Monday, October 27, 2008

Baby, I Need Your Lovin

Most kids got bedtime stories, but I was treated to Four Tops songs. Actually, it was one song in particular.

Whenever it was bedtime and Mom gave me my story, she’d talk about how much she loved me and break into her rendition of “Baby I Need Your Lovin’” by the Four Tops. It became our song and we used to sing it together most nights. We only knew the chorus and to this day, neither one of us knows any of the verses. But, no matter where I am, when this song comes on, I think of my Mama. And she thinks of me.

So we were both upset to learn about Levi Stubbs’ death. So here’s a blast from the past.

Friday, October 24, 2008

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: Life Lessons from The Sims

I’m not afraid to admit that I never got over my love of video games.

Even now, as a grown 31-year-old woman, I still have a few PC games that I break out when times get rough. What sets me apart from the general public is that I’m very particular about mine. No Madden or Grand Theft Auto for moi. It’s all about Pharaoh, Genghis Khan, Sim City and *sigh* The Sims. I’ve been told that the first three games show my desire for world domination. The last one … Well, that just means I’m learning how to control people.

I justify my love of the Sims by saying it’s just like playing with Barbie Dolls…via the computer. You’re given all these simulated people and you’re responsible for keeping them happy. As long as you make sure they’re eating, sleeping and having a fair amount of fun, you’ll get bonus points as they advance in their professional lives. Ignore these factors and your Sims will wind up peeing themselves, having temper tantrums and punching random people in the face (true story, see photo).

Anyway, I’m trying to relate my past with the Sims to my own life. Years ago, when I played it on a frequent, obsessive level, I had this one Sim named Michael. I did everything I could to keep Michael in the green, the game's indication of a Sim whose needs are met. He was getting promotions at his job, enjoying his fancy apartment and swimming in his backyard pool whenever he could. Yet every day, Michael would come home and cry. The problem? Michael was lonely.

These days, I’m feeling a bit like Michael. I’m lonely. Not the kind of lonely where I need a man. Eff all that nonsense. Just the kind of lonely where I think I’ve gradually pushed folks out of my life, and it has got to change.

I’ve worked at the same place for the last three and a half years. From day one, I’ve put up this wall around myself that separates me from my colleagues. Sure, I participate in friendly banter and occasionally go to group lunches with them, but for the most part, I keep them all at arm’s length. I’ve limited most of my friends to an email or two here and there, but few phone calls. And when they do try to get together, if it falls out of my regular world of work, school, the gym, writing – I find a way to decline.

So I’m going to get rid of my internal Michael. I’m taking a hammer and slowly knocking down the brick wall that I’ve been building. I’m not saying that I’m going to run out and be buddy buddy to everyone. But I am going to stop letting ‘no’ be my first response to invitations. It’s time to let my inner Sim go.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's YOU Again

It took me awhile, but I’ve decided not to get played. Ever again.

See, I have this friend, who I’ve mentioned before. Loves her, we go way back, back to a time when I was nine and in pigtails. I’ve always looked up to her and admired her (she’s seven years older than me)

But, boy have things changed.

For starters, there’s that bad a$$ child of hers, but I’ve already written about that, so I won’t beat a dead issue. I’ll just talk about the odd things that seem to occur whenever we hangout.

When we got in contact again a few years ago, the events were always as follows – meeting her at Headstart so I can watch her kids do their cheers, going to a Chucky Cheese birthday party, etc. Most recently, she called me up and asked me to go to dinner with her, just me and her. I jumped at the chance.

After we couldn’t figure out a place to meet, she suggested the bright idea of joining her friend’s party she was throwing at a seafood restaurant. Now, I wasn’t too keen of just up and joining a catered party that I wasn’t invited to, but she assured me everything would be okay. Cool beans. We get there and what do I see? Pyramid scheme!

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Homegirl had a powerpoint presentation and was discussing the joys of her newfound business and how we should join up with her. But the kicker was that there was NO FOOD during this entire time and I was HUNGRY. Homegirl talked nonstop for a full 90 minutes. I know the time because my friend and I continued to text each other about how bored we were and how we hoped it would be over soon.

Yet, when it ended, they bought out the food…and it was FINGER FOOD! A row of little chicken drumettes …. (at a seafood restaurant!) …. And very little else! But because I was hungry, I chomped on that chicken as if I hadn’t eaten in 30 years.

Fast forward a few months. She sends me a text about this party that her friend and her hubby are giving soon. It’s a black & white affair and tickets cost $15. One part of my mind wonders if this is a black-tie, get dressed up shindig. Then another part of my mind wonders if this is the same friend with the pyramid scheme from hell. As someone else pointed out to me, she may have me dressed up in some black and white waitress uniform the way her track record has been going.

So I made up an excuse and politely declined. But I don’t want to avoid her forever. There must be common ground somewhere.