOUR-day, 3-night vacation at the two Mexican destinations the agency offers – Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. And since the only U.S. destination I’d liked was Palm Springs or Honolulu and both would take at least a day to get to, I chose Puerto Vallarta!

I mean I did that later, the dealership has nothing to do with that. I grabbed my brochure and voucher and hightailed it home before they could get me to talk about my daily transportation needs.

Of course I’ve told some elders in my family and of course, my father suspects the whole thing is a sham and I’ll be paying for everything (the only thing I pay is the taxes on the room ranging from $7 to $12 a night). But I think he thinks I’m expecting a lot more here. It’s a free trip. To me, if something’s free, it’s the most basic of its kind, meaning I’m not expecting the fuckin’ Four Seasons here, but more like the spin-off of a Best Western. I’m not expecting first-class flying but more like stowing away in some cargo space. BUT IT’S FREE! And all of my money from the great state of NYC will be spent on margaritas and chalupas. And I will enjoy every little thing that much more because it’s FREE!


June 13, 2006 at 3:22 pm 6 comments

Scuse Me, That’s My Kitchen You’re Sleeping In…

so like i said. vow of poverty. i think this is a lil smaller than your average socialite’s closet…..

June 11, 2006 at 7:54 pm 4 comments

Smile, goddamnit!

I just wanted to put something fun and smile-worthy on here. The previous posts have, for the most part, been a little depressing (save my partaaay) and I need some more smiles on here!!

pssst…tk: I think I may have found my soon to be hot new pad in Cambridge! I think it’s a little less than 400 square feet. Yeah I know, but it’s a spit’s distance from campus and right at Harvard square and hey grad school = vow of poverty, whaddya gonna do?….

June 11, 2006 at 7:25 am Leave a comment

Shotgun, Part Deux….

this post has also been deleted for get over it/healing/not worth it purposes.

June 11, 2006 at 7:09 am 6 comments

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