Corona on Crack

Hands up.

Hands out.

Hands. Just hands.

Hands sideways.

Hands other sideways.

Hands up.

Hands up.

Jazz hands.

 

I watched the curious man perform the curious upper body routine. I was idling at a stop light, trying to covertly watch him perform this vigorous dance ritual. I nervously darted my eyes away when I thought he’d turn to face me. I didn’t want to get caught gawking and making eye contact. I didn’t want him to ask me for change.

He never even seemed to realize that I, or anyone else was watching him. He didn’t seem to really notice any part of the world around him.

dancing man

He stood on the concrete median, bare chested and beer bellied, all bare, flailing his gray-hair covered arms above and around his head. I squinted, not because of the sun, but in the way one squints when trying to really understand what is happening. Then, I squinted even harder.

And then I remembered: this man is likely on drugs.

Big cities are seemingly always hotbeds for naughty activities and Houston is no different. With all of the good things (lots of museums, shopping, sports teams) come some not so great things (an active drug scene and very, very creative drug users).

Being stuck inside most of the time is twisting my reality. A few times that I’ve been outside, I almost forgot that the coronavirus-related lock-down is happening. I also almost forgot that Houston is full of interesting characters, walking around like anyone else, except they’re actively in the grips of a wild drug trip.

I have seen people walk straight into oncoming traffic (I’ve actually seen this MANY times, believe it or not). I have seen people having sex and performing cunnilingus (Google it) in daylight. I have seen people urinating and defecating on the street. I have also seen people perform complicated, upper body only dance routines. Dare I say that the jazz hands dance was the most entertaining and the least offensive. Although, in full disclosure, I don’t have anything against cunnilingus.

I also once saw a man, wearing very expensive looking house slippers, walk in and out of a Starbucks, over and over and over again. Each time, he would perform a little jig, in the middle of the parking lot, make a twirl, and re-enter the building. I struggled to drive away; I was mesmerized by the oddity of his athletic ability coupled with his drug-induced behavior. “This man could have truly been an amazing dancer,” I remember thinking. I did not have the same sentiment about jazz hands on the median man.

The thing I thought most about jazz hands on the median man is this: it has now been 6 weeks (or longer) that I have been unable to find bleach. Where in the HELL did this guy find drugs?

Sigh.

3 Ways Being Hood has Prepared You for the Coronavirus

My PostI am coming to you, writing this, from the comfort of my home. I imagine many of you are reading this from your homes, too.

As I am writing this, it’s lunch time and because of the coronavirus and all its nasty impacts, I am now tasked to prepare yet another of my own meals. As of this writing, I have now prepared 100% of my own meals for the past two days. My will power is dwindling and has been stretched to its limits.

Trying to avoid having to clean YET ANOTHER pot, I have decided to eat leftovers. For what I have on hand, the fastest leftovers is the dish preferred by Baby Boomer Black moms everywhere: spaghetti.

As I prepare to heat up the spaghetti, I realize that right now, in these high stakes moments, I have turned on myself, doing to myself what I said I would never do, and that is to tell MYSELF: “Self, IT’S SOME SPAGHETTI IN THERE!” when I ask myself what’s for lunch. I have heard “It’s some spaghetti in there” from my own mother many times, but never, ever, did I think I would have to say those words to myself. I prepare myself to eat the “spaghetti that’s in there” and  long for the sweet embrace of Wendy’s chicken nuggets.

So, before I begrudgingly but somehow also thankfully, “go sit down somewhere” and eat this spaghetti that was “in there”, I wanted to share 3 other ways that “hood / poor / brown / insert your own adjective here/ ghetto” people are specially equipped to deal with the coronavirus pandemonium.

Hood Advantage #1: You Likely Have Leftovers

leftovers

Image credit: https://giphy.com/gifs/Bounce-TV-comedy-bounce-3ov9jEOwe82gUOm6D6

As I have already mentioned, you probably already “got some spaghetti in there.” You might also have:

  • Some Chinese takeout from a few days ago, before that RONA got you shook
  • Some fruit that is soft, but not quite old enough for you to be afraid to eat it
  • Some more fruit that can be thrown into a smoothie that you will drink and wish was ice cream
  • Some green vegetables that you can finally use to make that recipe from the New York Times that you definitely wouldn’t otherwise make unless you just had to (shots fired at myself)
  • Lots of sauce packets from fast food places you’d really like to go to right now

Hood Advantage #2: Your Momma Already Programmed You to be a Germaphobe

germaphobe

https://giphy.com/gifs/funny-star-trek-school-3ne4TnvHYegzm

My mom has been mostly healthy her whole life (so thankful!) and this coronavirus stuff has made me realize why my mom, and other Black moms, are seemingly super people when it comes to avoiding germs and viruses: they “don’t fool with them nasty ass people.” Having a hood momma has prepared you to avoid lots of coronavirus having ass people, places, and situations.

Your mom, like my own, probably does the following things to MAKE SURE they are not, in fact, fooling with them nasty ass people:

  • Hovering over the toilet in public bathrooms
  • Washing your hands before and after you use a public bathroombecause you had to touch that nasty ass door to get in there anyway
  • Opening all public doors with a paper towel, your sleeve, or jacket hem
  • Keeping *STOCKED UP* on cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer, 24/7, 365 days per year and not just cleaning “when this corona thang is going on”
  • Keeping community sized tissue boxes in their purses *all of the time.* My own mother has given tissues to complete strangers…and then washed her hands afterwards (because although my mom is a saint, she still ain’t “fooling with them nasty ass people”)

Hood Advantage #3: You Already Know How to “Not be Tripping”

oprah

https://giphy.com/gifs/oprah-bath-relaxing-MvZKiDJmB1XEs

Look, growing up in the hood and/or poor (rich people and scholars call this being “socioeconomically disadvantaged”) is no cake walk. Many aspects of hood life require you to be thankful, gracious, flexible, and resilient. These four qualities produce people who are not, in fact, “really tripping.”

Sure, you are likely taking the necessary health precautions, but if you have been able to somehow still maintain your mental health levels so far, your hood upbringing may be to thank.

Growing up in the hood requires you to learn to sometimes just accept things as they are. Learning to accept things as they are while simultaneously not being discouraged by them, is not only a Zen Master level type skill; it’s also the entire curriculum required to pass Hood 101.

Here are a few hood examples of things that are not easily or quickly change, but despite how much these things suck, hood people continue to live, laugh, love, thrive, and “keep it moving”…

For example:

  • The police might “always be around when nobody even called they ass.”
  • They got money “for all that other shit but won’t fix these raggedy ass streets.”also, “if these raggedy ass streets was over there by where them rich folks live at, they woulda BEEN fixed.”
  • Your next door neighbors may suffer from unwarranted feelings of superiority to you aka “Susie Q nem think she better than us because ole boy she fooling with done went and bought her that old raggedy ass Cadillac.”

You get the idea.

These are all things that just have to be accepted as they are for the time being. And, thanks to your hood conditioning and magma cum laude status as a fine graduate of the hood, you’re especially capable of getting through this coronavirus shit! For real, you ain’t even trippin’ off this coronavirus shit. You’ve got your ginger ale, saltines, and your momma’s prayers…what is there to be tripping about?

Now, if you or someone you know is not from the hood, disinfect your phone and call them. Tell them that you love them. Tell them that right now, it is what it is. Tell them to don’t fool with no nasty ass people. And most importantly, tell them that there is, hidden away, in the recesses of the fridge, already SOME SPAGHETTI IN THERE!

Proof that in my house, there really was some spaghetti in there:

IMG_5895

The Return Of Spring

I have to admit that I am a lover of all things Fall and Winter.

I was born in winter; Christmas happens in winter. Many of my several people were born in winter.

And also, I live in the southern United States, so it is unbearably and miserably hot for most of Spring, all of Summer, most of Fall, and sometimes even in Winter.

I’m not a fan of the warm months that fashion magazines advertise as “so amazing” and “can’t wait for” them to come. I call horseshit.

But, there are about four days that are absolutely gorgeous in Spring, here in the South, before it is hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk.

And I am so lucky to have had time to go walk around in this beautiful weather this morning.

It’s about 64F , bright sun, and a little breeze. People are out cutting grass, and the scent of the chopped blades fragrance the breeze.

It’s the Spring (or is it still technically Winter?) day of my dreams.

These little purple wildflowers were not here a few weeks ago, but now, here they are, reminding passers by of the colors just waiting to burst from the ground, when Mother Nature gives the OK.

The sky is so beautiful! I could just look at it all day.

Do cherry blossoms grow in Texas? I have no idea what kind of tree this is; whatever it is, it’s gorgeous.

What is going on in your part of the world?

What beauty have you seen today?

Until tomorrow my friends…

Having a Bad Day?

I lost about six hours of work this morning.

Tech support could not help me retrieve the file.

I took a wrong turn trying to get to WhataBurger (for stress relief chicken strips).

The drive thru attendant only gave me three ice cubes.

My tea was too sweet.

I’m on the way to a long meeting with a client and now have substantially less work to show (see reason #1 above).

It’s kind of a poo day. But, my car and body are still running and I didn’t break down in the drive thru lane.

Things can be worse and some days it’ll be your turn to be stuck in the broken down car.

Get your ass out and push!

And be thankful when it’s your turn to be in the car that is running.

How’s your day going?

Until tomorrow my friends…

Caring for Others

The most rewarding things that I’ve done in my life involved doing something nice for someone else.

Many times, the recipient has been not so thankful. But, I still felt good anyway. I think it’s important to not let other people’s reactions rob us of the joy of kindness and good deeds. This is VERY hard for me to do, but I’m working on it.

I thought about writing this today because I made some meals for my elderly uncle. I cannot cook like his late wife (my aunt) but I know that he will appreciate my effort.

Do you appreciate other people’s efforts without being critical or an asshole otherwise?

I think that’s easier to do than we think it is.

When I was a kid, I hated bananas. I’ve grown tolerant of them as an adult because I put them in smoothies and the potassium makes my old body feel a little less old.

But honestly, I could never see another banana again and be fine, even happy.

But, when I was a kid, one of my grandma’s friends used to love giving me bananas. It was her favorite fruit and perhaps she thought that she was really being kind to me by offering me one.

I still hated them.

But my grandmother, in all her wisdom, instructed me to not eat the banana but to always, always take it and be completely gracious and thankful.

Eventually, I went from kind of pretending to be thankful to having a better understanding of what grace is. Eventually, my thanks was heartfelt and not at all pretentious, even though I never ate the damned bananas.

I learned to be gracious when someone thought enough of me to do something. I learned to not take the joy from them for being kind. I learned not to essentially punish people for being nice. I learned a little bit of what it’s like to not be an asshole.

And now, when I do nice things for people, I get to learn how to be on the other side of the equation. Sometimes something that I do that I think is kind is met with welcome and enthusiasm. Sometimes, it’s not. But regardless, I’m working on not attaching my feelings to the behavior of other people. I take the pleasure and reward of kindness from what I can control: only myself.

What do you think of this topic?

Until tomorrow my friends…

It Doesn’t Matter

Do you ever feel like no one understands you?

How you feel? Your humor? Your off putting affinity for skulls? Your not so secret desire to live on an island?

Do you ever feel so alone?

Maybe you share some of those feelings and maybe you have some quirks of your own that make you feel ostracized sometimes.

I can relate. Some days, it feels like “Ostracized” is my middle name.

I don’t regularly do the two seemingly most common American activities: drink alcohol and watch tv.

If I had to guess, I would say that on average, I have about one martini every 8 weeks and watch about 1-3 hours of internet videos a week. I watch no regular tv shows, even though I do plan to catch up on “The X-Files” soon.

Do you know what these facts make me? Well, they make me almost a social pariah.

People are so strangely uncomfortable when I tell them I don’t drink much and I watch almost no television. They think that I’m odd, and technically, they’re right.

I feel odd and I feel misunderstood.

I use the examples of television and alcohol as somewhat light hearted examples, but I’ve also often felt deeply misunderstood, sometimes even telling myself that I will NEVER find someone who understands me.

Well, here’s the thing: IT DOES NOT MATTER. So the f*ck what?

Recently, I was listening to an Eckhart Tolle talk and he addressed the ongoing need that we can sometimes have to feel understood. And of course, when our version of understanding does not come, we make ourselves feel miserable. We tell ourselves horrible things, like no one will ever understand, or we are terrible for being so odd, so on and so forth.

But all of those things are unknown. Maybe you’ll find the jelly to your peanut butter. Maybe you’re just a singular, delicious nut spread.

Regardless, the better focus is on understanding yourself. There’s so much focus that we can develop on what other people are giving us that we neglect to give ourselves anything.

So, maybe your family thinks you’re nuts? You might actually be a little weird. Maybe no one does understand you.

SO WHAT?

Do you, who has the most access to you,understand you?

No?

Then you’ve already got enough things to do.

So many, in fact, that you might not have much time to watch the tele.

Until tomorrow my friends…

Thoughts on the Movie: “The Neon Demon”

Have you seen this movie?

I just finished watching it and I can’t say that I’m terribly impressed.

I’m sorry, Keanu. I know that you’re so awesome and you were in the movie for about 4.5 seconds, but I still am apologizing anyway.

But really, whoever wrote this story should apologize.

To all of us. Right now.

When I first saw the previews for this movie, I thought I wanted to see it because it looked visually stunning! I didn’t go see it in the theater, but even on the small screen, I can say that the visuals are gorgeous. The colors, the lighting, the moodiness…its all gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

I even think the acting was good and believable.

But the story…honestly, I think it’s a little half assed. Sorry not sorry…

One of the main characters is in some kind of cult (I guess?) and that’s never explained either explicitly or even with a few hints! And turns out, the behavior related to the cult is the most shocking and most interesting things to happen in the whole movie.

Hellllllo? More details please, writers!

Not to mention, the main character is woefully under explored. We don’t get to find out jack diddly from her other than she’s been told she’s pretty a lot and her parents are dead.

I am not one for Hemingway levels of back story and details, but damn, at least tell us enough to want to care about her when her eyeballs get eaten twice by two girls.

Oops, spoiler alert up above, ha ha!

Have you seen it? What did you think?

I’m about to Google it and read an article or review from a more savvy person who can interpret to me.

If you’re looking for a gorgeous looking movie with a confusing plot and little character development and less than 5 minutes of Keanu Reeves, then this movie is for you!

Until tomorrow my friends…

I’m Tired Of This

Whose idea was it for me to write every day for a year?!

I haven’t made it through even 60 days of the challenge and I’m kind of sick of it!

Me and my bright ideas!

Maybe today I’m just feeling tired and a little burned out, but also, I know that almost no one is reading this,which is demotivating.

Is this important enough for me to keep writing just to keep the promise to myself?

Well, I suppose keeping a promise to yourself is the best kind of promise you can keep.

But today, tonight, honestly, I just want to throw the whole blog and promise in a big, shiny trash bin and light it all on fire.

Speaking of trash bins, I keep mine in the garage and I swept the garage early this morning. Have you ever swept a garage? After it was done and the floor was all clear, it was SO SATISFYING! My gawd! I actually stood there, still wearing my robe and bonnet, hands on my hip, and admired how nice it looked after I swept. It was amazing.

Maybe I should start writing about cleaning hacks? Just kidding, other than sweeping the garage once a year, I know almost nothing about being a super tidy person.

How was your day?

If you’re out there in Internet land, please like or comment on this post.

Let me know that you’re reading my weird blog and are enjoying it.

If you hate it, keep that to yourself. I have enough critical nature in my own mind and I don’t welcome it from outsiders.

Unless you mail me a snickers bar.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Cheat Day

A poem I wrote on December 31, 2017, while contemplating the end of the year and the eventual end of us all. All rights reserved.

Beautiful life,

Where has the time gone?

Although some days I feel that the lack of wrinkles on my face betray the plentiful weight of my soul,

I am at that age when the world feels fragile

Where does the time go?

Does it take the hands of the dead

And escort them to the next life

Always remembering to turn around

And come back

For more and more of us each day?

Whoop Whoop

If you grew up in the 00s and 90s, you’re probably familiar with a song that goes :

“Pull over, dat ass too fat! Whoop, whoop!”

It was performed by a female rapped named Trina and some dudes whose names I don’t remember.

Today, I was pulled over, but not for having a fat ass.

My version of the song goes: “Pull over, dat ass TOO LOST!”

I was pulled over today by a lovely campus police officer as I drove around trying to find the right place to park.

In my attempts to focus on where to go, my ability to focus on what I was doing, fell by the wayside and I made an illegal left turn.

Luckily, I got off with a warning. Thank goodness I wasn’t wanted for anything else.

How was your day?

Until tomorrow, my friends…