Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Relative Conversation


I'm told that everyone has one. That family member that you'd rather keep hidden; the one you don't want anyone to meet. Ever. The one with whom you'd deny any familial connection to if you could get away with it.


I am blessed to have several of these such relatives. Today I'll talk about only two.


First there's Cousin Bicardi, so named because of his love for all things bubbly. He's a relative by marriage, but he and my cousin have been married for so long that I often forget that something as simple as a divorce would mean that I'd never have to see him again. (Not that I'd wish for that to happen).


Anyway, it was Thanksgiving in the 1990s. I was on break from college and bought the boyfriend over to dinner. I was alarmed to see Cousin Bicardi there, but I didn't think he'd do much harm. I was in the kitchen when the boyfriend was in the living room with him watching the news. The reporter started talking about a woman who was raped and Cousin Bicardi shook his head in shame. He turned to the boyfriend and said this: "I never understood why a man would rape a woman. They close their shit up all tight if they don't want you. If you keep on going, your stuff will be hurting too. It ain't worth it. You might as well just wait for them to open the gate."



Recently, we had a family gathering where Uncle E attended. We rarely see Uncle E because the circumstances of his life took him down several wrong paths. Let's just say he and his ex wife are the original Bobby and Whitney. He also has seven kids by six different women. I hear Uncle E was fine in his day. I believe that because his sons are gorgeous. (I have their names and ages written down somewhere, just so that I don't ever accidentaly commit incest.) But now he's 50, overweight, with rotting teeth and he bugs everyone for money.


An attractive woman who was a friend of a relative attended the gathering and Uncle E thought this was the time to return to his heyday. He tried to rap to ol' girl and she actually looked like she was falling for him. Then several of us crowded around her and warned her away. She doesn't have any kids and we told her that he gets every woman he dates pregnant. She doesn't have any kids, so she backed away then.


At the end of the night, he cornered her again and they began talking. When it was time to go, he kissed her hand and winked. Then he said, "I'll see you in nine months." She cringed and ran away. I doubt we'll ever see her again. Unless he did manage to impregnate her with his touch.


Friday, May 25, 2007

The Desk (At Work)



I finally got my digital camera to work, so I figured I'd be lazy today and just write about some illustrations. What you see above is my desk at work. I'm going through the 'lived in' stage, where papers, pens and books are pretty much tossed around willy nilly. It is a tad bit messy and I do need to clean it up. But trust, this desk is nothing compared to that of some of my coworkers. You'll notice on the top cubicle wall a series of items that I share with my neighbor, Nicole. We're both figurine freaks. Recently, an older woman bought in her child's old toys that she planned to give away and we added them to our stash. Here's some quick views.



What you see here are some of the items we share. From the left, you'll see our two bottles of Ibuprofen. Oh yes, it gets like that sometimes. Especially since we are apparently on the same cycle. Next to the drugs, you'll see a snow globe with Mickey Mouse inside, then Peter Pan in a face off with Captain Hook. Then there's my trusty Justin Timberlake bobblehead doll (it was a gag gift), Orko from She-Ra Princess of power and a bobblehead of Jesus. The Jesus figure is Nicole's not mine. She's the blasphemous one.


And now it's time for my favorite figurine of all:

Yep. That right there is the Avenging Unicorn. It comes with three figurines -- a mime, hippie and a boss that you can impale with the various unicorn horns. My unicorn is stabbing the hippie and I've given the impaled boss and mime to some other coworkers who share my anger management issues. Fun times!!




Here's the front of my desk:


As you can see, I have a royalty complex. And yes, that's Robin Thicke as the background to my computer. Ya'll know I love him. I also have a picture of my cat and a picture of Method Man taped ot my screen, but you can't see it here.





Here's me looking at my favorite website:




That's '>this one, in case you didn't know. I also have a picture of a comic strip that I like, F Minus.


That's about it for now; it's time to head out into the sunshine. Have a fun Memorial Day weekend!






Thursday, May 24, 2007

Top Reasons on Why I'm Losing Lost


I watched the season finale of "Lost" recently and I feel, well, tired. I've been watching this show from the beginning, intrigued by the way they told the story of plane crash survivors crashing on a desserted island. Unlike 'Castaway', each episode is intertwined with the backstory of one of the island's inhabitants. Each season is supposed to account for a month of their time. So even though they've just ended the third season of the show, those folks have been stranded on the island for three months, there time. The network announced that they would end the show in 2010 and then the audience would finally be able to put all the puzzle pieces together. But, three more years on a friggin' island? I don't think I can hang on that long. Here's why:



1. Lost Losers.

I'll admit that I like the show, but I'll never let myself go 'Lost' crazy. The most I'll do is check Pop Candy each week to see what other viewers are saying about the show. But I'll never be like my friend, Larry. Love him to death, but he's a Lost geek. He subscribes to the podcasts, googles screenshots, watches each episode two or three times a night. I humor him when he tries to share his knowledge with me, but really, I don't care that much. People like Larry are very protective of their theories. I've witnessed a fight almost break out when he told someone else his idea was "retarded." Get a grip, people.



2. I hate Jack.

I guess it's wrong that whenever I watch the show, I find myself rooting for someone to kill the show's star, Dr. Jack Shepard, aka Matthew Fox. He's got this real hero complex and he's so self righteous that it makes me ill. He tells everyone else on the island what to do and most of them follow him blindly. Then he's in this wack love triangle with Kate (Evangeline Lilly), yet another character that's been dancing on my one good nerve.



3. Where are my people?

Yeah, they've done a good job with diversity and all, adding a Korean couple and a Middle Easterner in the mix. And even though Sun and Jin are my favorite characters on the show, I can't help but be annoyed by the genocide of the black characters. The Others let Walt and Michael off the island, then the monster kills Mr. Eko, which was a horror upon horrors. Rose, who was an important character in the earlier story, was barely shown this season. Ms. Kleu seemed to be on the top tier with the Others and the second time they showed her, they shot her in the chest. What's up with that?



4. TV Shouldn't Hurt.

And really, my brain is hurting. I think the concept of Lost is really interesting, but it would be better as a movie or a miniseries instead of a series of episodes spread out over six seasons. And since I'm in what I like to call 'Lost Special Ed', I don't have the time or energy to freeze frame certain scenes to see if I can recognize the Dharma agent from season one. Really, it's not that serious.
I'm off my soapbox now. Thanks for giving me the chance to vent. Although, it's highly likely that I'll toss all this out the window in January 2008 when the show starts again.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lt. Mayonnaise


About a year ago, I was forced to sit behind a guy I couldn't stand at work. For the most part, he was quiet. But when he did open his mouth, he was loud and obnoxious, often saying offensive things to the people who sat around us. He was also a big flirt. I'll never forget the day he asked an old woman in our department if she'd ever been spanked. I assumed she'd get offended, but she blushed and giggled as she walked away. That was the effect Dice had on everyone. He was the guy that you either loved to hate or hated to love.


Eventually, Dice (nicknamed after Andrew "Dice" Clay) became my sidekick. He was the only other person of color in our office so we became each other's 'go-to' person. He showed me around the city I worked in the way no one else did. Dice hipped me to Simmy's, a spot where I could get everything from chitterlings to moo goo gai pan. We made frequent runs to the dollar store and I allowed him to hide his goodies in the bottom drawer of my desk. He told me the true meaning of the word "skank" ('a skank is a broad who hooks up with all your friends, but won't give you the time of day') and I helped him clean up his language when referring from women. I got him to go from skank to broad and finally to chick. Unfortunately, that was as far as I could get him to go.


Dice lived a mysterious life so we were all caught by surprise when he quit and said he needed to go "find himself." He said his goodbyes, piled into his truck and drove off to some distant land. A woman was hired to take his place. Although she was very nice, I missed having someone who understood what CP Time meant and could accompany me to Simmy's.


Eventually, Dice returned to tell us of his adventures. He had been in Officer Candidates School and was now a lieutenant. Everyone congratulated him and then the 'An Officer & a Gentleman' jokes started. Someone even nicknamed him Lt. Mayonnaise after Richard Gere's character.

I talked to Dice about a week ago when he gave me the news: He's going to Iraq. He's set to leave sometime in June and he wasn't sure how long he would be over there. He sounded upbeat, about as upbeat as you can sound about a war. I told him I'd keep him in my prayers and made him promise to send me his information once he got settled. (Already at work, plans are underway to send him care packages). I also made him make an even more important promise. When Dice returns, he'll have to come to our office in full uniform. When he finds me, he'll pick me up and we'll march outside like Debra Winger and Richard Gere. Unlike the movie, I'll have to go back inside to work. And he'll have to run around town chasing "skanks."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Twins


Growing up, I was always the girl with a twin. No matter where I went, there was always another skinny black girl with thick glasses. Whether I knew this girl or not, folks would always ask me if we were twins, sisters, cousins or whatever. Usually, my doppleganger and I would exchange frowns and say in unison, "I don't look like her!"

In sixth grade, my twin was "Penny". We were both in class H27, which meant we were part of a group that took all classes together. The first few days of school everyone made comparisons to us. Teachers would say Strength when they meant Penny and vice versa. We would both roll our eyes. I guess, like me, she had had her share of twins and was sick of it.

Unlike the others, Penny and I actually became friends. She was probably my best friend in school at that time, since I had another best friend in the neighborhood. The twins thing was still something everyone used to tease us about. One of our teachers -- drama, I think -- took it further and labeled us the Good Twin and the Bad Twin. Guess which one I was? I was very expressive (read: talkative, goofy) back then and the teachers just didn't understand me. Yet Penny was quiet and disciplined, always getting her work done perfectly. It was sickening.

For whatever reason, Penny and I had a falling out at the end of the year. I can't remember specifically what the problem was. I think she did something to piss me off, so I phased her out of my life. In true passive, aggressive fashion, we didn't speak for the rest of the school year. I got new friends and so did she. I went to another school the following year and we never spoke again.
Until the advent of Myspace.

I was fooling around on the site one day when I stumbled upon her name. I wondered if she remembered me, so I sent her an email. Turns out, she did remember me and added me to her friends list. She lives in another state, where she is studying for a phd so she can do cancer research. It was weird because she briefly lived in the same Midwestern state that I did, but moved away once I got there.

It was cool reminiscing about old times with her. The online relationship with Penny led me into subsequent conversations with my Sixth Grade Crush, who doesn't live that far from me. From what I've learned, he has everything that I'm looking for in a man -- long locks, single status, NO KIDS, and a love of Harry Potter.

It's been weird looking at these adult photos of people I'll eternally remember as kids. No matter how long Crush's hair grows, I'll still remember him with a high top fade and a rat tail. No matter how many degrees Penny gets, I'll still remember the day she came running down the hall all excited because two boys tried to get her in a sandwich. I guess I'm still a 12-year-old girl at heart.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Congratulations?


Recently I learned that the Creepy Guy in the Office is engaged. The top boss sent an email to us all about it and asked us all to wish Creepy Guy, who sits in his messy office behind piles and piles of yellowed newspapers, congratulations. We managed to do it, but it was very uncomfortable.

Picture it, a short, balding man approaching 50. He scurries around the office, never speaking to anyone. If you happen to be trapped in the small, printer room with him he will either bolt past you like a cockroach after the lights have been turned on or stay curled up in the corner, waiting for you to finish. Obviously, his behavior has led to some discussion. Is he painfully shy? Or does he have a decapitated head in his freezer? Hmmm .....

It's his job to take the Big Boss's memos to us underlings and have us gloss over it to see if there are any errors. An ordinary person would approach the desk, say good morning or something like that, and proceed with their day. Here's what happened with me on the first day I met CG:

CG (carrying a memo, head down): Strength, I don't believe we've met. I'm _. Me: (extending my hand and smiling): Oh. Nice to meet you.
CG: (puts memo in my hand instead of shaking it): This is for Big Boss. Please read it over.

Then he scurried off. To make matters worse, there was a sticky note attached to the memo that basically said everything that he just said. I guess he was counting on me not being at my desk. That was two years ago and that is the only conversation I've ever had with him. Somedays I'll return to my desk and find the memo labeled with the sticky note. Somedays I'll be sitting at my desk and he'll drop the memo and sticky note without uttering a word. It's not just me; he does this to everybody.

Everyone chipped in and bought CG a gift certificate to Bed, Bath & Beyond. There was also a card circulated for everyone to sign. It was obvious no one knew what to say. Everyone wrote one of two clich├ęd phrases: 'Congratulations' or 'Best Wishes.' I wanted to send a wise message to his new bride, something along the lines of 'hide all sharp objects.' Naturally, I didn't do that. I wrote congratulations and signed my name. Let's hope this new chapter in his life will help him get over some of his issues.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Shoe


I was reunited with an old friend this weekend. I wouldn't call her a friend actually, just someone from my childhood. She moved into my apartment building not too long ago and although she reminded me of someone, it didn't occur to me until today who she is.

My neighbor is the Woman Who Lives in a Shoe. You know her? She had so many children she didn't know what to do? Yeah, try having her as a neighbor.

Ever since she moved in, I've been greeted with the pleasant sounds of her screaming at a child or a child screaming at her. It's not unusual for me to hear a succession of smacks prior to the screams, followed by the mother shouting various threats. "I told you to stop!!" "Give her the phone!" "I don't want to hear it!"

I often wondered how many children she had. I do know that there is a Jayla, because every morning someone is either shouting her name or singing it. There is also a Deja; I know this for the same reason. But today I looked out my window and saw that her children are finally where they belong -- outside. (But I can still hear them as if they're inside my apartment). I counted four kids -- three young girls, a boy and a teenage girl. I'm sure there's still an infant or two around.


Oh, the youth. How I love them. And pretty soon I'll be even closer to this brood when I go outside to take out my trash. Can't wait!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Naming of the Vaginas


The problem with being enrolled in a creative writing program is that you always have that one chick who wants to write about her vagina. In my class, this person is Darlene.

Throughout the semester, we've listened as Darlene detailed various stories with her vagina being one of the main characters. Already, her vagina has been tired, happy, energized, depressed and overworked. Luckily, this is an all-female class with the exception of the professor, who squirms in his seat everytime Darlene gets up to the mic. Believe me, there's nothing harder than trying to keep a straight face when you're listening to a story rooted in genitalia. Somehow, we've managed.

Another classmate, Becky, took issue with Darlene's subject matter. The two women are friends, so she confronted her in a light hearted manner:
B: "Darlene, I'm so sick of your vagina I don't know what to do!"
D: "Hey, I'm just being artistic."
B: "Whatever. Does your vagina have a name? 'Cuz if not, I'm gonna name it."
D: "And what would you call it?"
B: "Becky."

And that's when I stopped listening. It's one thing to name your own vagina, but it's a whole 'nother thing to name someone else's after yourself. Oh heavy sigh. Now I can't figure out who's more disturbed. Becky or Darlene.