Saturday, September 13, 2008

...If You Let Him

On Wednesday I had a training session to go to at 825. That's what everybody calls the main office building for District of Columbia Public Schools. During the lunch break I decided to accompany a Shaw U graduate to the payroll office to check on her 'stuff.' Basically she did some of her paperwork late and wanted to ensure that everything was on the up and up and that she would be getting paid. She gave the man her social and he printed her a check stub that showed what would be deposited in her account on Friday. Since I was there, I decided to try to get a sneak peak at what would be deposited in my account as well.

When I gave the man my social he said that I wasn't in the system. Thinking it was some mistake or that he had typed the number incorrectly I gave him the number again. Same response. Not in the system. I was floored. Here it is Wednesday and I'm expecting a check on Friday and I'm not in the system.

He instructed me to go to my staffing specialist and let her know. This woman has to be the most aloof person I know. She is just so not on it. When I approached her to tell her about the situation she was not very bothered. She acted as if this sort of thing happened all the time and that she'd get to it when she could. I told her her nonchalance about my business was unacceptable and that she absolutely had to take care of my paperwork today. As a matter of fact I told her within the hour. I had to control my emotions because she kept flipping a piece of paper over as we were talking and staring at it. At one point she wasn't saying anything. It's hard to describe the scene on paper but suffice it to say I was annoyed at her inactivity. Once I told her I wasn't in the system she should have IMMEDIATELY sprang into action to get me in the system to get me paid. Finally she remarked at the end that she 'guessed that she should go and work on this now.' Of course I'm thinking hell yeah itchbay, go handle my shiznit not now but right dang now!!!

When I returned to payroll to let the guy, let's call him Mr. Helpful know what had transpired he gave me some more directives. As he was speaking an e-mail came in from my staffing specialist asking what she needed to do. Mr. Helpful decided that this required a face to face visit to make sure that Ms. A Loof understood what she had to do so that I can get paid. Let's interrupt this story to remind you about what else I had been contending with NCA&TSU. Yeah, if you read that already you understand more about why I would be extremely frustrated at this point. She had to regenerate a document that should have been generated a long time ago. She had sent it up to payroll but they returned it because it was incomplete/incorrect. She didn't realize they had sent it back to her and at the moment didn't know where it was. So like I said she had to reproduce the document. Mr. Helpful informed me that it would only take five minutes to do it and that he had spoken with the head of HR to let him know what was going on so that she would be forced to handle my business. As he and I spoke in the hallways for 21 minutes I remarked to him that she should have been able to produce four 4.25 documents in that amount of time. We chuckled about it but I was serious. I need people to have a sense of urgency especially about your money when they have dropped the ball.

Update to the A&T situation: I received a call on Wednesday and another one on Thursday from two different individuals that informed me that the check was cut on Thursday and would be mailed on Friday. We'll see. Is it just me, but if it was cut on Thursday, why wasn't it mailed on Thursday?

Also while I was down at payroll I had Mr. Helpful find out if they had record of a time sheet having been submitted for me. Interestingly enough they had a time sheet. In my twisted logic I would think that if you have people on the time sheet but have no record of them existing that you'd investigate why. Maybe it's just me. I did learn that payroll is short four people so they just don't have time to track down a bunch of stuff like that right now. That's the same reason they sent my paperwork back down to my staffing specialist on August 6. They don't have time to correct people's mistakes and run stuff down because they are so short staffed.

I spoke with the Business Manager at my school (we called them Treasurers in NC and GA). She didn't think it was realistic for me to expect a paycheck on September 12th. I told her that Mr. Helpful who she knows very well and who her office mate (not really her office mate but he's in there all the time) knows very well assured me that I'd get paid on Friday because he was going to personally walk the paperwork through the process. All day Friday it was touch and go. I tried not to think about it so that I could get my work done. I managed to do that until the BM called me down to her office to find out if I had gone to pick up my check because her contact down there told her that she didn't see the check. I told her no. The BM let me know that there were so more checks coming in after 3:00pm. It was at that point that I said I wasn't going to give up hope. I finally went down to her office after school so that she could call and check. Bless goodness my check was there. (That's something my grandma used to say. I gotta find some pics of her that I can post.) Look at God! People don't believe it but He'll do it if you let him. That's on of my favorite churchy sayings.

I forgot to mention that I shared with a friend about the A&T thing and now the DCPS thing and she remarked that I needed to pray about why God was allowing my finances to be attacked. I side eyed her (ala Opinionated Diva) and told her that it wasn't that deep and that people just needed to do their jobs. Don't you hate it when people wanna make stuff deep that really isn't?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

What's Happening Now

NCA&TSU
For those of you who don’t know that stands for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. It is located in Greensboro, NC, where I resided in a former life. This summer I worked in a pre-matriculation program for them teaching two classes. The goal of these types of “bridge” programs is to help students shore up skills that may be lacking or enrich the skills that they already have. One section of students learned precalculus and the other section learned calculus. The program ran for about five weeks, so it was rather intense. I had no choice but to put it on them. I thoroughly enjoyed them and I know that they enjoyed me. I mean, who wouldn’t? ::reflective pause to ponder the question:: Exactly. I can’t imagine either.

The last day of class was July 30, 2008. At this present time I still have not been paid for the service that I rendered. I attended and HBCU so I know how things sometimes have a tendency to work when it comes to processes and paperwork. About a week and a half into the program I spoke with the program director to inquire about us doing the necessary paperwork so that I could be paid. Before the program started she had already gotten a copy of my driver’s license, social security card and one of teaching licenses. (Remember when somebody questioned my credentials?) I am the bonafide truth. Meanwhile, not the point of the story, although she’d obtained some copies of some documents, presumably for my file or whatnot, I still had not signed any papers. I was expecting to complete a W-4 or something. The program director assured me that everything was okay even though I hadn’t signed anything. In my heart of hearts I knew something was awry, but I was trying to sit back and trust the process.

About 3 weeks into the program I requested my check. No haps. She called over to the payroll office or somewhere and found out the check wasn’t ready. She apologized profusely. I was disappointed—not so much in her, but in the system. Again, I attended an HBCU so this didn’t surprise me. I checked in every other day to learn the status of the check. Each day it was more of the same. XYZ office hadn’t done abc. If you’ve been to an institution like this you probably understand all too well what I ‘m talking about. It’s like no one knows what everyone else on the campus does. I propose they close school for a day and just get everybody together and talk about what happens in each office. They even need to simulate the course that a form takes from initiation to completion of whatever task the form is intended to accomplish. About two days before the last teaching day of the program I went into the office and the lady’s assistant was like, “Look at all these forms that we have to fill out to get you paid.” A few things popped into my mind:

  1. I don’t care how many forms it takes to get me paid. Complete them so I can get paid.
  2. I told you all to start this paperwork a long time ago, so why at two days before the program ends are you just now getting the paperwork done? Is it because we’re at an HBCU?
  3. Tales of you incompetence do not interest me.(What movie?)


Of course now I’m in Maryland so I can’t just go up to the school to check on the status of things. Everything I do has to be done over the telephone. I have talked to the Department of Biology, Contracts and Grants, Payroll, Accounts Payable and the Office of the Chancellor. Some lady in the OOC told me that everyone was aware of the situation since I had called quite a few people on campus. Okay, are you thinking what I’m thinking? If everybody knows why the hell don’t I have a check yet?!?!!!! Further, far be it from me to work and expect to be paid. Am I reaching for the stars? (Same movie.) The latest update is that another lady in the office of the chancellor has spoke with the department, contracts and grants and accounts payable and she still doesn’t know when I’ll be paid. This type of stuff is what gives out institutions a bad rep. I purposely referenced HBCU a couple times prior. Not to offend anyone. I’m probably one of the most pro-black people you’ll ever meet. I just hate when stereotypes seem to ring true.

Prince George’s County
Since I have been a resident of the county I have been towed twice for the same reason. The registration decal on my car had expired. I decided that I wouldn’t renew it in North Carolina since I was moving to Maryland. It was only going to be for a little over a month that I’d have expired tags, and I didn’t think that in Maryland they would be concerned about what was going on in North Carolina. Boy was I ever wrong. I finally decided to get my cousin to purchase the decal and mail it to me so that when I took back what the enemy stole from me, I wouldn’t have to keep going through this drama.

Job
There’s a guy on my job who is in a higher position than I but who concerns me greatly. He has loftly ideals but they aren’t appropriate for the population of kids who we serve. There is a different mind set that one must embrace when working in a title one environment than when one works for a more affluent population. What trips me out is that he be calling himself schooling me on stuff. Make no mistakes, I am a content expert and a pedagogical genius. I know curriculum and instruction. Where he and I differ is that I have practical experience in this environment whereas he wants to use the textbook approach to attacking issues. I won’t go into details because it would bore you to tears, but I will say this. At some point you have to let go of idealism and look at what is pragmatic. Also, when you are entering a situation, it is rarely a good idea to go in an impose a bunch of new practices on people all at once. You have to gradually roll stuff out. Schools don’t get in horrible shape overnight so it’s quixotic to think that you can turn them around overnight. I’m not being funny but these people have had years of practicing bad teaching. It takes much longer to unlearn something that to learn something. The guy has lots of potential. I recognize talent when I see it. I’m just not sure if he understands what it takes to be successful in this setting. I just thought of a quick example that I could share. He wants teachers to teach for mastery. Groundbreaking. Who doesn’t? His argument is that when teachers teach for mastery, students are able to pass any test. He claims he used to teach for mastery at this affluent school and students did relatively well on the standardized tests. I’m not going to have an educational debate right now but everybody knows children in poverty are different from children with money. You don’t have to like it, but it is a fact people. If you wish to discuss it further feel free to call me at 240.619.5751. I’d be happy to break it down for you. The point is this population of kids is not affluent. You have to engage them slightly differently because the playing field is not exactly level. And with the performance of this school in the past few years, why the hell would you think mastery teaching is possible at this point? It’s clear that the teachers aren’t even hitting knowledge on Bloom’s taxonomy. We need to focus on getting students to perform well on the standardized tests to get the man off our back. As we do that we’ll phase in strategies to help teachers become masters of their craft. Lofty ideals, just not applicable for what we need to do right now. It’s at this point that I have decided that I cannot let this persist any longer. I have got to shut this mess down.

Cable and Internet
I finally got my stuff turned on. That’s why I decided to post an update. Now that I’m back in the current century after a three week respite, I’ll get back on track.

Hope everyone is doing well. I have already started making my blog rounds. Look out DC/Maryland area bloggers. I’ll probably be sending something your way for us to hook up. Be safe. Much love.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

As per your request

At One_man's request I'll post a quick and dirty update. Tired. Been working 12-14 hour days trying to get this school ready to open. Tired. The workload is almost overwhelming. This particular school is so behind the times. They don't have stuff that I would consider basic for a school to function. The people in DC think in NC and GA there's nothing but tumbleweeds and cows. They are always asking if we have "that" down there. Most of the time my response is, "Yes. Ya'll ain't got nothing we ain't got. Our cities are just cleaner." They are so annoying.

I have to provide curricular support to math teachers mainly but I can support all teachers. I have some teachers who aren't credentialed and some who really don't have any experience teaching math at the middle school level. I'll have to work closely with and monitor those folks. It is very difficult finding good math teachers, especially this late in the game. School starts Monday for students. I did an interview today. I had to take the woman because my back is up against the wall.

Promise I'll give you something for real when this stuff calms down. I've been out to a few restaurants and done a couple of clubs. I played bingo a couple times as well. No bingo is not just for old people. I enjoy it. Okay, I feel like a nap so I'm gonna jet. I haven't made my blog rounds in a while either, but I'll get on that in the near future. Be safe.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I Made It

I made it to the D.C. area. I left today at about 12:00 noon and arrived around six. The traffic was to blame for that. I rented a U-Haul and a car trailer and put Jackie on the back and set sail. I did have a bump in the road. I hit a lady when I was about 25 miles from D.C. I wasn't paying attention and was trying to transact business on the cellie. She was gracious as was I. She was serious though like she gets in accidents all the time. She wanted a picture of my license and of course pictures of the damage. I told her I would get her my insurance information. I called my insurance company just to check to make sure that I would be covered. They said when based on the policy that I have if I rent a U-Haul I have liability coverage. I believe that means that the insurance company will cover damage to other vehicles for me. If anyone can verify this, that would be great.

I'm gonna try to catch some sleep. I checked my e-mail a little while ago and discovered that I would have to attend a meeting tomorrow (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m. Good thing I checked my e-mail. I need stuff to be more organized.

I'm not even 100% sure if my mother knows that I am already in the urrea (as Chris would say). I have been calling her cell and she hasn't answered or returned my calls. She's probably just busy. I'll try her tomorrow to let her know that I'm here. On second thought, I'll try her right now at 11:26 p.m. ring...ring....ring...ring....she picked up. Call disconnected at 11:28 p.m. I told her I'm here and that I'd call her tomorrow. She sounded really tired. I wonder how much longer....

This is so disjointed because I'm tired. I'll move in tomorrow after my meeting. Largo, Maryland is where I'll reside.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Forgivness Not Permission

I don't know what it is but telling me no always makes me want to do it more. As a courtesy to my parents I asked permission to see the movie Boomerang. I think I was about 14 when it came out--maybe 15. Either way I was under the recommended age of seventeen. I emphasize the term 'courtesy.' I asked to give them an opportunity to sanction me viewing the film. Growing up in that super religious household (as far as that kinda stuff goes, we won't even go into all the hypocritical stuff) I had an inkling that they may not grant me permission to view the film. True to form I was denied.

For me no usually doesn't mean that it can't happen. It just means that I have to adjust some things to make it happen. I devised a way to see the film anyway and I saw it. This taught me something. Sometimes when you attempt to go through the proper channels you may be denied. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I do not ask for permission. I ask for forgiveness. Basically, I'll just do what I want to do and when you call me on it, I'll say oops my bad. I'm not suggesting that this is the best way to do things or that it is right. There is something inherently manipulative about it inasmuch as I've already thought it out and because there is a possibility that you'd say no I'm just gonna forgo that conversation. In this way if you were to say no and I did it anyway I would be being defiant like I was with my parents about the movie. If I don't ask in the first place I'm just being presumptuous.

I can recall being in church and my desire to see Boomerang was mentioned from the pulpit. I can't be certain, but this was probably followed up by some admonitions to parents to keep a good eye on your kids or something like that. As I was sitting in the pew listening to my business being put on front street I had mixed emotions. On one hand I thought it inappropriate for him* to discuss that from the pulpit. On the other hand I was smiling and rubbing my hands together on the inside ala the bad guy on Inspector Gadget because I had already viewed the film. Whereas him* thought him* was making himself* look big by letting the congregation know how he vetoed that, etc., I relished in the fact that I had already done what I wanted to do anyway. Maybe this will make for good holiday conversation. As a matter of fact maybe I'll make a list of stuff that I did that they didn't know about and share it during the holiday. Anybody wanna come to my Thanksgiving?

Monday, July 21, 2008

The District

Well it looks like I'll be going to D.C. Details to come. Here's the quick and dirty. Interviewed on Friday and got offered a job as a Mathematics Professional Developer. Basically that means I'll work with other teachers to help them improve their instructional delivery. In short I won't be working directly with students but I still will be able to interact with them. I'll tell ya'll what's all going on as soon as I feel like typing something out. I just got off the road a little while ago. Thanks for the support for those of you who gave an encouraging word.

Although I really wanted to go to Atlanta, maybe He has another plan for me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Roots

DISCLAIMER: This post is not directed at any one person. This grew out of years of hearing something and not having the words to express how I felt. From the heart of JayBee. I hope that this can start an open dialogue. If you have anything to add or wish to give me a different vantage point, please share.

****************************************************************


For quite some time whenever I would hear people say, “Don’t forget where you came from,” or some variant of that same thematic expression, I could never give voice to why that statement bothered me so. Whereas it is supposed to be received as a reminder to live in humility, I have discovered that the real message being communicated has its roots elsewhere, from a place much more sinister and demeaning. Each time I’d hear the phrase uttered, I’d walk away feeling trampled upon, but not understand why; further I wouldn’t be able to articulate to another why I felt so. This weekend I sat down (after hearing it again) and tried to deconstruct the phrase along with the not so subtle innuendos that lie couched within.

Most of the times when I’ve heard this expression it has been communicated to me through someone older: a parent, an aunt or uncle, grandparent, church member, etc. I have heard it from people in my same age group as well. Typically the message always comes when I express to someone about any changes that I’m trying to implement. The issue is that the potential changes often move me further away from what is status quo in an impoverished or lower middle class social structure.

The purported intention of the statement does not match what the statement really communicates. I submit to you that the expression’s intent is not to keep you humble, but to keep you bound. That’s what makes it so menacing. People who have not done as well as you always seem to want to remind you of how things used to be back in the day. When you ordered something from the restaurant and shared it. When you had to go outside after the people left and turn the electricity back on. When you went for months with the same pair of school shoes. You see where I’m going. It is because of those experiences that people like myself try to create circumstances for themselves that shield them from the disappointments that a life that includes the aforementioned provides, if you can really call that state of affairs provision. I do not express regret for wanting a different reality for myself. I took no pleasure in eating chicken and rice three times a week (even if it was tasty). It didn’t excite me to have to watch my mother and him* struggle to make ends meet.

It really is reminiscent of the proverbial crabs in a barrel. When you see me trying to do a little something you think it your sworn duty to humanity to keep me ‘in my place,’ by issuing the trite admonishment. It is perfectly fine to remember the roots, but I want to be a limb. I’m going to stretch out a little bit—enlarge my territory, but I’m still connected. I do need you to survive, because the roots provide sustenance for the limbs, but just because you bring something to me via a conduit, I don’t have to partake. You bringing me your bad habits, I’ll pass. If you want better for me, then why would you want to keep reminding me about worse? I’m having difficulty reconciling in my mind how romanticizing the improperly termed ‘good old days’ is going to help me improve my current situation.

When you come up under less than favorable conditions, how could you …‘forget where you came from?’ Those experiences are forever indelibly etched in the fiber of your being. Those experiences build character and engender you with the fortitude to push yourself to accomplish more. I didn’t pursue higher education so that I could try to fill my head with enough stuff to erase my youth from my memory. Instead I pursued education so that I could have a richer experience—a different set of circumstances.

I cannot do anything about the way I was brought up. I cannot say that I would have willfully chosen it if given the choice. It wasn’t that bad, but it was bad enough though that I don’t desire that for myself. What we have to look at is what have I done since my life has been my own. I think I’ve been a good steward of my time. Where I came from I was not in charge of decisions. Now that I am responsible for myself I am creating the where I came from part of my life. Don’t try to hold me accountable for the poor decisions that you made. Just look at me since my life has been my own.

As a caveat, something that I have noticed about people who use this expression on others is that they want to make the statement and at the same time be a beneficiary of the better practices that you have adopted. How can you make that statement, but then call me to help you pay your car note or light bill or for a car repair?

In truth, the next time someone uses that expression, I’m going to have to let them know that I am going to forget where I came from. You have to forget the habits and practices that put those making the statements in the predicaments that they are in. You’re walking around in bondage to your creditors, can’t pay your light bill, got your car note in your pocket instead of sending it to Wachovia Dealer Services all the while looking out your blinds for the take back man. When you rise to different levels in life, there are some things that are no longer acceptable practices. You’re going to have to forget where you came from, particularly if you want to be able to keep progressing.

No, I won’t forget the struggles because as I said earlier, those things helped shape me into the man I am today. Stronger, wise, better, so much better because of it. But if by using that expression you mean for me to continue on the destructive pattern that has you bound, then to that I say a hearty HELL NO. I will not live like you and I don’t apologize for the same.

I guess I'm not following The Script. Maybe that'll be my first book.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Asthma Attack

Not me. I don't have asthma, but my mom does. She was diagnosed as a little girl. As she grew up her attacks became less and less frequent. I haven't heard of her complain of having had an attack in about three years, so maybe she's kinda grown out of it now. She'd have an attack when she was around too much dust/dirt. Sometimes when we were dusting inside the house, she'd have to be in another room or she'd just let that be the last thing that we had to do when we were cleaning up. If she let it be the last item on the checklist, she'd just leave the house while we completed that.

Picture it, Savannah, 1993. ::wavy television lines and me titling my head at a slight angle to the right:: We had gone to visit my grandmother. Good times indeed. How I long for the fun, food and fellowship of those former days. (Gold star for the first person who has been out of high school for at least ten years who can remember the term for the literary device that I used in the previous sentence.) At some point on this trip mama's asthma began to flare up. I'm not really sure if people say flare up when it comes to asthma, but whatever. Fortunately she had her inhaler because she knew that there was always the possibility of an attack whenever we visited my grandmother because some of the rooms may be dusty. I was there when it happened and whenever I see her in this condition my heart races, because I know that all I can do is make sure she has her inhaler and pray that she doesn't get nervous or panic herself. I don't remember who got the inhaler to her, but once she got it and inhaled she was okay after a few minutes. Crisis averted.

Once we returned home we returned to business as usual. You know, complaining from him* about keeping the house clean, going to church and school, cutting the grass. I only offer that information to underscore the fact that nothing was happening out of the ordinary. On the second night after the return from Moultrie, Georgia, where my grandmother lived something happened. Late one night I heard wheezing coming from my mother's bedroom. I instantly went into fix it mode. The bedroom that my brothers and I shared was directly across the hall from the bedroom that she shared with him*. I woke up with a start once I heard the wheezing. I instantly associated this with an asthma attack and since she had just had one a few days ago I was already on orange alert.

I screamed, "Mama," and dashed across the hall to locate her purse. I saw her purse on the floor near her dresser and quickly rifled though it in search of her inhaler. It was the only thing separating her from relief. What I soon realized when I turned toward the bed to give her the inhaler is that she didn't need relief. Whereas I thought I heard wheezing, I heard her she was engaged in copulation with him*. I am forever scarred.
::come out of the dream state::

Okay that last line was a little dramatic, but I definitely wasn't expecting to walk in on them. We never really discussed the incident. In my household we treated matters related to sex like the plague.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Compass

I like the story about No excuses! so much that I have added it to my text messaging signature.

I've been doing a lot. Some of you may recall I am unemployed. I resigned my job and to date have not secured employment with any school system for the upcoming school term. At this point I should be panicking, but it's like whatever. My lease ends at the end of July and I haven't found a new place to live. I'm still like whatever. I can't figure out why I'm not worried about these things. I mean, this is serious stuff, but I'm being very cool about it. To those on the outside looking in I may seem directionless. It's not that. It's just that the compass I'm using hasn't point me to my North Pole just yet.

Before I was considering a move the to ATL. I have family there and all over Georgia. The folks stay in Savannah. Anyway, I did the whole online application thing for APS and went to a career fair. Still nothing. My roommate swears that I haven't done enough to secure employment. I'm like short of dropping my draws, what else should I do? I've called and sent some e-mails. I don't wanna become a stalker. Besides, I don't feel like I should have to hook for a job. (If I don't have one by August 1st, then all morals will be put on hold. Hookin' for a job won't be so bad after all.) I have some other stuff in the works, but I'll go ahead and reveal a few of the cards.

I've decided to cast a wider net. Interestingly enough '...enlarge my territory...' has been in my spirit pretty hard these last few weeks, although this isn't the appropriate context for that idea. I've been doing a little digging around about the D.C. area. I did an online application for DC Public Schools. We'll see what happens. As soon as I know how I'm gonna maintain the hot water and electricity I'll let you all know.

I got an auto insurance quote from my current company. You know, the one that'll save you a bunch of money by switching. I think I've said before that I would not mind being in one of their commercials. As a matter of fact, while I was trying to get information about a quote for my potential move, I was given a discount here that I have not been receiving. You can't tell me nothing about my insurance company. (double negatives and all) They quoted me $838.80 for comprehensive without collision and $1195.70 for comprehensive with collision. Although my car is 12 years old, I cannot afford to get in an accident and not have a means to fix it. I have some $$$ saved for emergencies, but I still think it would be wise for me to keep my collision coverage. The woman on the phone advised me that people in my position often do not keep collision when the car is as old as mine is. I'm debating. If I go with the $838.80 my monthly payment would be just under $140. Right now I pay almost $125, so that wouldn't be a huge increase. With the other premium I'd be at $199.28. That's way more than I want to pay for insurance, but the realism is that I might have to do it. Help me out blog fam, should I keep the collision coverage or not on my vehicle that was manufactured before I started high school?

Meanwhile I was just talking to a friend on the phone who reminded me that I had to tutor this evening. Dang. I be forgetting stuff all the time now. Maybe I need to take some vitamins. Let me run.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Apparently So

Every other black person who I've told about this past weekend (Thursday through Monday) seem to all ask me the same question. Do black people go camping. Well, since I'm black and I went along with some others, I guess the answer has to be a resounding yes. I was a camping virgin, but I actually had a great time. At first when some friends bought the idea to me, I did Diva's infamous ::sideeye:: because I was not really feeling giving up the Sealy Posturpedic in exchange for ingrown tree roots and gravel.

We went to Wally World to make preparations and purchases. As God would have it, we bumped into a black lady who was a camping expert. She told us everything that we needed to do. Oh I left this part out. Of the three guys, none of us had been camping before. She even took us to her car and gave us three checklists of stuff to bring and directions to a local camping site. The place was only about 1.5 hours away. So, we had no camping experience and didn't even know where we were going to go to camp. I'm so glad we ran into Marcia for two reasons. One, she was able to share her wisdom about camping with us. She absolutely loves it. That totally came across while she was speaking. ::Sidebar::While I was listening to her--the passion with which she spoke about camping, I kept thinking to myself that she should start a business. I told her that. She told me that her father had been trying to get her to do that for a while now. I told her that my being a complete stranger and delivering to her the same message was confirmation of the vision. Habbukah, baby.::end sidebar::The second reason I'm glad we ran into her is that it reassured me about the feasibility of this whole endeavor. Prior to hearing her share her positive experiences and give us tricks-of-the-trade, I was still kinda leery about going. When we parted with her I was kinda hype.

So we arrive on Thursday around three in the afternoon and pitch the tent. The setup with quite simple. I had no idea that the tent was just one piece of material sewn together. For some reason I thought we were going to have to put on multiple pieces, but whatever.

That night we previewed the hiking trails and came back to fix something to eat. During the time there we ate chicken breasts, pork chops, hamburgers, zucchini and yellow squash. One night we took the chicken breasts, zucchini and yellow squash and put it in some foil with some Italian dressing. Banging! Here's a fire from one night with some food on the grill.

The next morning we went on a 4.5 mile hike that took us across the summit of a mountain. Yes, we went all the way up the mountain and back down again. Fortunately, for me and everyone else, while in the woods, I didn't see any bright eyes.

In this picture, notice the sign. Almost a mile high. I know that's nothing for a mountain, but I had to show proof.


I decided to stage a fake rock climbing picture, just in case I wanted to revel friends and acquaintances with tales of danger. Notice the strain on the face.

At some point during the hiking trail we ran up on a waterfall.

Somewhere during the course of the stay we went fishing. I didn't catch anything, but Dre did. Trav caught two fish but threw them both back. No picture for that. Actually we went fishing twice. The second time we went fishing I saw a water moccasin. It came up to the edge of the pond and I assume turned back. I say assume because as soon as I saw it swimming my way I straightway dropped my rod and put Carl Lewis to shame. If he saw me running from the snake, he'd give back his medal.

On a lighter note, I did manage to snap some Bambis who were all up and through them woods.

One night out there we ran into the lady from WalMart. We knew she was going to be at the same camping site because she mentioned it in the store. She invited us to dinner one night. We turned down the dinner invitation but agreed to come back for dessert. She made a strawberry cobbler. She was with two others. We all sat around the campfire laughing and telling tales. Good times indeed. Marcia asked us if we had made smores. I told her no and she absolutely insisted that we have some smores. They were a bit sweet, but at least I can say I've had them.

Somewhere during the camping adventure my phone got messed up. No one knows what happened. I've been in negotiations with Sprint for two days. My new phone should arrive by Friday. The whole Sprint fiasco is another blog post unto itself. After looking at my phone, they said they weren't sure if they'd be able to fix it. I was flabbergasted. Look at that picture. Does it look like I was interested in a repair? I've caught up on a few blogs. I should be making the rest of my rounds today.

I can say that this was fun for me. I'll do it again. Now I want to go ahead and cross some more stuff off my list. I need to skydive, hang glide and ski. Anybody wanna go?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pictionary


I usually acquiese, but this time I don't think I will. I just don't have the energy to keep up this charade any longer. Mom calls me about two minutes ago. I already knew how this would end. I've read the script and played the role before. She made about 35 seconds worth of small talk and then went in for the kill. Her purpose was to tell me to call him* to wish him* a happy father's day. In this past I'd do it though I'd be recalcitrant and look for other ways to pacify her without having to engage him*. I think she should understand how I feel. If not, maybe I need to draw her a picture. Remember that game Pictionary that came on t.v.? I don't know if I mentioned this or not, but she even called a few months back when I was out of town to find out whether I am willing to give him* one of my kidneys. I'm not certain why she wasted her time and energy. That's about three minutes of her life that she can't get back. Although she had already anticipated my response, I guess she just asked in the off chance that I'd say yes. A quixotic dream at best.

As I type this I'm trying to weigh in my mind my desire to distance myself from him* and her need to have peace in her home. I mean, I'm sure he'll be talking her head off about why JayBee didn't call on father's day. At this point in my life, I need to look out for me. How long should I consider others' needs above my own? I played that role already. I don't object to anyone else who wants to reuse that same script, but I beseech you to hire a different cast. (When is my girl gonna drop her new album?)

It would be such a farce for me to utter those words to him*, since they could not leave my lips (nice and full as they are) with sincerity. One of him*'s favorite expressions is, "...whole hog or not at all." Since I can't be sincere about it, I may as well not do it. That's just what I plan to do. I'll deal later with mama and her trying to force me to engage someone who I all but detest--like she wasn't living in that house with me. I wouldn't wish the upbringing I had in terms of interacting with him* on Osama bin Laden or George W. Bush. The thing is, even if I were to call and say it, I think in his empty place of empty places, he would know that it wasn't sincere. What's sick about the whole song and dance though, is that him* would welcome the insincere words in lieu of a complete omission. I'm different. If it ain't real, then you can keep it. MESSAGE! (Remember that from Don't Be a Menance to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood?)

To those who have assumed the mantle of responsibility associated with parenthood, and specifically today, fatherhood, I applaud you. How do you know if you're on the right track? I'll leave you with an idea that I posted back in March. Don't take it 100% literally, but reflect on it.

Just a thought:
You cannot choose your parents. Here's a question for parents everywhere.

If you had to prepare a "resume" of your accomplishments, everything you have to offer a child, would your child/children choose you to be their parent? What character traits do you have that would make you an especially good candidate for child rearing?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Runaway Love

Does anyone know what meme means? Is it short for something else or is it a word that means "a tag." Always wondered about it's significance. Anyway, Da Vinci tagged me so I'm going to comply since I fukks with him. Well actually, I'll probably not tag anyone else, but I'll follow the rest of the rules to the letter.

MEME Rules:
1. Put Your itunes/ music player on Shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER WHAT
After you’ve answered all of the questions, tag 5 other people and then let them know they’ve been tagged to do the meme themselves!

IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
Ask Myself - Robin Thicke (I often need time to reflect and process if I'm okay with something. I have to ask myself and communicate in my adult voice* (from a book I'm reading) if I do not like something. I might say, "In order for me to be comfortable with xyz, I need ____________ to happen.

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Dontchange - Musiq Soulchild (I value consistency. I'm easy to get along with and easy to please. I'm not opposed to change, however, because change is one of those things in life that is certain. What I don't change is how I treat people based on who I'm around. If I like you, I like you.)

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Save Room - John Legend (I need you to be available to me. That includes your time and your resources.)

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Summertime - Sam Cooke (Everything is okay. My ma is good looking, but my pa ain't rich. I did get up singing.)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
Maxine - John Legend (I gotta find her. Taking applications now.)

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Lauryn Hill (I like to watch what people say and how they say it. The nonverbal cues really tell the story.)

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Everything is Everything - Lauryn Hill (Kinda like it is what it is. Although I really don't say that a lot because I think it is now trite and overused, I do say things could be worse or be thankful that things are as well as they are. Kinda along the same line.)

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
He'll Welcome Me - John P. Kee (If you can't accept me for who I am, flaws and all, then I don't need you. That's not to say that I'm not willing to change some things, but in any relationship, you need to decide if you can deal with a person as they are, so that in case change doesn't happen or is slow in coming, you can still interact with a person without conflict. Don't feel like rereading that sentence so I hope it makes sense.)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
Twistin' the Night Away - Sam Cooke (Nothing could be further from the truth. They are both really laid back. I guess I could say him* twists the night away because him* be trying to have people up all night getting stuff.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
The Sweetest Thing - Lauryn Hill (Here lately I have been thinking about love and finding a virtuous woman. One who I can depend on and one who I can spoil. I'm not pressed, but I was with some colleagues just yesterday and their eyes were all aglow when they spoke about their children and spouses. I definitely wouldn't stay married for the sake of saying I'm married if I was unhappy, but I would like the experience.)

WHAT IS 2+2?
Dontchange- Musq Soulchild (How fitting. 2+2 is four everyday of the week. It just Dontchange.)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
He'll Welcome Me - John P. Kee (See comment about friends earlier.)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Big Things Poppin' - T.I. (I can see big things in our future if things happen the way that I want them to.)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Just Want to Praise You - Maurette Brown Clark (Church has been a constant throughout my existence. With all that I've been through I have no choice but to praise Him. By the way, my story is my story. Don't try to one up someone with the details of your life and try to make them feel that their life isn't as bad. At the same time, when I hear other people's stories, it humbles me and makes me realize that things could have been worse and that I need to be thankful that things are as well as they are. My life exists in contradictions.)

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Time - Musiq Soulchild (Not sure yet, but just like time, I want to transcend.)

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Twistin' the Night Away - Sam Cooke (I could dance all night or do other things all night.)

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Lauryn Hill (They are always tryna see what I'm up to.)

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Alright - John Legend (If we're at the wedding, hopefully we've already dealt with most of the major issues each of us has and things will be alright for our future.)

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Everything is Everything - Lauryn Hill (Let the life that I've lived speak for me.)

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Summertime - Sam Cooke (I do like the summer and one of my hobbies, swimming, I do a lot during the summer time.)

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Lost Without U - Robin Thicke (It's really no secret that I want you back. I'm not lost without you, but I am a bit disoriented.)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Sweetest Thing - Lauryn Hill (I love my friends.)

WHAT SHOULD YOU POST THIS AS?
Runaway Love - Ludacris (I'll post it as this title, because obedience is better than sacrifice.)



I actually enjoyed this tag. One thing is for sure, I need some more songs on my MP3 player. Look at how many times some of the songs came back up in the shuffle.

Friday, June 6, 2008

No Excuses

We had a pretty good time yesterday, although we left sixteen minutes late. One of the students got off the bus to use the restroom and I didn't know and I instructed the driver to go and so she got left. That says to me that you have to be in place. So many people want to operate outside the covering. If you had to use the restroom, there were some options. One option would be to make use of the facilities on the charter bus. Otherwise it is critical that you inform someone where you are going so that someone would know and could be accountable and awaiting your safe and speedy return.

Not all of the students chose to ride the bus. Some of them drove down on their own and paid the full price admission fee for the park. Again, that's what happens when you operate outside the covering. There's safety in the ark. If you had done what you were asked to do, then you could have saved about thirty dollars. It's not a big deal to me though. If they like it, I love it. I am one who likes to save a dollar whenever possible.

What is disheartening is that so many of these kids have a poverty mentality. They live in substandard housing with under- or uneducated guardians whose idea of a good time is facing a couple of blunts, frying some fish and washing it down with some alcohol.

Don't you just love it when people want to put their mouths on you instead of stepping to you and asking you what you feel about something. If you have a question about something, feel free to ask. I have no problem explaining to someone how I feel about something. That's not to say that I will address all inquiries. Some things are better left unsaid. But, for the most part, I will gladly field any inquiries.

Z didn't get too much darker yesterday at the park. I used SPF 70 with helioplex. I don't even know what helioplex is, (doesn't helio- mean sun?), but I just like to say "...with helioplex." It sounds like it makes all the difference. For those of you who want to get deep, no I do not have a color complex. I simply mean that I did not allow the radiation from the sun to excite the melanin present in my dermis thereby allowing less light to pass through. That is, if you put your color on a prism, the darker it is the less light that will pass through. Now that I've written that a racist could use that and make some really compelling metaphors.

Yeah, so if you've gotten this far you've realized that this is pretty random. No form nor comeliness. I don't know why I've been making so many biblical references lately. Maybe I'm just in one of those phases. That reminds me about this sermon I heard a few weeks ago. Wanna hear about it? Good, cause I was gonna tell ya anyway.

Let me give a little background. This was women's day so the women were ushering, singing in the choir, you know...pretty much doing everything that day. The woman who spoke grew up in this church, but has since moved away and started a life elsewhere complete with a husband and kids and a dog...blah blah blah. She's a minister and an educator and feeds the homeless and rescues stray cats from trees in her spare time.

The sermon title was, "No Excuses." First of all, to me that's more of a secular slogan that an religious theme/idea, but I was willing to listen and see where she was going with this. I'm pretty sure "No Excuses" was a part of an advertising campaign. She used two illustrations from the Bible. The first story was about a woman whose daughter was possessed with a demon and needed to be delivered. The speaker, let's call her Ms. Empty-Air, described how the woman demonstrated her faith when she asked Jesus to heal her child. It didn't appear that Jesus was in the healing mood, if you will, but because of her faith, he did it. Right here is a good time to say Amend. Emphasis on the 'd'. You know everything sounds more holy when you indiscriminately add and subtract letters as (in)appropriate. So basically woman asks for a healing and she receives it. The next story was about Lot's wife. Most people are familiar with this story. This is when Lot and his family were fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah (I wonder which on they actually lived in--or maybe S&G is like Winston-Salem or Raleigh-Durham) and the wife turned back and became a pillar of salt. She and everyone who was in their company fleeing the city had been warned not to look back. Someone should have told her that obedience is better than sacrifice. If I'm preaching you can stand up. Anyway, so she turned into the pillar of salt and everybody else kept going.

If you've forgotten, scroll back up and look at the sermon title in red. Okay, so just like me you're probably wondering what in the world this has to do with anything. What was so egregious is that she just kept peppering the discourse with no excuses like it was so sort of mantra or a theme for which she had laid a solid foundation. As I sat in my pew, I just couldn't make the connection with the illustrations that she chose. All the while she's still walking around hollering No Excuses. Finally she asked the pastor if she could come down on the floor to continue to speak. The pastor obliged. My interested was sparked at this time because I thought she was gonna really make the connection for me and tie up any loose ends in her sermon. so far, I had not gained a single thing. Once she got on the floor she just was talking about women having no excuses. I guess she meant like no excuses about being good wives, good mothers, good Christians, good in the community, faithful in service, etc. If these were her thoughts, she definitely didn't tie it together.

Other people were standing up and encouraging her as she spoke. I was looking around wondering to myself if they were listening to the same oration that I was. She was screaming about no excuses but hadn't said a thing since we had began. Talking loud, but saying nothing. To that I say no excuses. It's almost as if she didn't know she was speaking that morning and didn't have time to prepare. She knew at least a month in advance because I remember hearing it during the church announcements. I get really sensitive about church. I hate it when people speak and don't share anything new with me. Especially with the price of gas! I felt like going up to her and asking for her badge and her keys. I wanted her to turn over her certificate/license to preach because there was no excuse for what she allowed to masquerade as a sermon. I have an explanation for why people were standing up egging her on. Option one: I think that most of the people who were standing were just doing so because she grew up in that church and her mother still attends the church. Maybe they were supporting her and not necessarily supporting what she was saying. Option two: They are absolutely delusional.

Now though I use that phrase as a running joke with some of my friends and associates with whom I've shared this story. At any time one of us might just holler out "no excuses" just for no reason. Pretty much analogous to how she used it. It might have been a little better for her to talk about no excuse for people going to hell because of Jesus' sacrifice. Maybe I'll prepare something and e-mail it to her using that same sermon title. The only difference is what I send her will be coherent (despite the fact that this post isn't) and will be understandable.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

They Done Had Me Stretch Out



I am so glad today is Saturday. That's because most of the stuff that has had me so busy at work is now over. This past week we had two days of stuff for the graduating seniors. As senior class advisor I am responsible for making sure things run smoothly. **Disclaimer**This may bore you to tears, so feel free to skip this post. Since this stuff is over now though, I'm back in full effect in the blog world effective today.**
Thursday: The first event that morning was the senior breakfast/yearbook signing. I wanted to do a plated meal (eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, biscuits, fruit), but I felt that the quotes that I received were too pricey. The catering companies that I spoke with basically told me I was out of touch. I wanted to do a breakfast for 250 people for $800. One guy even laughed at me on the phone. Before looking for catering companies I tried to get Biscuitville to sponsor the breakfast. In true JayBee form, I waited until the eleventh hour and it was too late for them to sponsor the event. You have to contact them 60 days prior to the event. I called them the week before. I started to cancel the breakfast altogether. Since the administrator had already announced to the kids that we were having a breakfast, I had to get something together to save face. So, I ordered 280 sandwiches (McMuffins® and biscuits) from Micky D's. I topped that off with some juice, water, fruit and danishes. From there we routed them to the auditorium to hear a speaker. The speaker didn't show until much later. At our school the students wear SMOD (Standard Mode of Dress). We do khakis and royal blue/goldenrod/white polo style shirts. Because today was senior day some of them decided to show up in jeans or in the case of some of the females, booty shorts. Not on my watch. I wouldn't let them in the cafeteria to eat breakfast because they were in noncompliance with the rules. A group of girls did slip in with the booty shorts on, but when one of my coworkers alerted me that they had infiltrated the ranks I quickly found and removed them. The assistant principal made all the boys in jeans get on the risers on the stage in the auditorium to lead us in the school song. Straight Lean On Me style. It was so funny. The guys were up there strategizing for real and rearranging each other and warming up and stuff. They asked another guy in the audience to play for them and they sang Lean On Me. This did not embarrass them because a lot of these dudes are the popular guys anyway (athletes, band members, step team, etc.). It was sooo funny. Next we did senior superlatives. Some of the categories were not your standard "Best Dressed" and "Most Likely to Succeed." We had stuff like:


  • Most Likely to Use Their Medicaid Card As Cash
  • Most Likely to be Confused at Graduation
  • Biggest Gossip
  • Most Likely to be Married More Than Once

As you can imagine the kids had a ball with this. We had some business to attend to in the auditorium and then we dismissed for lunch on their own. They were told to reconvene in the auditorium at 2:30 p.m. The speaker was able to make it for this portion. I arranged for them to hear a presentation about money management. I wanted them to learn something about managing their credit. At 3:30 we had capping ceremony practice. This lasted until about 5:15 and then the kids came out for the picnic. In the background while the stuff was going on in the auditorium, I had to leave the school to go to SAMS to pick up the food for the picnic. I enlisted the help on my third block class to help with the picnic and had two of them on call to go pick up last minute items as they crossed my mind. When I got to the exit that I needed to get off the highway to get to SAMS I realized I didn't have the check to pay for the food so I had to turn around and go back to the school to get the check. Blow action. Earlier that morning when I was taking the food out of the car for breakfast I twisted my knee. Blow action. The menu for the picnic was simple:


  • hamburgers
  • hot dogs (I don't eat them but other people do)
  • assorted chips
  • frozen fruit
  • pickles
  • cole slaw
  • chili
  • drinks
  • cake
  • ice cream sandwiches

The hamburgers were banging. The teacher I got to get on the grill did a great job. I actually rotated four people on the grill. I had the grill started at 3:00 because I wanted enough food for 200 people ready when the kids came down. We were only expecting about 250 or so, so I figured if I had at least enough for 200, by the time they got through the line we'd have the next batch off the grill. I had the hamburgers and hot dogs already put in buns and put in roasting pans so that they would just be able to request what they wanted, put on the condiments and keep it moving. I'm so glad my friend Tolana told me to do that. That was a great idea. We moved them through that line faster than the cafeteria does. Besides good eats, the kids could do volleyball, tug-of-war or play touch football. I had a dj because you know how we like to do. African Americans (blacks or whatever moniker you like--my preference is black) like to dance. I got this guy to donate a funeral tent so that we'd have some shade, but fortunately it was very nice out. The lady in the black is the ninth grade assistant principal.

In addition, the kids could play on the joust or the super obstacle course. Oh I almost forgot about the water ballon fight. When the balloons ran out the kids started filling up water bottles and throwing those at each other. They had a ball.
Friday: Today was the actual capping ceremony. I had to arrange some more last minute stuff. I needed to have the class president and vice president present tokens of appreciation to the senior administrator (the assistant principal for the senior class), principal, senior counselor, graduation coach and college advisor. I had a coworker pick up some flowers on her way to work and spoke with the pres and vice and let them know what was up. It went over well and looked like this had been the plan all along. My principal was under the impression that the class president didn't know that she had to speak at the program. I assured her that she knew and let her know that I saw and approved the final draft of her speech on May 21, 2008 at 5:34 p.m. My principal was like oh I didn't think she knew. I looked at her like who are you dealing with? My ma phucking name is JayBee and I ain't no bullsh@t. If it's gonna have my name anywhere on it, it's gotta be right. She should have known better. I'm not sure who told her that the girl didn't know. Probably somebody hating on me trying to find a way to make me seem inept. How terribly unsuccessful they were. Thankfully that's all over. That's pretty much what I've been doing for the last couple of weeks. Trying to plan these two events and make sure that everything was covered and in order. The last two major things I am going to do is take the seniors to a theme park and purchase a gift for the school. Any ideas on what we should leave as a class gift?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mini Hiatus


I'm gonna post something soon. I have been incredibly busy and tired. This is "peak season" at work. I'm senior class advisor so I've been busy planning a breakfast/yearbook signing, a picnic/carnival and a trip to CaroWinds. As I mentioned early on, I'm such a procrastinator so you can just imagine how everthing is on me at one time. Lord, give me strength. Check out what I cooked last Friday. Yeah, a brotha can burn when he wants to. And this meal ain't even nothing.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Semantics

I ran across a post at Torrance's site that made me decide to post this. I had been talking about it with other people, but wasn't gonna speak on it in this forum. It was weird when I read the post because this incident took place just three days prior to me reading his post. Talk about coincidence.

I was on the phone with my mother discussing my plans to move. I was debating whether I'd buy something when I move or move into an apartment for six months and then buy. I think I've decided to rent for the short while and use that time to find where I want to buy. I'm leaning toward purchasing a condo. I'm a county boy but I don't necessarily need a yard. I do not like yard work--never have. That's one of the ways they used to punish me when I was a child. Pulling weeds, cutting grass, raking--ugghhh. I hate yard work. Since I don't really want to maintain a yard, it would just be an added expense for me to have a yard because I'd have to pay someone to keep it up.

Rather than have to fool with that I'd just rather do a condo where I can have fulltime security, valet parking and a concierge on the premises. I'd much rather have those services than a yard any day of the week. To each his own. I shared this with my mother and mentioned that living in a condo would also prevent me from having to host a bunch of family events. That's what did it. She was like, why don't you want your family to come over. Blah blah blah and then she said it. She said, "You're so selfish."

I can't describe how taken aback I was by this erroneous statement. Never mind I've loaned my younger brother of $600 to help him out. I just gave my niece $50 to put toward her eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C. because my sister didn't have the rest of the money to cover the full cost of the trip. In addition, I just gave my mom $348.56 to pay her car note this month. She's actually a month ahead, but that was my Mother's Day gift to her. Selfish? I don't think a selfish person would do the things that I've done.

The only reason I mentioned the thing about not having to host family events is because I do not like people encumbering my time, family included. People in my family have a tendency to volunteer you to do stuff without your knowledge or consent. I ain't down wit' that. I remember in 1998 when him* volunteered us to host the family reunion at our sprawling mansion house. I was pissed because I knew that we'd be doing most of the work while him* took all the credit like him* had done something. And that's exactly what happened. Of course because more people were around him* was even more annoying than usual.

My mother must not understand fully how I feel about having grown up in that house. I'm going to have to have a sit down conversation with her about the damage that was done. That's why I don't go home. That's why I don't want to be bothered. No I ain't hosting sh@t. Just as sure as my name is JayBee, if I had a house with a yard, they would be volunteering my spot to be the designated meet up place/host site for family events. I've known these people for 26 years so I know how they get down. Rather than have an issue later about why I don't want to hold events, I thought I'd head any trouble off at the outset by making it known now that I'm not even feeling having a bunch of people running up and through my sh@t. If ya'll like to have people up and through your stuff, that's fine. Don't try to impose that on me and then get mad when I decide that I don't want to do it. That's that damned script again.

So anyway, after talking to my roommate, she told me that my mom probably just used the wrong word. Some might argue that's it's a question of semantics. I'd disagree. The realism is the two terms have completely different denotations. What she really meant to say was that she felt I was being self-centered. Now, I wouldn't argue with that. I do have a tendency to be self-centered/self-absorbed at times. I'm fully aware of that character issue and don't make apologies for it. Who else is gonna look out for me? I gotta take care of numero uno. That's not to say that I don't care about other people. I just really care a lot about what's important to me. Why do people use the two terms interchangeably? They do not mean the same thing. Honestly, I wouldn't have been offended at all if she had used the term self-centered as opposed to selfish. Clearly, I have demonstrated that I am not a selfish person. If I'm in a position to help you and I don't mind extended you a hand, I will.

UPDATE

So what's the difference between the two? You ask the hard questions. Being selfish has a completely negative connotation. I liken it to having a disdain for sharing. Seeking only self-satisfaction. To hell with everybody else. Being self-centered also has a negative connotation, but to me it’s no where near as egregious as being selfish. Self-centeredness is just what it sounds like. For a person who is like this, they consider self first. That doesn’t mean that they don’t consider others. They just have a natural inclination to make satisfying their needs a primacy before addressing the needs of others. The difference between the two is that a selfish person doesn’t give a phuck about other peoples’ needs. A self-centered person will meet the needs of others. Most of the time though, it can only happen after their own needs have been met.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Strangers in the Night

I swear to you what you are about to read is the absolute realism.

One summer when we still lived in Little Town, USA, my cousin Tiffiany came to stay with us for about a week. She was closer to my older sister's age, but all of us including my brothers and I hung out and played together. She and my sister would play with Barbies a lot of the time and when all five of us would get together we'd watch movies, play cards or checkers or something like that. I can even remember us playing with jax. (Save all your comments/jokes).

We so enjoyed being around each other that we even all slept together. No, silly, not in the same bed. We'd be hard pressed to fit five people in one bed comfortably. Instead we would make a pallet on the floor with blankets and sheets and all fall asleep watching t.v. late into the night. The pallet would go in the den. The den opened to the other bedrooms and the dining room and kitchen area. The front door was in the den, but we mainly used the side door in the kitchen. At some point, presumably, my mom or him* would get up and turn the television off. I can't remember seeing them do that, but when we'd awake the next morning, it would always be off. You can imagine the five of us up talking, laughing, joking and watching t.v. I'm sure my mom or him* just waited until they heard the murmuring die down and then just came and shut the t.v. off.

This particular night we actually weren't really asleep. None of us were talking, but none of us were yet asleep. We saw two small figures--almost elf-like walk behind us from down the hallway, lift the covers off our feet, pause for a moment (that seemed like an eternity to us because we were frozen in fear), release the covers and then walk out the kitchen door. Before you think I was imagining things, let me hasten to say this event definitely took place. If I was imagining things, then so was my cousin and three siblings. Each of us can attest to what we saw. When we told mom and him* they were dismissive. That experience prepared me for the decision that was rendered in the Rodney King trial. It doesn't matter how many witnesses there are or if there is undeniable proof, sometimes the evidence will still be dismissed.

I know about the power of suggestion. It would be different if I claimed to have seen something and no one else was awake and then they attested to seeing it as well, after I had placed the thought in their heads. After hearing it constantly, they might subconsciously wish that they had the same experience so as to belong and then feel strongly that they had participated in the same sequence of events.

That moment after the creatures exited the door, there was an eerie silence for a little while and then one of us broke the silence with a question like, "Did ya'll see that." Almost in concert each of us indicated that we in fact saw the small creatures. What was so unreal is that if we were imagining things, I don't think we would have felt the sensation of the covers being lifted and the cold air that seeped under the covers as a result of them having been lifted clean off our feet.

Here are my questions to you. Do you have a weird experience with the unexplained? Do you have another explanation for what my cousin, siblings and I will swear to in court under penalty of perjury to have witnessed?

I mentioned before that I have a mild case of e.s.p. I'm only half serious but I definitely have deja vu experiences frequently and have dreamed things that took place subsequent to the dream.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Yes You Did

How come when you call back numbers on your cell phone that you don't recognize sometimes the person on the other end swears that no one called? How in the world do you suppose I got this number on my cell phone if no one called? Somebody DID call. Even if it wasn't you, it was somebody. Today I called someone back and he told me that he hadn't made any calls in the last few hours and so it couldn't have been anyone. He asked me if I knew "Maya". I didn't know a Maya. My assumption is that Maya had his phone. He still didn't think anyone had called. What are the chances that I just randomly dialed some numbers just to mess with you about having called me? I'd rather people just say they don't know who called.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

So That Makes Sense To You?

Picture it. Sicily 1924. Oh wait, I'm getting my story confused with the way the grandma used to tell stories on the Golden Girls. Don't hate on the Golden Girls. That show was so damned funny. Actually, it was eighth grade year and we were getting ready to go on our class trip to Washington, D.C. I remember the trip cost $319 per person and of course you had to bring some spending money. We were gonna be in the city for five days four nights. The plan was to do all the touristy stuff the city had to offer.

I don't remember a whole lot of details about the trip. I do know that we had a helluva good time. We had coach transportation so the ride was comfortable. We watched movies, told jokes and reminisced about days gone by. Good times were had by all.

Anyway I had my lil $200 spending money. I decided that I was going to eat very cheaply all week and spend my money on me some name brand clothes. Growing up in my house at the time there were four children and two adults. My parents really, honestly couldn't afford to have four children. I'll never forget one day when we were in the car him* asked me if we (my siblings and I) wanted a little sister. I have two brothers and a sister so there were three boys and one girl. I was quick with my absolutely not reply. I told him* that he couldn't afford the children he already had. How was he gonna pay for another one? Although I was telling nothing but the sho nuff truth, this of course caused a small argument. Stop being so grown, blah blah blah. Disrespectful blah blah blah. I was thinking to myself, why ask a question if you don't want the answer? Even now when my friends and associates probe me for information I'll first ask them if they really want my opinion or if they want me to say what I perceive that they want to hear.

I almost forgot the point of that whole side story. The point is my peeps didn't really have it like that to be popping out any more babies. Plus, what's the guarantee that the next child would be a female. So far 3/4 kids have been male. Nikes and any other things with a recognizable label were not always things that we had the luxury of having. When we did get something we'd have to take excellent care of it because who knew when the next time was that you'd be able to have something else.

Like I said I ate cheap that week. There were even a couple meals built into the price of the trip so we weren't responsible for every single meal anyway. Everyone else was ordering some costly stuff for each meal but I fell back, because I knew I wanted to get myself a Tommy Hilfiger outfit. When it came time for the mall trip on the itinerary I did just that. I was so proud of my conquest. I couldn't wait to show my mom what I had purchased since they valued sacrifice. It seemed like that word was a constant theme in our house.

When I got back and showed her my outfit him* was present as well because it went down in their bedroom. Him* asked me how much I had spent. I don't remember the exact amount but it was somewhere around $130. Him*'s eyes got huge. He was like why would you be so selfish and spend $130 on one outfit. What about your brothers and sister? You could have stretched (another common word heard resonating in our house) that and got something for everybody. I was thinking to myself and I didn't say it that I thought the spending money was my spending money. I didn't realize that I was expected to shop for the neighborhood while I was away. If I had understood that I would have, but of course I would have needed more money because prior to leaving I had already decided what I was spending my money on. I rarely got to get name brand stuff so when I saw the chance to get me something I was definitely going to take advantage of it. Cancel those plans.

Him* decided that the following day, a Saturday, we would drive to the nearest Macy's and take back my purchase to get a refund. Then we'd drive back to Savannah and go to KidsWear and get outfits for me and my three brothers. I had a learner's permit so I did the driving. Mind you the nearest Macy's was 2.5 hours away. Back then gas was nowhere near what it is today, but I still didn't see how driving 2.5 hours to take back a $100 outfit was all that cost effective, not to mention the intangible cost of my time. That's about 7 hours of my life that I can't get back. Of course the stuff at KidsWear wasn't a recognizable name brand, but it was clean and I didn't look homeless. I think each of use got two outfits on that money.

When I told my best friend she laughed like no tomorrow. It became a running joke. "Shut up before I tell [him*] to take you to KidsWear." Even to this day we'll mention this incident in casual conversation from time to time and trip.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

'ruth'

Okay so this is really random and doesn't relate to anything, but it popped in my head as I was having a conversation with myself about someone else. Yeah, I talk to myself, but it's like thinking out loud. Nothing crazy about it. I've come across many people in my day who I would characterize as ruthless individuals. Let's deconstruct this word morphologically. Think back to middle school. The suffix -less means without. So the word ruthless means without ruth. Now what he heck does ruth mean? Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why Am I Blue?

This just in: Don's post on Sunday was heads above the rest. Nothing but the truth! If you haven't read it, get over there and check it out. Now we continue with our regularly scheduled post.
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

I'm just a country boy from the south who's him* is a preacher. We went to church on Sunday, Bible Study on Wednesday, service twice on Sundays for special programs, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, Choir Rehearsal on Tuesdays, Easter practice--suffice it to say church was a big thing growing up. When I was younger I didn't really like going. Somewhere around age 14 or 15 I started liking to go to church. Even now I enjoy going. It's because I was able to develop a personal relationship with Him. It's really not so much about religion; it's more about having a relationship. Don't think that you have to do all that form and fashion stuff that people do at church under the pretense of being religious. If you have a relationship with Him, it'll show in your daily life. (If I'm preaching you can stand up and say Amen.) Have you ever encountered someone and you just felt like there was something different about them? Some sort of presence or an air about them that is hard to describe, but is very much so tangible. They had that it. Even if you can't describe or articulate what 'it' is, you know it's definitely something different. I submit to you that those are the people who truly are trying to walk the walk. Turn with me, to Proverbs the fifth chapter---just playing.

Anyway, church was a big deal. How do you find out more stuff that you can add to your church? You to go the church conference/convention in another state where a bunch of other church people get together and teach each other new buzz words and practices that are popular in their neck of the woods. It's like if no one in your church was speaking in tounges, if you go to the church conference and find out that that's what everybody else is doing, then when you come back to your home church you start doing it first and everyone thinks you've gotten closer to God and then they try to do it to because you're not gonna be closer to God than they are. Church people are like that. I've been around it all my life.

So this particular year we went to a church conference in Delaware. My parents already knew the pastor who was over the conference. I don't remember how they met, but they were already well acquainted. The conference might have lasted three days but we just stayed the rest of the time until Sunday where our church from home came to Delaware to have a joint service with the church in Delaware. Our church provided the music for that particular service.

The pastor and his wife were very hospitable. They introduced us to some of the members in the church who also entertained us during the week that we were there. My siblings and I ended up almost everyday hanging with this one family. Let's call them the Mitchells. The mom was so sweet and thoughtful. You should see her praise. She'd stand on her high heels and go from side to side like she's two stepping and make circular motions in the air with both her hands palms facing inward toward each other. The dad was a humble man, very mild mannered. He would shout like he was doing the funky chicken. There were two daughters in the family. One about 23 and one about 16. I'm around age 16 at the time. So yeah I wanted to get at the 16 year old. Let's call her Jennifer. (That was actually her real name). In order to get a girl to notice you on the 'church circuit' you have to act like you're really into church. Each night after the conference there is a evening service that starts around 6 or 7. What we (the guys) would do is find a girl who you like. When they call for the altar prayer, we'd go down front and get special prayer. That would encourage the girls to come down front and stand with you for moral support. If you got a girl to come down and stand with you, then she was yours. Other tactics included crying during the service. That whole "I'm sensitive" thing worked oh so well on those fast ass wholesome church girls. You only needed to shed a tear though if you were in her direct line of sight. If you couldn't be sure that she could see you, there's no point in crying.

So anyway, the Mitchells would come and get us during the week and we'd go to the beach or out to eat or to their home. One particular afternoon we went to one of the Mitchell's friends house. We were left alone and the adults went to town to shop or something. So at the house was me, my two brothers, and Jennifer. The adults trusted us to just play video games and hang out and whatnot. Where was Beyonce then? *singing* You must not know 'bout me..*end singing* When they left I was like, yes!! Let's paint a picture. I'm 16. She's 16. We're home with no adults. And you want us to just play video games? Uh...okay. If that helps you sleep at night. If all we ended up doing was playing video games, it wouldn't be for lack of trying to engage in other, more gratifying activities.

At first we were all downstairs because that's where the video game setup was. My brothers were 14 at the time and were heavily into video games. I still played but that was not what I had planned to use that time for. I started my plan. I asked Jennifer to show me the rest of the house--mainly the upstairs. She agreed. So we looked in the people's bedroom and at the other rooms upstairs. We went into one of the bedrooms to just chill. I asked her what she wanted to do. She's like I don't know. I'm thinking to myself, well I have an idea. Before I jumped into anything I was trying to figure out how much she had done at this point in her life. So I asked some probing questions. Basically I determined that she was a virgin and was scared to take the leap. I didn't even press that issue. I decided that I should just seek some oral pleasure.

I asked her to do it. She acted like I asked her to slap her mom. She started on this tirade about how she thinks that's nasty and blah blah blah. I was blowed, but more than that I couldn't think straight or clearly because a good bit of the blood that oxygenates my brain had rushed elsewhere. I was hornier than a mug! It was so bad it was about to start hurting. I needed to skeet bad as hell. At this point I'm thinking to myself why the hell would you follow me upstairs if you gonna be acting crazy? This ain't Flip That House. I don't give phuck about what the house looks like. I'm getting desparate at this point. I'm still trying to convince her. I'm bargaining for smaller increments of time like saying just for a few minutes and stuff like that. Still a no go. I needed to be touched so badly that I made a last ditch offer for her to just let me put it on her neck. I don't know where that came from but I just needed to touch something. I was so brick and horny I might've skeeted on her neck as soon as it made contact. She wasn't feeling that either. Needless to say I was deeply disturbed. Good thing we didn't really jump off into anything because it wasn't long after that the adults returned. They questioned us as to why we were upstairs and not downstairs with the boys. We gave some flimsy answer and all was forgiven.

On the ride back home (Ms. Mitchell was driving me and my brothers back to our hotel. About a 40 minute ride) Jennifer asked me if I was mad at her. My reply was simply, "Don't talk to me." I mean, how you gonna play with a sixteen year old boy's horniness like that?

In case you read this, Jennifer, you owe me. You got off the hook that time. Maybe that's why some people end up (finish my thought).

Oh yeah, the thing yesterday, I cussed (cursed) somebody out at work. I have absolutely never cursed someone out. I always say stuff like, "I ought to curse him/her out", but i'm never really serious. First time for everything.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Forgive Me

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. I always mention it in causal conversation. I've threatened to do it before, but I was never serious. Today I actually went there. I can't believe I did it. She shouldn't have pushed my buttons. That's still no excuse. Maybe I'll apologize tomorrow. Maybe not. She kinda deserved it, but that still does not justify my behavior. I usually don't let things bother me, but she caught me at the wrong time. I guess it was just a matter of time before it happened. Words have power. Having romanticized it in the past, I gave life to that deplorable wont. On some level I'm ashamed. Though I carry myself with piety, my behavior today was sanctimonious. Inexcusable. Inexplicable. So out of character. It was like an out-of-body experience. Maybe the next time she'll keep her dang mouth shut, so that it won't happen again. Actually, no, that's the wrong way to look at it. I'm the only person who can control my behavior. It's really not her fault. I did it because I wanted to. The dragon within was incensed and awakened and spewed a venom so potent that she left like a wounded lamb. She almost had to be carried out. It was her brazeness that made it so harsh. I wonder what my supervisor is going to say.

Real post coming tomorrow I think.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghostbusters!

Remember the friend, and I use the term loosely, who I wrote about who tells these ridiculous lies? No? Okay, maybe not if you're new, but that just means it's time for you to do your homework. Dig in the archives. I was reading some stuff from last year (and I realized I missed my blogiversary) and I had my own self laughing. Some of the stuff made me mellow, but it allowed me to see where I was and where I am now.

Let's call this friend Angel. She went to Minnesota to stay with her boyfriend's family. To me that's pretty serious stuff. You're going 1000+ miles away from home to live with your significant other's folks for about two months in their house. Well while they were there she'd call me from time to time just to let me know how things were going and whatnot. Most of the time I'd ig her calls because if I'm not in the mood to hear a bunch of stuff that I don't find credible or relevant I just won't take your call. Sometimes if I know you're gonna tell me a bunch of lies and I'm not in the mood to hear a bunch of lying, that might get your call ignored as well. Hear me clearly. I like to be entertained, so many times I'll take the call just so I can see how many lies she's going to tell this time or see if I can get her to change/modify/enhance a story that she's already told me before. I know she's a chronic liar, but every now and then just to be JayBee I'll call her on a lie and watch her squirm and try to back peddle and use a conjuncting lie (just made that up) to try to make all the divergent stories converge.

At some point over the course of these two months or so she called me and told me her boyfriend, hereinafter Wayne, was being controlling and mean to her. She claimed he didn't want her going out during the day by herself. Mind you he had to work during the day along with his parents so basically that left her home alone with nothing to do. I guess she could watch t.v. and vacuum but how much of that can one person do before they are bored out of their mind? This went on for a while and on one of the calls she told me she went out during the day without his knowledge and he found out. Well that caused an argument that turned physical. Because of her noncompliance with his directive he told her from now on she'd stay in the basement while they were away at work. The basement locked at the top of the stairs so basically she was a prisoner in their home.

After the lockup she'd call me whispering telling me what was going on. Sometimes she'd abruptly hang up the phone and call back in a few minutes and say things like she thought she heard someone coming. I left this out. Somewhere in all this mess he told her she wasn't to talk on the phone while she was alone either so that's why she was whispering.

Here's what's wrong with the whole my-boyfriend-abused-me-and-locks-me-in-the-basement story. First of all, if someone has become physical with you and you choose to stay, there ain't no need of telling anyone about it. The persons with whom you share your story are going to look at you like you're crazy especially if that someone is me. I know the damaging affects of abuse. I can in nowise condone you staying in that situation waiting on it to happen again. I am a 99.8275% firm believer in the if it happened once it'll happen again thing. Maybe 0.1725% of the time there might be an exception.

There has already been a word coined in the English language that labels the concept of someone holding you somewhere against your will. It's called kidnapping. If you expect me to believe your story, keeping in mind that your credibility with me is zero, why the phuck are you calling me? I'm hundreds of miles away. Call the freaking police. They are the ones who are trained to deal with situations like this. Not me. I'm just a school teacher.

If Wayne has you locked up, why the hell did he just not take the phone out the basement? In that way he could ensure that you had no contact with the outside world. Unless he thought you were scared to death of him, why be so brazen as to risk you calling the police or your family or JayBee who could give a phuck less (if you've never heard that expression, it's worse than not giving a [whole] phuck; it's less than a phuck)?

Unless his parents are from Venus, I don't think they would condone their son locking you in a basement for nine hours a day. When he let you out of the dungeon, I'm thinking dinner time, you never once said anything to his peeps about what Wayne was doing to you everyday?

Of course not, Angel, because it was all a lie. And just like the other gross lie, (if you didn't click the link read the other story) it made absolutely no sense. There were too many holes and unanswered questions. It's actually kinda insulting when someone tells you a lie and hasn't taken the time to think through all the questions they might be asked so as to develop plausible answers. It's like oh, so you think I'm as stupid as you, huh? Surely you don't believe down in your tortured soul that I believe this crap. Let's say it was true and I'm totally off on thinking you're being untruthful. You should have called Ghostbusters. They're real too.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Close Call

What do you do when you leave the club late at night and have nothing else to do? Before you go grab something to eat with ya peeps you get someone arrested. Whuh? Ya’ll didn’t do that? Oh, so it was just me and my friends? Well, here’s what happened anyway.

A group of five of us decided to go out. We chose this mixed crowd club in downtown. The thing I liked about this spot was it wasn’t as hot as the sweatboxes that we usually go to were and you didn’t have to worry quite as much about bouncers/popos coming through the party cause somebody done started some ish. If you don’t know, and I’m not generalizing this is a fact, white girls love to dance on a pole, especially if they’re drunk. Talk about laughing and having a good time watching them drunk white girls make their best attempts at twerking. You could find a couple of nice ones who have some melanin too. Good times to be had by all.

Anyway after we left the spot this particular night we were driving around downtown because were started to hit one more club before we called it and got something to eat. You know how downtown they have those one way streets and stuff and you have to go over a block or two and loop back up to get where you’re going? I mean, it’s like that in a lot of the cities that I’ve vistited. So yeah we were navigating and saw this white boy in the middle of the street. From what I remember he was about 5’9” 150 lbs with some matted brown hair. Nothing that really stands out. Twan was driving and said casually, “I’m bout to act like I’ma hit ‘em.” Although he said it casually everybody knew, well at least I knew, that he was definitely going to make good on his statement.

He accelerated and slowed down when he got close to the guy. I think he waited a little long to start decelerating but I guess that was to make the ‘scare’ more real. The white guy—let’s call him Scott, doesn’t flinch. He stands there in an altered state of consciousness and then begins to verbally assault us. He let’s loose a string of expletives and like a tree planted by the rivers of waters lets us know that he shall not be moved. This of course pisses Twan off so he backs up and says this time he’s not gonna stop. I’m like oh hell. What in the world? I hope Twan doesn’t hit this dude. I don’t remember what we were saying in the car to Twan but everybody was kinda indignant that Scott didn’t move from in front of the speeding vehicle since he was after all standing in the middle of the street. I mean it was late at night like 2 a.m. and even though there’s very little traffic, when you see cars you need to Ludacris.

Twan puts the car in drive and picks up speed towards Scott. Even though it wasn’t that long of an amount of time it seemed like a while because we continued to get closer to him and I didn’t feel the car slowing down. Eventually I was like slow down man don’t hit him or something like that. Twan was like no this ma phucka needs to move. Twan slams on brakes when it’s almost too late and the car appeared that it was still gonna tap Scott. In a fit of desperation and seeing that his life was probably about to take a turn for the worse, Scott jumped in the air and landed on the hood of Nesi (Twan’s nickname for his Nissan Sentra), ran up the windshield onto the roof of the car and made a dismount once he reached the trunk. When he stepped on the roof of the car the roof caved in near my head. I felt like I was in danger because he could have stepped on top of my head and hurt my neck or something. It was at this point that I felt Scott had gone too far.

It was clear to us that Scott used his spare time to partake of some of the sniffable organic stuff that the plants on God’s green earth provide. This dude was stoned—I mean so high it didn’t make any sense. Twan was silent. Not a good sign. He and I are alike in that regard. As long as I’m still bitching at talking to you, I still care and you still have a chance to win me over. If I stop talking leave it alone. All hell could potentially break lose cause at this point I no longer give a phuck. Twan broke his silence and was like oh phuck no. This ma phucka done walked on Nesi. He put the car in reverse so that he could get out the middle of the street. Meanwhile Scott is kinda meandering in the street all the while shouting more curse words and pretending that we were trying to hit him. Clearly stoned.

Twan exits stage right from the driver’s door to go to his trunk. Still on stage (inside the car) we’re all discussing what just happened and how wrong Scott was for jumping on the car yada yada. Twan is loading his gun. Right about this time a police officer drives by. I beat on the back window to alert Twan and he slowly closes the trunk. Mike gets out of the car to flag the officer down, who I’m sure was gonna come over anyway to see why these black dudes and a white dude were in the street with the white dude shouting at the group of black dudes. Twan approaches the officer and tells him how the guy just ran up on the hood of the car.

Scott is standing near too so he’s trying to over talk Twan and keeps telling this ridiculous story about us trying to hit him and all this nonsense. By this time I’m out of the vehicle too because I feel like a victim cause he stepped near my head. I suggest to the officer that I think the guy is high and needs to be tested. I mean I don’t know much about drugs but I wanted to plant the seed if it wasn’t clear to the officer that this dude is on something. The officer didn’t respond to what I said. I don’t know if it was because it was already obvious to him or if he didn’t agree with me. The officer is trying to get the whole story and Scott gets so loud and obnoxious that the officer has to cuff him and put him in the back of the police car.

At some point during this whole information gathering session T took Scott’s shoe and dropped it down a storm drain. The shoe came off when he ran on top of the car. Scott saw T drop the shoe down the drain and became even more loud and belligerent and told the officer that T dropped the shoe down the drain. When the officer shifted his focus to the car to see if there was any truth to Scott’s assertion, T acted indignant. He was like what shoe? What are you talking about? That sent Scott over the edge. He started hollering even more and eventually kicked the window out the back of the police car with his shoeless foot. Only a stoned out fool would do some ish like that.

The realism is that that’s just what we needed to convince the officers that Scott’s story was bogus about the attempted hitting and to believe that he was high. That could have went either way because from the officer's point of view there were five black dudes and one white dude. It could have appeared that we were doing something wrong. The officer was like he’s definitely going downtown now for destruction of property. The officer dismissed us and said he’d handle it from there. We drove off relieved that everything went our way and grinning because we definitely were culpable in what happened. What did we do next? Waffle House foo! Nothing like some omelets, orange juice and laughs to end the night. Especially since none of us left the club with anyone.